Players by the Sea was founded in 1966 by three energetic, creative beaches couples who shared a love of theatre. The uninterrupted fifty year history of Players by the Sea, much of it in borrowed or rented performance spaces, testifies to the enthusiastic loyalty of its beaches audiences and to the ingenuity and passion of volunteers drawn from all over the Jacksonville area.
During its first thirty years, Players by the Sea flourished and grew solely on box office receipts as an all-volunteer community theatre. The purchase of its first permanent home in 1999 led to ambitious growth in the number and quality of productions, with greatly expanded technical capabilities and the addition of a studio performance space.
The financial obligations of a mortgage and an increased operating expenses caused us to adopt new accounting and fund-raising strategies in order to maintain fiscal stability.
The increased functions and responsibilities of running the theatre led the Board of Directors to hire the Theatre’s first Executive Director in 2001. A professional Education Director, Production Manager, Administrative Assistant and Director of Marketing have been added to the staff. In 2018, the theatre hired Suzanne Hudson-Smith as its new Executive Director.
Players by the Sea has grown larger and more inclusive in its operations, education programs, membership and volunteer base, but it has not lost sight of the spirit in which it was founded—the passion of individuals for creating satisfying theatre experiences to share with audiences.