Information on:

Lake Worth Playhouse

Lake Worth Playhouse
713 Lake Avenue

Mission Statement:

The Lake Worth Playhouse is a non-profit community theatre that provides entertainment, education and opportunities for artistic expression through volunteerism and community involvement and support.


The Lake Worth Playhouse occupies the former Oakley Theatre, the oldest building on the register of the Art Deco Society of Palm Beach County. It was constructed by Lucien and Clarence Oakley, two brothers who came to South Florida from Illinois on the wave of a movie mania sweeping the country in the early 1920s. Their dream was to build a movie palace and vaudeville house.

The theatre first opened its doors on November 3, 1924 with local newspapers proudly touting its $150,000 cost - a very high price at the start of the Great Depression. Opening night patrons were treated to a showing of a silent movie based on the Broadway play Welcome Stranger. The new $10,000 Wurlitzer pipe organ (with built-in piano) played in concert for the first time that night and a five-piece orchestra from Fort Lauderdale played for the two performances.

On September 16, 1928, a devastating hurricane ripped through the area, virtually demolishing the Oakley Theatre. But the tenacious brothers quickly rebuilt and reopened the theatre on January 10, 1929. Their dreams were ultimately dashed when the full weight of the Depression struck South Florida, and they lost ownership of the theatre for good.

Over the years, the theatre changed names and ownership many times, showing art films, mainstream films and later, blue movies. But no one was able to keep the film house afloat and the theatre was finally shut down.

Lake Worth Playhouse is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media