Our HistorY

 

A Classic Theatre takes pride in producing a wide range of offerings that fit its mission of producing Classic, Historic and/or Original works. Its working board of directors has a grand total of four women…each of whom has a strong individual background in theater. 

 

ACT is known for presenting works that would not ordinarily be seen in our fair City. In May of 2005, ACT made its debut on the arts scene with a staged reading of "Marat/Sade" followed the next year by "Working" by Studs Turkel, and "Gross Indecency, the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde" and "The Vagina Monologues", which was produced in cooperation with Jacksonville University in 2009. These three productions were directed by founder Jean Rahner.

 

Original plays have found a friendly welcome and have made their premieres with A Classic Theatre. These include "Darwin’s Babies" by local arts reporter Bob Feldheim; "The Women Rebel" by Dee Lovell; "Henry Flagler Remembers" by Thomas Rahner; "The Imperative" by Roger Rueff; "My Friend Zelma: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on Trial" by Dr. Michael Gannon; and "Cross Roads: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Norton S. Baskin in Unguarded Moments" by Deborah B. Dickey.

 

Full productions of large and small cast plays have also found an outlet with ACT: from the fully staged production of "Inherit the Wind" on the mainstage of Limelight Theatre to the one-person shows of Jason Woods in his adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" at the Pioneer Barn, and Joan Didion’s one-woman play, "The Year of Magical Thinking" performed by Anne Kraft at the Koger-Gamache Theater at Flagler College.

 

ACT even reached into the world of radio by producing a live broadcast in front of an audience of "It’s a Wonderful Life" and the classic "War of the Worlds," which was recorded and has been re-broadcast annually on WFCF.FM at Halloween.

 

The “gypsies” of the theater scene in St. Augustine, all this has been achieved without the benefit of a theater home of their own! Productions have been produced in every conceivable venue: from the outdoor courtyard of the historic Ximinez-Fatio house accompanied by sound of the clip-clop of the horse carriages passing by, to the elegant protection of the Flagler Room in Flagler College.Operating revenues come from ticket sales and donations; any profit made on one production goes into putting on the next show. It may not be the best “Business Model,” but it IS a “Model for Love of the Arts.”

As part of our website re-design, we are reworking all of our materials from all our past seasons and will have a more up to date gallery of our presentations soon. Please check back to see those.

OUR FOUNDER

The first glimmering of A Classic Theatre was when Jean Rahner decided to step  out of retirement to direct a staged reading of Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss in May of 2005. Several full productions and original plays later, ACT was incorporated with the State of Florida in March of 2007 with the mission to produce classical, historical and original plays for the St. Augustine community. She served as our president and guiding light until her second retirement in August of 2017.

Originally from Schenectady, NY, Jean moved to St. Augustine to finish high school here. She received her BA in Theatre Arts from Flagler College in 1978 and continued her education in communications at UNF, Jones College, and Jacksonville University.  

She became an active member of the Little Theater of St. Augustine and the Flagler College Theatre Department as an actor and director. Later she was an original cast member for Cross and Sword, Florida's official state play in which she played three leading roles as well as working in Public Relations for the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.

Always an inspiring teacher, Jean was an adjunct for Flagler College Communications Department, teaching Public Speaking and Intro to Radio and TV as well as directing several productions for Flagler Theatre Department.

Jean has received the ROWITA (Recognizing Outstanding Women in the Arts) Award in 2010 and is recipient of the Florida Theatre Conference award for Outstanding Contribution to Florida's Community Theatre.

Among her many accomplishments, she is the co-founder, along with Anne Kraft, and retired Artistic Director of the Limelight Theatre and continues to direct there on occasion. She has also directed for Theatre Jax, Players By The Sea, Flagler Playhouse, First Coast Opera as well as ACT. Her acting credits span many years and many roles.

She continues to be an inspiration for ACT and we hope we can entice her to come out of retirement, yet again, to direct or perform in an ACT production.