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Tampa Theatre unveils new MicroCinema, the John T. Taylor Screening Room, its first expansion in its 97-year history!

The historic Tampa Theatre has added a unique cinematic experience for Tampa Bay movie-goers, the 43 seats small, John T. Taylor Screening Room.

Historic Tampa Theatre to unveil new MicroCinema this June, its first expansion in its 97-year history

Tampa Theatre is one of Tampa’s most beloved historic institutions, and possibly the most beautiful theater in Florida.

Originally constructed in 1926, the theater is one of the world’s most well-preserved examples of a John Eberson-designed atmospheric movie palace, and now as the theatre approaches its centennial in 2026, the theatre has opened its first expansion in its 97-year history... a 43-seat "micorcinema."

In the final days of 2021, the storefront adjacent to the Box Office – which served as the home of The Nature Shop for more than 40 years – was cleaned out and boarded up so a transformation could take place inside.

Now, the space has been transformed into a 43-seat “microcinema.” The intimate screening room, the Taylor Screening Room features exquisite sight lines and sound and is a game-changer in terms of the historic theatre’s programming flexibility.

After decades of dreaming, years of planning and 11 months of construction, the historic Tampa Theatre will proudly welcome audiences into the John T. Taylor Screening Room for the first time starting in June.

At 43 seats small, the John T. Taylor Screening Room makes a big promise to filmgoers: a superior movie-watching experience in a uniquely intimate setting.

Historic Tampa Theatre to unveil new MicroCinema this June, its first expansion in its 97-year history

“In the early planning for this space, our first step was to hire Boston Light and Sound – the best in the business – to specify the sightlines, the acoustics, and the projection and sound systems,” says Tampa Theatre President and CEO, John Bell. “These are the people that Martin Scorsese called when he wanted his own personal screening room built, so if it’s good enough for Marty, we figured it would be good enough for us.”

According to Bell, this first expansion in the landmark building’s 98-year history will allow a seismic shift in the Theatre’s business operations.

 “We currently manage to present 700 show times a year in a single space,” he says. “Having this second programming space will give us flexibility like we’ve never had before. We’ll be able to host MORE live shows, concerts, and community events in the historic hall, show MORE of the independent, international, and art-house films Tampa Theatre is known for, support MORE of the local film community’s work, and welcome MORE of our treasured Tampa Theatre guests.”

Historic Tampa Theatre to unveil new MicroCinema this June, its first expansion in its 97-year history

The new microcinema is named in recognition of a leadership gift from former Theatre board member and philanthropist John T. Taylor. His donation gave the organization the momentum it needed to secure the additional funding needed to build out the new space, primarily from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissions and the Downtown Tampa CRA Board.

Historic Tampa Theatre to unveil new MicroCinema this June, its first expansion in its 97-year history

Built in 1926, the Tampa Theatre is one of America’s most elaborate movie palaces and a beloved community landmark. Visitors to the Theatre enjoy world-class entertainment under a realistic night sky with twinkling stars, in a romantic Mediterranean courtyard replete with old-world statues, flowers, and gargoyles.

Tampa Theatre

Like other movie palaces around the country, Tampa Theatre was enormously popular when it opened. For the first time in history, the common person had access to opulence — for 25 cents!

But by the 1960s, times had changed. The rise of television and migration to the suburbs had a profound impact on the movie palaces that lit up America’s main streets. Audiences dwindled, costs rose, and many of our nation’s finest movie palaces were demolished.

In 1973, Tampa Theatre faced the same fate. But Tampa’s citizens rallied. Committees and community leaders got involved, and soon reached a deal with the City to rescue the Theatre.

Today, the Theatre is managed by the not-for-profit Tampa Theatre Foundation. As one of the most heavily utilized venues of its kind in the United States, Tampa Theatre’s single auditorium hosts more than 700 events each year, including a full schedule of first-run and classic films, concerts, special events, corporate events, tours and educational programs.

Tampa Theatre

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