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Kaleidoscope Theatre hopeful new building will open soon

There is no set opening date for the building yet.
There is no set opening date for the building yet.(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 10:41 PM CST
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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - “Once the roads were clear enough for me to get here and I opened that door, I mean my heart just broke,” said Hillary McAlinden, the President of the Kaleidoscope Theatre.

The Kaleidoscope Theatre had been standing strong in Lynn Haven since the 70′s, until Hurricane Michael.

“How do you instill hope when they’re looking at a building that’s literally, you can walk in and see the sky?” said McAlinden.

The destruction left the Kaleidoscope family with no place to call home and a long journey ahead of them.

“We have been having to do our shows at other venues,” said Babs Umenhofer, a Director at Kaleidoscope Theatre. “We’ve worked at Mosley for a couple of shows and this particular one will be at Rutherford.”

Just when things were moving forward with the rebuild, there was another obstacle. The COVID-19 pandemic halted construction.

“We’re sort of having this double whammy situation of not only do we not have our building ready but we’re also yearning for theatre and want to keep our patrons safe,” said McAlinden.

This theatre is a non-profit operated solely by volunteers.

“No one gets paid to do any of this,” said McAlinden. “So, without people in the community, we wouldn’t survive.”

They’re surviving by looking forward to the finished product.

“By prolonging this it makes it so much better to look forward to because we know the work is being done correctly and being done in the right way,” said Umenhofer.

“It’s been difficult, but I know once this is done it will be worth it,” said McAlinden.

And those same volunteers are hopeful to soon fill the new and improved Kaleidoscope Theatre.

This includes seating for up to 200 people, upgraded technical equipment, a hearing aid loop to help those hard of hearing, and additional wheelchair seats.

“We want to be as accessible to everyone as possible,” said McAlinden. “I think for a lot of us inclusion matters. We’re trying to get as inclusive as possible for people that have disabilities of any kind.”

And when those theatre doors open, they look forward to another 50 years of entertaining Bay County.

As of now, there is no set date for when the theatre will open.

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