The Athens Theatre is one of the few existing examples of a classic American theatre in Central Florida. It is a jewel of Italian Renaissance architecture. This historic theatre was designed in 1921 and first opened its doors on January 6th, 1922, deriving its name from the vision of DeLand’s founder, Henry DeLand, who sought to create a city that would be the “Athens of Florida”.
It has housed many different functions such as a a place for community theatre and prom parties, to a restaurant, movie house, and a teen night spot. Dozens remember it as the site of their first date, first kiss, and even as the place to go for a midnight matinee after the high school prom. Now, the Athens Theater is embarking upon a new chapter, thanks to the leadership and direction of a local visionary.
From there, Craig directed several other plays, and he eventually was asked to become director of the Sands Youth Theater Company, a program at the Athens for students to learn about drama. This position led him to his current role as artistic director in 2013, where he selects and produces all season shows.
The Athens has seen a lot of growth under Craig’s direction, but according to him, the best is yet to come. “The Athens is quickly becoming more than just a community theater. It has the potential to become a regional theater, thanks to the quality of our shows and a mix of local and regional actors,” he said. “We are in a great situation, and look forward to providing high quality entertainment to our patrons for a long time to come.”
Slated for the current season of the Athens is Spamalot, The Addams Family, A Christmas Carol, James and the Giant Peach, and Driving Miss Daisy. For more information about the Athens Theater, visit http://www.athensdeland.com/index.html.