Fitzgerald Grand Theatre

Fitzgerald Grand Theatre

Fitzgerald, Georgia

 

The Grand Theatre is a restored 1936 Art Deco facility capable of showing historic and first run 35 mm films in addition to full live concert and dramatic capabilities. The auditorium seats 920 patrons. The Grand Theatre is the proud recipient of an historic 1926 3-manual, 18 rank Barton Theatre Organ which was installed early in 2011. The dedication concert by Jelani Eddington took place on March 26.

Originally a 1500 seat movie house with a small stage for the movie stars who accompanied the films, The Grand Theatre was built in 1936 to replace the Grand Opera House which was built on the same site in 1911 and burned in the early 1930’s from a nitrate film fire. The Grand Theatre initially included a rooftop dinner and dancing venue along with 4 store fronts on the street. The rooftop area was later enclosed and used for offices, an art studio, a dance studio and later for storage. With the decline in the theatre industry and the building of the Capri Twin, the Grand officially closed in 1976 and was purchased by the city and county governments. The Grand became the first downtown redevelopment project in 1985, leading the way for many other historic renovations which have won state and national awards.

The Barton organ in its original home, the Orpheum Theatre, Galesburg, Illinois in 1964

 

Accomplished with corporate and private donations, renovations to the auditorium, stage and dressing rooms were completed in 1987. The manager position went full-time again in December of 2003 following the renovation of the balance of the facility and increasing demand for the use of the theatre and ancillary space. The Grand now also includes a park across the street with an amphitheater stage. Today the Grand has resumed its place as the city center for entertainment and enrichment serving a rural community of 50,000 with over 350 events in 2008 including film, concerts, theatre, banquets, dance, school functions, weddings, and business, civic and governmental meetings and training events.