Cocoa Village Selected Florida ‘Retail ‘Gem’
By Space Coast Daily // July 12, 2012
COCOA VILLAGE, FLORIDA – The magazine of the state’s tourism marketing group has named Cocoa Village one of eight “Shopping Gems of the Sunshine State.”
Visit Florida’s Insider magazine put Cocoa Village among Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Park Avenue in Winter Park and other upscale spots across the state.
The magazine praised the village’s great shopping and its “wonderful” Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse.
“We are absolutely delighted with this news,” said Catherine Sligh, marketing and program manager with the Historic Cocoa Village Merchants Association.
“The Merchants Association has been working steadily over the past few years to promote our local village as an important shopping destination along the Space Coast and in Central Florida.”
COCOA VILLAGE PLAYHOUSE
Established as the “Aladdin” theatre, the doors opened to the public on August 18, 1924, showing silent movies. Later, Brevard’s first “talkie” movie house became known as “the showplace of the Indian River Section”.
As the owners changed through the years, the theatre featured vaudeville acts, served as a station for the American Red Cross during wartime and then became the State Theatre featuring movies on the “big picture screen.” The name “Aladdin” decorates the marquee still today.
Several owners and several decades later, the building was purchased by the City of Cocoa and renamed The Cocoa Village Playhouse. In August of 1984, Brevard Community College District Board of Trustees acquired the building for $1 with the understanding that the college would take the responsibility of ownership and make the theatre operate in the best interest of the community.
The Trustees immediately established a 501(c)(3) not for profit Direct Support Organization with its own Board of Directors who were given the responsibility of raising funds to make the Playhouse self supporting.
Through donations from individuals, organizations, corporations and grants from Foundations, as well as the State of Florida, the Playhouse was restored operational and began producing community based musicals in 1989 featuring local volunteer performers. In 1991, the Playhouse was accepted onto the National Register of Historic Places in Tallahassee and the official corporate name became The Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse.
As the programming grew and became popular, the Stars of Tomorrow youth program was established in 1992 beginning with eight young people and now has over 264 participants each season featuring youth ages 7 through high school graduation. The program instructs them in not only the performing arts but life management skills as each “Star” is required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average in their classes.
The performer base has now grown to over 600 volunteers who rotate throughout the productions each year with a core group known as the “Gold Star Performers” who perform in consecutive performances each season.
An audience base of 4,000 season patrons support the Playhouse each year and performances are known to sell out to the public before the run of each production is finished. Over 55,000 audience viewers participate each year.