In the center of downtown Gainesville, there is a local treasure that the Gainesville population holds dear to their hearts, the Hippodrome State Theater. The Hippodrome was created in 1973 by local actors and was located on 2nd Place in downtown and has been there ever since. It is actually a very small complex with less than 400 seats and still has most of the same architectural structures as the original building and the Hippodrome is also home to one of the oldest working elevators in Florida. You have to crank it and everything! At the Hippodrome, the possibilities are endless. You are able to see the professional Gainesville cast put on Broadway productions, participate in art school classes for all ages, and develop yourself as an artist through adult behind-the-scenes workshops. For the remainder of May, the talented artists of Gainesville are putting on a production called “Avenue Q,” which is a coming of age musical that deals with children believing in endless possibilities and then growing up and realizing that their options are actually really limited. Also, starting May 31, they are showing the Australian movie, “The Sapphires,” which was inspired by a true story of four women who travel to sing in front of the U.S. troops in Vietnam during the late 1960s. The Hippodrome offers so many opportunities to all different age groups and it’s a small piece of history that thankfully hasn’t been pushed aside throughout the years of industrial growth that Gainesville has experienced.
written by: Leslie Cole