Lake Wales Little Theatre

411 North 3rd Street
Lake Wales, FL 33853

863-676-1266

Lake Wales Little Theatre has been providing high-quality, live entertainment to Lake Wales and east Polk County for over thirty years. Our offerings include recent hits and old favorites, and we frequently offer new plays never before produced. Our intimate 140-seat theater ensures that everyone has a great view of the action.

The goal of the Lake Wales Little Theatre, Inc. is to provide high quality theatrical entertainment and a creative outlet for the many interested and talented people in our area. More specifically, the purpose of our theater is to provide cultural education and enjoyment for the citizens of Lake Wales and surrounding areas by producing, presenting, and viewing live theater activities. Participation in theater activities on stage, backstage and in the audience is open to all interested individuals.

History of Lake Wales Little Theatre

The Lake Wales Little Theatre has, since its formation in 1978, provided the only continuous source of live theatrical performances available in the community of Lake Wales, Florida. For the first fourteen seasons, productions were presented in various local facilities: Women's Club of Lake Wales, area churches, McLaughlin Middle School, Polk Ave Elementary, and Lake Wales High School. In 1992, the fifteenth season, the theater group proudly opened its new theater building at 411 North Third Street in the old public school complex's band building.

Constructed in 1947, the theater building originally served as the high school band building. The building fell into disuse after relocation of the high school to the top of the Ridge near Burns Avenue. The theater group expressed an interest in using the building in the mid-1980 ²s, resulting in the property being legally deeded by Polk County to the City of Lake Wales. In 1987, the city leased the property to the Lake Wales Little Theatre, Inc., for a term of 20 years at a rate of $1.00 per year. In 2007, the lease was renewed for the same term and rate.

The current facilities resulted from a tremendous amount of volunteer labor supplemented by generous donations of money and materials by local individuals and businesses, and grants totaling several thousand dollars from the Polk County Tourist Development Commission and the City of Lake Wales. By opening night, October 2, 1992, approximately $60,000.00 had been spent on the renovations, of which roughly half was earned by the theater group with the other half coming from donations and grants. Further volunteer labor reduced by nearly half the local architect's original cost estimate of $120,000.00.

Renovations to the old band building have been extensive. All exterior windows have been removed and the front of the building resurfaced. A spacious carpeted lobby greets visitors upon entering through double doors. Upon entering, the box office and the hospitality center is on the right. The wheel chair accessible auditorium is entered through angled stairwells or at floor level at either end of the lobby. One hundred forty comfortably-upholstered seats are situated on six high-raked rows and assure unobstructed views of the stage. An addition on the north side of the theater provides public restrooms, a large set construction area, and an office. Backstage areas feature dressing rooms, restrooms, and rooms for costume storage. A large metal building (donated by the City of Lake Wales) behind the theater provides space for storage of theatrical materials. A main drape was added in 1995 and a traveler in 1997. The stage was extended beyond the proscenium in 2000, new seats and carpet were installed in 2004, and a mid-stage curtain was installed in 2009.

All members of the Lake Wales Little Theatre are volunteers who give of their time and talent.

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