Our History

Built in 1931, the Annie Russell Theatre was dedicated to its namesake as a gift from her dear friend, Mary Louise Curtis Bok.  The theatre opened its doors for the first time in 1932 with a production of On a Balcony starring Ms. Russell herself. 

Since then, “The Annie” has remained the heart of Rollins College, and a treasured gem within the Winter Park community.  As one of Florida’s oldest and longest running theatres, The Annie has never had a dark season in over 75 years.  Both a place of entertainment and education, thousands of students have been transformed – both onstage and off – throughout their A.R.T. experiences.   The 2007/2008 Season marked the 75th Anniversary of the Annie Russell Theatre. 

Notables such as Buddy Ebsen, Dana Ivey, and Christopher Fitzgerald are a few of the many successful theatre graduates that have passed through these doors.  Among these award winners, we have also graduated accomplished scenic designers, costume designers, theatre administration professionals, playwrights, and most recently, an Emmy award-winning lighting designer.

Beyond the Annie Russell, the Department of Theatre and Dance is rich with history and tradition.  From the Fred Stone black-box theatre performances to the Rollins Players and Theta Alpha Phi, the connections between the students, staff, audience and community are tangible ones that last a lifetime.