St Augustine Amphitheatre
The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is a venue for outdoor concerts and other large gatherings on A1A in St Augustine, Florida, United States. The Amphitheatre seats 3,493 persons, and is managed by the St. Johns County Parks & Recreation department.
The Amphitheatre was built in 1965 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine. The land was originally part of Anastasia State Park. The amphitheatre itself was constructed in one of the old coquina quarries used to supply building materials for St. Augustine and the Castillo de San Marcos.
The Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paul Green was commissioned to write a play to be performed at the Amphitheatre. The result was Cross and Sword: A Symphonic Drama of the Spanish Settlement of Florida, a musical reenactment of the first years of St. Augustine’s existence. Cross and Sword was designated the official state play in 1973 by the Florida Legislature.The play ran until 1996, when budget constraints ended its more than 30 year run.
The amphitheatre was used infrequently during the following years, though it did host a free summer Shakespeare Festival from 1997 to 2003. In 2002, St. Johns County acquired the property and the following year began an $8.7 million renovation. The upgraded facility reopened in August 2007, which includes a fiberglass tensile canopy over the main stage.