CHIPLEY - The year is 1982, and the auditorium of Chipley High School has just been filled with new seating, 598 seats to be exact. These seats would see many plays, graduations, pageants and assemblies over the next 28 years until the new Chipley High School is built. The seats would not be used again until 2008 when the Spanish Trail Playhouse reopened.
When the renovated Playhouse opened, only 365 seats remained. Playhouse President Kevin Russell is retiring those remaining seats after 39 years. A chair drive fundraiser with a goal of $60,000 has been underway for the past 18 months and is currently at $54,000. Those efforts have included silent auctions, sponsoring chairs, donations, a “bake-off” challenge, and a portion of summer theatre camp proceeds.
Russell says the chairs are part of making the theatre more ADA compliant as well as more comfortable.
“The new seats will be larger; therefore, the number of seats will go down to 300,” said Russell. “We will also be using some of the funds for new carpeting, paint, and possibly some new lighting.”
The theatre is getting a makeover which will transform it into a more traditional theatre environment, providing an upgraded experience with patrons’ needs and comfort in mind.
The new seats can be sponsored and will have a small plaque placed on them in memoriam or in honor of the sponsor’s choosing.
Russell says the goal is to have the seats in for the new season.
“We plan to put the seats in and complete the other improvements over the Christmas break,” said Russell. “We hope to have everything ready to go for the beginning of our fifteenth season in January 2022.”
Those interested in obtaining a row of the old seats or sponsoring a new seat can contact the Spanish Trail Playhouse Box Office at 850-638-9113.