The Saenger Theatre has been called the Grand Dame of Palafox, but the Saenger Theatre is much more than a Great Lady; she is a survivor. Opened in 1925, its Spanish Baroque architecture, in opulent Rococo style took nearly thirteen months to complete.
In the early years the Saenger hosted a colorful array of Vaudeville-type road shows, Broadway plays, and silent screen classics. Later years saw use as a movie house until 1975 when the aging edifice closed its doors. That same year ABC Southeastern Theatres donated the building to the City of Pensacola as a cultural affairs center.
Through a joint effort by the city of Pensacola and the University of West Florida, the theatre was restored and returned to its standing as a center for the performing arts. The restoration project took four-years and 1.6 million dollars to complete but in 1981 the theatre reopened and today is listed in the National Register of Historic Sites.
In 1995, the lobby of Saenger Theatre underwent major renovations including doubling the size of the lobby, providing better accommodations for persons with disabilities and restoring the lobby to the grand scale of its historic past. These renovations were made possible through the efforts of the Friends of the Saenger and the City of Pensacola. Through its ownership, the City of Pensacola not only supports the theatre through funding but also through its commitment to providing the community with a strong cultural arts environment. Since taking over the Saenger Theatre, the City has worked hard to ensure quality entertainment is afforded the citizens of Pensacola as well as visitors to the area.
Located in the heart of downtown Pensacola, the Saenger Theatre can supply the equipment, trained theatre staff, and the ambiance to showcase a variety of shows such as: Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr., David Copperfield, John Tesh, Wynton Marsalis, Ziggy Marley, CATS and Sesame Street.