The iconic Tampa Theatre has announced a number of activities and events being held during the fall season. The Tampa Theatre currently hosts more than 600 events a year, including first-run movies, classic films, tours, storytellers, awards ceremonies, weddings, plays, and concerts for school kids.
On Sunday, August 30, the Tampa Theatre will host a showing of the 1925 horror classic ‘Phantom of the Opera ‘ starring Lon Chaney with accompaniment by Stephen Ball playing the theater’s Wurlitzer organ. Jill Witecki, the theater’s director of marketing said, “For people who have never seen a silent movie, this is one of the very few places left where you can see one as it was meant to be seen.”
The theater still operates traditional 35-mm. projectors, so it’s one of the few theaters in the country that can show old films that have not yet been converted to a digital format. Prior to almost all movies, audiences can arrive early to enjoy a 15-minute organ concert. At the completion of the concert, the organ and the organist descend into the stage.
On September 2, the Tampa Theatre will host a live event centered around the “Big Blue Live” PBS series. Marine biologists will be on hand for the event for a panel discussion. There’s also a three-day wine festival scheduled for Sept. 11-13.
In October, the theater will be screening a series of classic horror films. During the month, the theater staff will also be conducting “ghost tours,” where visitors can view the farthest reaches of the theater and learn the legends behind one of the most haunted buildings in the Tampa area. The daytime tours are for all ages while the nighttime tours are “definitely PG-13.”
Classic holiday film favorites will be screened throughout November and December.
The Tampa Theatre has 90-minute tours of the entire building at 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Built back in 1926, the Tampa Theatre is a rarity worth seeing, as many of the other grand movie houses around the country have been demolished. The theater was ranked ninth on CNN’s 2014 list of the world’s most spectacular theaters.
The Tampa Theatre was designed by John Eberson, an impressive architect of movie palaces of the era. Eberson designed movie palaces all over the country and imbued them with a style he called “atmospheric.” In an interview with reporters, he said that the Tampa Theater was his favorite creation.
The design of the building is amazing, with ornate statuary, stone details, and archways with carved pillars everywhere you look. The lobby floors are comprised of richly colored tiles, while the ceiling resembles an endless expanse of blackness punctuated by twinkling stars.