My name is Lori Newton. I am the founder of Artist Connection Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida. I have five children, and four of them are heavily involved in the arts. Through the years, I have found that developing their talents is an investment that can be costly, piano lessons, vocal lessons, dance classes, etc.
In 2012 the dream to establish a community theatre began. This dream includes a place that gives anyone an opportunity to inexpensively develop talents and gifts. As the years passed, the dream grew stronger and stronger. Finally, in January of 2017, I began the process of incorporation and became a non-profit organization (501c3). Our first productions were performed in the gymnasium of a local church while the board and I searched to find a permanent location for A.C.T. Then in July of 2019, we signed the lease at the old Cinema & Drafthouse in the Gazebo Shopping Center. This space had been empty for about 21 years. Renovations took a couple of years to complete along with inspections to secure our occupancy license. We are currently occupying 2 units in the shopping center and are expanding to a third unit to give our theatre extra rehearsal space and dressing rooms. The board and I are thrilled to see the vision of Artist Connection Theatre grow and become a place of family-friendly entertainment. Our next endeavor will be to begin afterschool programs and workshops for all ages to enjoy the arts.
This is a journey I will never forget, and I thank my God for it every day.
Joe and Lori Newton, Harrison Newton, Halie Newton, Hattie Berwind, Hannah O'Shea, and Hayden Newton