The Hippodrome was founded in 1972 by six artists (Bruce Cornwell, Gregory Hausch, Mary Hausch, Kerry McKinney, Marilyn Wall and Orin Wechsberg) with the goal of presenting the best in challenging, contemporary theater. By its official founding date of April 18, 1973, the Hippodrome had acquired a name, established a home in a converted hardware/convenience store and selected a season of plays and theater classes for children.
In 1979 the Hippodrome moved into Gainesville's most prominent building, the historic Federal Building, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and located in the heart of downtown Gainesville. The Hippodrome, with support from the community, the State of Florida and a Grant from the NEA, restored this magnificent building and convert it into its present facility.
The new theater opened its doors in early 1980, and in 1981 the Hippodrome was designated a State Theatre of Florida. The theater enjoys recognition as one of the leading regional theaters in the country, with the primary goal of providing the best season of theater for audiences throughout the state. In maintaining this goal, the Hippodrome has become a major cultural resource to the community and the State of Florida, staging mainstage productions for more than 60,000 people annually.
The theater has produced more than one hundred world, American and Southeastern premieres in its 25 year history. Acclaimed playwrights such as Tennessee Williams, Eric Bentley, Paula Vogel, Lee Breuer, Adrian Mitchell and Mario Vargas Llosa have developed new works on the Hippodrome stage. (Information taken from website.)