in 1949, The Island Players, Inc. is an organization dedicated to providing artistic experiences for the communities of Anna Maria Island and its neighboring cities through the presentation of stage
The Island Players is the oldest community theater in Manatee County.
To accomplish these goals, we present five performances each year between October and May of the following year. Recently, one of our presentations is during artsHOP, which is sponsored by Cultural Connections of Anna Maria Island.
The Island Players Theater has a long history on Anna Maria Island. The building, originally the home of the William H. Gillette family of Parrish, was brought by barge down the Manatee River and placed where it is now on the corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue around 1912.
Over the years it has been the center of municipal affairs; has been used as a school classroom;
has served as a church for more than one religious denomination;
a tourist information center in the 20’s; was a service club during World War II; the Anna Maria Garden Club and the Woman’s Club have used the building for meetings, flower shows and exhibits; and until the mid 70’s the Anna Maria City Commission held its meetings in the community house. Island Players used the community house at this time during the winter to stage its productions.
In the mid-70’s it was discovered that the building was being damaged by termites and the then Mayor, Harry Cole, had a problem. While the building was a historical landmark, the maintenance and repair would be too costly for the city. Fortunately, the Island Players were considering building their own theater and were able to enter an arrangement with the city that not only saved the building but has made it something all of Anna Maria can be proud of. Island Players not only repaired the building, but also added some major renovations. The stage was raised, 137 seats were installed in seven tiered rows. and it was carpeted.
right side of the theater you will see a picturesque fireplace.
It is not left over from one of the production sets, it is the original fireplace that was once used by the William H. Gillett family.
Island Players has continued to maintain and preserve the building.
In 2009, the Anna Maria Island Historical Society awarded the theater with a preservation plaque of distinction (which can be seen in the theater lobby) in recognition of the Island Players ongoing excellent maintenance of the historical Island Landmark.
The "Island Playhouse" is a Florida Heritage Site
We hope you enjoy our presentations as much as we enjoy presenting them.
We wish you peace, love, and happiness, but most of all,
The Island Players, Inc.
10009 Gulf Drive
Anna Maria, Florida 34216
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