downtown swainsboro

downtown swainsboroThe Dixie Theatre was enjoyed by all until, sadly, its doors were closed in the late 1960s. The building was then used as a retail space and for a short time sat vacant until 2014. At that time, proprietor W.M. Karrh’s grandsons, Bill and Jim, donated the former theatre to the City of Swainsboro for redevelopment into a community arts center. After accepting the property, the City of Swainsboro initiated the project by developing a renovation plan and physically securing the property through the installation of a new roof and other support structures. It also completed a phase one sensitive demolition which removed modifications to the building, revealing the skeleton of the original Dixie Theatre as many remember.

The Barbara & Tobe Karrh Community Arts Center is a 16,000+ square foot home for arts and culture in Emanuel County, anchored by the Historic Dixie Theatre, a cultural and architectural landmark in downtown Swainsboro.


A newly restored Historic Dixie Theatre that will offer a state-of-the-art movie going experience. The theatre will have the comforts of modern cinemas in a unique, historic building. In addition to digital projection equipment, the theatre will also feature a stage and equipment needed for live performances such as concerts, seminars, small plays, recitals, and more.

  • Two dressing rooms
  • A new plaza in front of the theatre to provide space for gathering before or after an event
  • Offices for the Emanuel Arts Council
  • Art gallery
  • Community meeting and educational space
  • Upper-story loft apartments

Additional plans include the addition of equipment to facilitate and stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation, such as an audio and video lab with recording and editing facilities and a pottery studio.

Synopsis of Scenes


Fox Theatre Institute Grant

THE FOX THEATRE INSTITUTE NAMES THE HISTORIC DIXIE THEATRE RECIPIENT OF 2017-18 PRESERVATION GRANT  Historic Preservation Fund to Provide $61,576 to Support Repairs (Swainsboro, December 7, 2017) – The Fox Theatre Institute (FTI), a division of Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, Inc., has awarded Swainsboro’s Historic Dixie Theatre a Historic Preservation Grant for $61,576 to support the […]

Act II : Lights, Camera, Action!


Act I : The Unveiling

The Historic Dixie Theatre’s new name and logo were unveiled during Act I in February 2017 as many members of the community gathered around to hear the exciting news and to learn how they could become part of this magnificent project!