In 1945, the Mars Theatre opened its doors to the bustling town of Springfield, Georgia. The theatre brought culture and excitement to the downtown area, beckoning visitors with its lively atmosphere, daily movie screenings, and state-of-the-art projection system. For the next twelve years, the theatre delighted audiences with Westerns starring Roy Rogers, classics such as Gone With the Wind, and national news reels. However, with the development of television, the Mars began to suffer severe audience decline, ultimately leading to its closure in 1957.
The theatre remained abandoned in the years following, leaving only a memory of its short, but vibrant past. The doors opened in the 70s, when the building reopened as an office space. The theatre was refurbished at this time and owners discarded many of the Mars’ remaining architectural elements. The building served several purposes until the mid-1990s, when The Springfield Revitalization Corporation—or the SRC—adopted the Mars Theatre as its newest project.
Inspired by the theatre’s past and interested in improving the local community, the SRC ignited a restoration effort funded entirely by donors.
As the project gained momentum both within the community and its surrounding areas, the SRC partnered with the City of Springfield to begin construction in 2007. In 2013, the theatre received a grant from the Fox Theatre Institute to help with further restoration.
The restoration process focused on the theatre’s original design as well as the needs of the community. To recreate the Mars’ rich, era-specific details, the team installed replica neon lighting beneath the grand marquee and a glass-block entrance. The team also outfitted the space with the latest in sound, lighting, and projection technology to ensure that the Mars Theatre could support the highest level of entertainment.
Together, with support from the SRC and the Fox Theatre Institute, the City of Springfield completed the refurbishments in 7 years, opening the theatre in April of 2014. It had been almost 60 years since the Mars Theatre welcomed the public, and the Springfield community highly anticipated its return. Today, the theatre is a forum for entertainment and artistic gathering, offering live music from bands of all genres, movies for families and film lovers, cultural events, and community activities.