American Stage Strives to Make Theater Accessible to the Tampa Bay Community:
Founded as The Palisades Theatre Company in 1977, American Stage Theatre Company has changed more than its name in the last 30 years.
Originally, the theater was based at Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd College) where it focused on the study of theatrical arts and produced educational programming for children in Pinellas. It moved to an old cinema house in 1979 and established its five-play Mainstage series.
In 1984, the city of St. Petersburg condemned the American Stage facility along with adjacent buildings forcing yet another relocation. The local power company supplied an alternative site, providing over 10,000 square feet. In addition to the 130-seat performance space, the new facility consisted of a lobby, costume shop, rehearsal hall and office space.
American Stage launched Shakespeare in the Park in 1986, performing The Taming of the Shrew as a free outdoor production. More than 8,000 patrons attended the 10 performances.
American Stage continues to evolve. In 1987, the St. Petersburg City Council named American Stage "St. Petersburg's Resident Professional Theatre Ensemble." The theater regularly produces Tampa Bay premieres, including Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz in the 2004-05 season, Casa Blue in 2006-07 and Moonlight and Magnolias in 2007-08.
The 2007-08 season will be the last for American Stage Theater Company in its present facilities. In partnership with St. Petersburg College, American Stage is building a new state-of-the-art theater in downtown St. Petersburg. Its construction marks the first time in Pinellas County history a new building has been erected for a professional theater.