109 N. Bay Street,
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Bay Street Players (Official)
Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., Talgar Theatre Company
Architects: Allan J. McDonough
Functions: Live Theater
The State Theater opened as a vaudeville house in 1922, seating 518. It was located on Bay Street between E. Orange Avenue and E. Clifford Avenue. Later, the State Theater turned to movies and by the 1940’s, was operated by E.J. Sparks, a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. By 1953 it was operated by the Talgar Theatre Company chain.
By the 1970’s, its days as a movie house had ended, and in 1975, the long-vacant theater was leased by the Bay Street Players, who renovated and repaired the State Theater for legitimate and musical theater. The Bay Street Players bought the theater (and two adjacent storefronts) in 1977, the same year the company began its youth theater program.
In 1985, the Bay Street Players embarked on a nearly $200,000 renovation/restoration project of the State Theater, which was done almost all by volunteers. The Bay Street Players continue to operate at the State Theater, presenting live theater to the people of Eustis and central Florida, now for more than 30 seasons.
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Recent comments (view all 5 comments)
A friend of mine called me today and told me that she and her husband plus another couple recently took a tour of this small town theatre.
While in FL I didn’t get the opportunity to see this theatre nor the Athens in Deland FL that has been restored. The Ritz in Winter Haven is being restored and the Polk in Lakeland is a must-see for any theatre buff.
Here is my picture from June 2011.
This notice in the June 15, 1922, issue of The Manufacturers Record was about the house that became the State Theatre:Auction site Worthpoint had a real photo postcard (since sold) captioned “Eustis Theater- Mattocks & Wheeler Building- Eustis, Fla.” and it depicted the same building in street view. The photo did not enlarge enough to see if the name Eustis Theater (or State Theatre) was actually on the building.