Florida Theatre

128 E. Forsyth Street,
Jacksonville, FL 32202

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Related Websites

Florida Theatre - Jacksonville (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: E.J. Sparks Theatres, Paramount Pictures Inc.

Architects: Roy A. Benjamin, Robert E. Hall

Firms: Robert E. Hall & Company

Functions: Movies (Classic), Performing Arts

Styles: Atmospheric, Moorish

Phone Numbers:
Manager: 904.355.5661

Nearby Theaters

Florida Theatre

The Florida Theatre, located on Forsyth Street in downtown Jacksonville, is beautiful. It opened April 8, 1927 with Douglas MacLaine in “Let it Rain” on the screen and a stage presentation “A Pageant of Florida”. It was equipped with a $100,000 Wurlitzer organ which was opened by organist Robert E. Mitchell. The Florida Theatre was designed in a Mediterranean Atmospheric style to look like a Moorish courtyard at night inside, complete with dark blue sky with glowing stars, lit balconies and fountains. The theatre was designed with central heating and air conditioning. It had a nursery located on the third floor which was for babies and children up to six years old. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks. Elvis Presley made one of his first concert appearances on an indoor stage there on August 10-11, 1956. The Florida Theatre was closed as a movie theatre on May 8, 1980.

In 1883 it was placed of the Register of Historic Place and renovation work began. It reopened as a performing arts theatre on October 2, 1983.

Contributed by "FullMoonFm@aol.com", Ken Willey

Recent comments (view all 33 comments)

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on July 24, 2010 at 7:38 am

Here are two pictures of the theater in July 2010.

CSWalczak on October 9, 2010 at 11:28 pm

This webpage has pictures of the Florida as well as a focus on Elvis Presley’s appearance there in 1956 (which was somewhat controversial): http://www.scottymoore.net/FlTheater.html

GeorgeStrum on March 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm

This theatre is haunted. A spector of a man has been seen in the upper balcony in rowE. Strange sounds come from the projection booth. There may be the spirit of little girl as well. All of this information came from the program Real or Faked on the SyFy channel.

ghamilton on March 31, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Funny you should mention spooks.I just saw the “GHOST LAB” guys doing the Florida.The place IS seriously haunted,as are so many old places.Good shots of the beauty of the place.

DavidZornig on April 4, 2017 at 7:24 am

The Florida Theatre’s grand opening was April 8th 1927. It is celebrating it’s 90th anniversary this Saturday with a free Buster Keaton film. Article below also has the timeline of it’s conversion in 1983 to a performing arts center and beyond.


victoria hallerman
victoria hallerman on September 12, 2017 at 9:57 am

I’m a fan of this fine Moorish-themed theater, after visiting Jacksonville in June. I did a blog post on the Florida in August on www.startswednesday.com, my site dedicated to movie palaces. Hoping the theater has survived the flooding of Hurricane Irma—waiting anxiously to find out.

ghamilton on September 13, 2017 at 1:42 pm

If you care about this theater ,you should consider “joining”. The $150.00 level gives you marvelous perks. Go to the website.

DavidZornig on November 18, 2019 at 5:55 pm

5 year, 10 million dollar renovation announced.


msova on July 9, 2023 at 5:47 am

would love for anyone that has color pix of the theatre BEFORE the 1980.s restoration to post them or hit me up. Also….if you worked there or have recollections of the interior, BEFORE the restoration Id love to hear about it.

rivest266 on May 20, 2024 at 12:04 pm

Grand opening ads and the Elvis concert ad and poster posted.

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