Shoals Theatre

123 N. Seminary Street,
Florence, AL 35630

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Shoals Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Architects: Joseph W. Holman, Thomas Marr

Firms: Marr & Holman

Functions: Live Theatre

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 256.764.1700

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News About This Theater

Shoals Theatre Florence AL

The Shoals Theatre opened on Thursday, October 21, 1948 with Betty Grable in “That Lady in Ermine”. 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 possession 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. Due to a fire in the basement in early-2016 the theatre was closed for renovations to be carried out. It had reopened by summer of 2017.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 15, 2009 at 2:44 am

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 20, 2009 at 12:59 am

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 on July 13, 2011 at 1:56 am

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 on September 12, 2011 at 6:40 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.

spectrum on January 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm

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:

theatrehistorian on October 8, 2014 at 5:06 pm

When I was in College there, we saw movies there pretty-regularly. The Norwood (now closed) permitted smoking.

retroalli on August 25, 2017 at 10:58 am

This theatre appears to have re-opened. Events are listed on Facebook and the official website.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm

retroali is correct. The Shoals is open again with a variety of live performances. Website update.

Dcoan on December 12, 2017 at 1:29 am

The theatre is fully operational as a non profit venue with an alcohol license. It can be rented out for events. There are plans to upadate the sound and lighting as well as reinstall a projector so that films can be screened again. You can like the Theatre on facebook under Shoals Community Theatre or follow the theatre on Instagram under @shoalscommunitytheatre

rivest266 on June 13, 2024 at 7:05 pm

Opened on October 21st, 1948. Grand opening ad posted.

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