The Space Coast of Florida offers many events for its citizens and tourists. The Henegar Center is one of Brevard County’s historic buildings, constructed in 1919 and 1920. Today it is a welcoming theatre for stage plays, musicians, and songs galore. I have been there twice so far and have thoroughly enjoyed the experiences.
History of Henegar Center for the Arts: Originally built as Melbourne School with students of all grades, it graduated its first class of 13 in 1921. My mother’s graduating class consisted of 7 students, of which she was the valedictorian, so a class of only 13 does not seem odd to me. In those days, the town of Melbourne was dirt roads, few residents, and compelling growth. The Henegar building is neo-classical in design, common in the 1920; the architect was William Melvin Christen. Two other buildings were constructed for the campus, which became the Melbourne School Complex. About 40 years later, in 1963, the name of the school was changed to Henegar School in honor of Ruth Henegar, a teacher and principal. In 1975, now an elementary school, the doors closed. The school was renovated by and deeded to the non-profit Brevard Regional Arts Group as a 493 seat theatre in the 1980s, complete with rehearsal stage, space for exhibits and meetings, and a mirrored dance studio, etc. A tidbit, the main stage curtain is the original one from Broadway’s The King and I. The west building of the campus was demolished and replaced with senior housing named Trinity Towers South. My dad lived there for several years and enjoyed the friendships of other seniors. Very nice. The theater is located at 625 East New Haven Avenue in Melbourne, Florida, in the heart of the Historic District.
Ruth Henegar: The 1956 Melbourne High School Annual included a dedication to Mrs. Henegar stating, “She has served as teacher, Principal, and Assistant Principal, but regardless of title, Mrs. Ruth Henegar still remains…Mrs. Melbourne High School.”
Programs: Having just enjoyed the Follies at Henegar, I wanted to review the upcoming shows already scheduled for 2013. Some of these include the Atlanta Rhythm Section, I’ll Be Seeing You, A 1940s Cabaret, Anything Goes (a special presentation by the teen program this summer), Disney’s Mulan Jr., Last Call, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, and A Grand Night for Singing. There are many more.
Put this on your to do list for entertaining performances, and a bit of Space Coast history.