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Polk Theatre

Polk Theatre

Historic Polk Theatre was built in 1928 and features an annual live performing arts series as well as independent films and special events.

Watch a movie, Broadway performance, or listen to a live concert at this historic vaudeville/movie palace during your Central Florida vacation. The King, Elvis Presley, once played here.

Vaudeville Theatre and Movie Palace

Upon approaching Polk Theatre, it seems fairly standard, aside from its iconic marquee sign that is a popular backdrop for Instagram photos. But the moment you walk into the building, you’ll understand that Polk Theatre isn’t your standard theatre.

“Italian-born architect, J.E. Casale, designed the Theatre to be a 2,000+ seat vaudeville/movie palace, which mimicked a Mediterranean village,” according to ScottyMoore.net. “The stage is flanked by Italianate walls with niches, sconces, and even faux balconies and windows. An ornately tiled staircase leads to the mezzanine lobby, where towering columns, intricate cornice and molding work, and brass banded terrazzo floors awe patrons.”

Theatre Architecture

The breathtaking splendor of Casale’s architecture resides under one of the theatre’s most fascinating design aspects: a deep blue ceiling full of twinkling stars, which can also be lit to simulate a sunrise/sunset. Even when you visit the Theatre in broad daylight, it can difficult to convince your mind that you aren’t experience an evening in Italy – trust us, it’s that beautiful.

Elvis Presley’s Signature

On August 6, 1956, Elvis Presley performed at Polk Theatre for hordes of young fans. Reports reveal that patrons began lining up for his 3 scheduled evening performances as early as 9:00 a.m., and that one female fan even fainted from the heat! Elvis apparently put on quite the show for his dedicated fans.

While there are no remnants of his entertaining performance, Elvis Presley did leave behind his signature on the wall of the theatre’s third floor dressing room. The signature has since been removed from the wall to avoid water damage from a flood, but is now framed and will soon be displayed in the theatre once again.

Current Events and Movies

You too can experience this unique venue during your stay in Lakeland as The Theatre hosts film showings, Friday – Sunday. Enjoy independent films, classic films, foreign films and timeless films for the entire family. Be sure to check their Calendar of Events when you’re in town. Tickets range from $4.00 – $7.00, and beer and wine are sold at the concession stand.

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