Lakeland Community Theatre: Nod to Nonprofits Tour Series
Join us for a free tour of the Lakeland Community Theatre to witness firsthand the powerful impact this organization has in our community.
About Lakeland Community Theatre
"To provide an affordable, high quality theatre experience for the people of Lakeland and its surrounding areas and to create an opportunity for individuals of all ages to develop and showcase their talents in a safe, nurturing, educational environment." -Lakeland Community Theatre's Mission
The Lake Mirror Center Complex with its grand history of over 60 years of providing Lakeland with a true Civic Theatre, is the home of Lakeland Community Theatre, celebrating its 30th Anniversary Season.
The first to occupy the Lake Mirror Centre Theatre was The Lakeland Little Theatre, organized in 1951. This was a volunteer group of actors, stage hands, costumers, etc. and a Board of Directors whose goal was to bring live theater to the community. The first production was a one night performance of Ayn Rand's comedy-drama, "The Night of January 16th" at Mayhall Auditorium, (which was located on the site of the current City Hall buildings, actually the current City Commission chambers) on April 3, 1951.
In 1958 it moved to the new Lake Mirror Centre Complex Theatre where it staged many successful productions. In 1977 the city urged Lakeland Little Theatre to move its productions to the theater of the newly completed civic center, now known as The Lakeland Center. However, the size of the Theatre was much too large for a community theater group. The Lakeland Little Theatre returned to the Lake Mirror Centre Theatre in 1980 until its closure in 1982.The final play was, “Sunday in New York”. The production was directed by James Dyas, who also directed “Send Me No Flowers” on Broadway.
In 1982 The Lakeland Players were formed and produced a limited season of plays at the Lake Mirror Centre Complex Theatre for approximately 4 years, but also disbanded.
In 1986 the City of Lakeland and concerned citizens responded to a growing need to once again provide the enrichment of a Community Theatre to the people of Lakeland. The theatre began as a dedicated group of volunteers committed to providing the children of Lakeland and their families the opportunity to enjoy educational and cultural enrichment through participating in and viewing of live theatre by producing two children’s shows per season; it was known as The Pied Piper Players.
Today in its 31st season, now known as Lakeland Community Theatre, it boasts a Main Stage season of five high quality productions; The Eunice Fuller Theatre for Youth three show season as well as classes, summer camps, workshops, Master Classes; The Edge: Alternative Stage Read Series; The Page to Stage Traveling Troupe serving area schools; The Out of the Box Troupe for special needs youth and adults, Senior Troupe and many special productions and events each year. Dedicated to keeping ticket prices affordable and still operating on the original expectation of the theatre raising its own revenue to cover costs, the theatre engages the support of the community through a sponsorship and advertising base, grants, and major fundraisers to support the ever growing needs of the Theatre. The City of Lakeland has been a vital partner and asset in creating and maintaining a home of its Community Theatre, in kind.
Over the past thirty years Lakeland Community Theatre has brought over 210 quality productions to the people of Lakeland and its surrounding areas, has given over 4,500 volunteer community performers the opportunity to be on stage, over 8,500 other volunteers the opportunity to work behind the scenes and over 400,000 audience members the opportunity to see live theatre.
Approximately over 1,500,000 volunteer hours have been logged over the past 30 years. Over 400 of those volunteer actors and back stage personnel who started with the theatre have pursued careers in the entertainment industry.
The Eunice Fuller Theatre for Youth productions are available to the students of Polk County through implementation of school day and summer camp production matinees at reduced or no cost. Lakeland Community Theatre also provides scholarships to summer camps, classes and workshops to under resourced youth. Over 60,000 students in the past 30 years have benefited from these Youth Education programs.
Lakeland Community Theatre donates, partners with and supports great community organizations such as The SPCA of Lakeland, Lighthouse Ministries, The Imperial Symphony Orchestra, Southeastern University, The Historic Polk Theatre, Theatre Winter Haven, Platform Florida, Polk Museum of Art, Talbot House Ministries, Parker Street Ministries and VISTE just a few to name.
Lakeland Community Theatre is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a volunteer Board of Directors, a full time staff which includes an Artistic Managing Director, Business Manager, Education Director and Technical Director; part time staff includes a Development Director, Assistant Technical Director and a Office/Production Intern; also numerous contracted Artistic, Educational and Production staff are employed throughout the Season.