Community theatres hold a special place in the hearts of many, not only for their engaging performances but also for the way they become a hub for local talent and culture. The Daytona Playhouse is one such treasure with a history that dates back to 1946 when a group of theatre enthusiasts came together to create something extraordinary.
The journey of the Daytona Playhouse started in December 1946 when Mr. and Mrs. Henry Saltzman, Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Reid, Mr. and Mrs. Milo Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Landphair decided to establish a community theatre group. Their passion for live theatre would be the driving force behind the formation of The Daytona Beach Little Theatre.
After a devastating fire broke out at their venue in 1951, the determined group carried on and found a new home at the charming Moorish-style Princess Theater. While at The Princess Theater, a fund-raising drive led to the purchase of a lot on the Halifax River, where they constructed their modern facility. On October 12, 1955 the Daytona Beach Little Theatre was completed. In 1968, it was decided that the Daytona Beach Little Theatre would become The Daytona Playhouse. Since then, the Playhouse has had many renovations and improvements to their facility.
InterAmerica Stage, Inc. (IA Stage), just three years old at that time, was contracted in 1992 to restore the Playhouse’s hemp rigging system. Mark Black, president of IA Stage, was thrilled at the opportunity to work for the local and well-respected theater. “It was one of the first jobs that we were contracted to do when we had just started out, so this was a huge deal for us. I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity”, says Mark
When word got out that the Playhouse needed to undergo repairs in 2023, Mark went out of his way to find a way that he could help. “The Daytona Playhouse kept the hemp rigging system that we made for them all those years ago in excellent shape,” he said. “This time around, I wanted to give back to the folks that supported us at the beginning.” IA Stage installed six purple side panels in the theatre and three fabric panels on the rear wall of house, house right, and house left to help with the acoustics in the venue. “Now that we have the lovely wall treatments,” says John Mirabile, a volunteer sound tech, “I am excited to re-equalize the sound system.”
This full circle moment is a testament to the symbiotic relationship between a community theatre and the businesses it nurtures. The Daytona Playhouse saw potential in IA Stage and gave us a very important opportunity. “Returning the favor is our way of paying it forward. That’s what friends and neighbors do.”
The Daytona Playhouse is set to open back up in December. You can find them and their upcoming shows here.