Shoals Theatre

123 North Seminary Street,
Florence, AL 35630

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Shoals Theatre Florence AL

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Shoals Theatre opened on Thursday, October 21, 1948. The theatre was located at 123 North Seminary in Florence, at the corner of Seminary Street and Mobile Street, diagonally across from the post office. The theatre was in a new building also containing four stores. One store, Brother and Sister Shop, was already open and in operation, but the other three stores opened at the same time as the theatre.

The theatre had 1,344 seats in orchestra and balcony levels. At the time of its opening, it was the fourth largest theatre in the state, and the largest in any town with under 100,000 population. The theatre featured voice of the theatre sound equipment, and had a complete duplicating set that could be activated by a snap of a switch in case of failure.

The theatre was the first in the South to feature Slide-back seats, which could be retracted six inches with the shove of the body, to make it easier for people to walk in front of the other customers. At the time there were only four other theatres in the world in posession of these seats.

This theatre’s last night of operation was Thursday, March 13, 1980. It was reopened for concerts, special events and used in a film festival in 2011. By 2012, it was in use as a live theatre.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

DonLewis
DonLewis on July 5, 2008 at 1:49 pm

A 1986 view of the Shoals Theatre in Florence and a larger view here.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 5, 2008 at 2:07 pm

We’re getting locked out of the larger views due to password issues.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 14, 2009 at 11:44 pm

The Shoals Theatre was designed by the Nashville architectural firm Marr & Holman, according to an item in Boxoffice Magazine, April 10, 1948.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 19, 2009 at 9:59 pm

The January 8, 1949, issue of Boxoffice gives the seating capacity of the Shoals Theatre as 1,166, with 974 Ideal Slide-Back chairs on the main floor and 192 in the balcony. The standee area would accommodate about 150 additional patrons, the article said.

Allan
Allan on July 12, 2011 at 10:56 pm

In the late 60s early 70s, the movies changed twice a week. The theatre was the only theatre within walking distance from the University of North Alabama after the Norwood closed permanently due to a major fire. Admission was $1 for college students

ShoalsSound
ShoalsSound on September 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

The theater has been under restoration and is open once again for community events and concerts. Since it reopened, several movies have been shown there during the annual George Lindsey Film Festival.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 2, 2012 at 9:23 am

Described in this 1949 trade article: boxofficemagazine

spectrum
spectrum on January 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

The Shoals theatre is currently the home of the Shoals Community Theatre Group which is a reperatory company putting on regular productions on a nearl;y monthly schedule. They have a full schedule through the spring so it looks like the building is doing well. Their next phase of renovation will involve renovating the blacony and putting tables up there. Their official website is: http://www.shoalstheatre.com/

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