Bay St. Louis Little Theatre Finds A New Home

It's just a matter of time before the curtains go up on community theater in Bay St. Louis. The Bay St. Louis Little Theatre has been without a home since Hurricane Katrina destroyed its building on Boardman Street. But now, the group has found a new home in a historic building with ties to Hollywood.

"For two years, we have heard, 'When are we going to have a theatre again?' And, 'When is the theatre coming back?' Well, it's here. We're back," Theatre Board President Cheryl Grace said Thursday.

The old Scafidi house was built in 1929, and once served as a grocery store with living quarters upstairs. In 1965, it was the backdrop for a movie filmed on the coast.

"It has a history of being in a very famous movie that was filmed here in Bay St. Louis. 'This Property is Condemned' staring Robert Redford, Natalie Wood, Charles Bronson."

Bringing actors back to this place more than 40 years later will take a lot of work and money. Grants from the Mississippi Department of Archives and the Mississippi Arts Commission will fund the first two phases of renovation work. Fundraisers will have to come up with the rest.

"We're going to try to tie Hollywood into this. This was Francis Ford Coppola's first screenplay. There's something about having a first that you can come back and celebrate."

Theatre board members hope to bring up the curtain by the end of the year.

"We're going to probably have shows here in not the perfect setting yet, but were going to have shows here. We might have to bring folding chairs, but I do know this - the actors of this community want a place as soon as possible to show their wares," Grace said.

And theatre leaders say the ever popular Children's Theatre Summer Camp will return once the facility is completed. The theatre is located in the heart of the Depot District on the corner of Blaize Avenue and Third Street.