Community Theatre, Inc.
Committed to the Arts
The Story Of Community Theatre, Inc.
On May 21, 1948 a newly formed group of thespians put on a production of "Kind Lady" at Kilby School Auditorium in Florence, AL under the name of Tri-Cities Community Theatre. This move was the beginnings of what would become the Shoals Community Theatre.
Between 1948 and 1961 the Tri-Cities Community Theatre staged 25 productions at UNA's Kilby Auditorium, Sheffield HS, and the Tuscumbian movie theatre. Among its amateur players were future television star, George "Goober" Lindsey and future Alabama Senator Howell Heflin. When the organization became dormant in the 60s, it left a small amount of money in a checking account - $237.82. In 1971 those leftover funds provided seed money for the organization of the Zodiac Players, which, along with a grant from the Alabama State Council for the Arts and Humanities, allowed a more permanent facility in Florence, the old Firestone garage on Hermitage Drive, to be a home base for an intimate playhouse.
The first production of the Zodiac Players was William Inge's award-winning Broadway drama, "Bus Stop" on March 2, 1972. By the time of the 2007-2008 season, Zodiac has presented 183 productions involving hundreds of aspiring performers and backstage workers with over 123,000 audience supporters. The children's theatre wing, the Gingerbread Players, was independently formed about 1976 by a group of parents who were interested in promoting the growth of children's theatre in the Shoals. The first production of the Gingerbread Players, "Hansel and Gretel" was presented in October 1976. As of the current year, 156 productions will have been presented by the Gingerbread Players. Among its presentations, classic and well-known titles of both dramas and musicals include: Cinderella, Peter Pan, Snow White, Heidi, The Wizard of Oz, Little Women, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Tom Sawyer, Sleeping Beauty, Treasure Island, The Hobbitt, The Velveteen Rabbit, Anne of Green Gables, Sound of Music, Oliver, The King and I, James and the Giant Peach, Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, Big River, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The enthusiasm that these plays have generated in the minds and actions of the children in attendance continue to show as the young former audiences have become stage participants in our current productions - the enriching cycle continues uninterrupted.
In 1993 the Gingerbread Players joined with the Zodiac Players under the umbrella organization, The Shoals Community Theatre, in order to further enhance the efforts and resources of the individual organizations. In 2007, the Shoals Community Theatre Board made the unanimous decision to purchase The Shoals Community Theatre. This allowed us to expand to producing high quality concerts and events as well as our main focus of theatrical productions. We opened our 2008-2009 season in our newly renovated home, The Shoals Theatre! While we were in the new building, we still had the ocassional performance in the Zodiac building, and even hosted the annual W.C. Handy "Listening Room" events there. However, in 2017 the Shoals Community Theatre executive board made the decision to move all productions to the Shoals Theatre to be better stewards of our finances.