S.C. Arts Awards: Town Theatre
2019 Recipient Feature Series
As the day nears for the 2019 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is taking 15 days to focus on this year’s recipients: nine receiving the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts and five receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, which are managed jointly by the South Carolina Arts Commission and McKissick Museum at UofSC. In between the two groups, we’ll run a special feature on S.C. Arts Awards sponsor Colonial Life.
Organization Category | Special Award
Celebrating its 100th season in 2018/2019, Town Theatre’s mission is to provide quality, live, family-oriented community theatre to the Midlands and beyond as well as to offer the foundation for those who wish to participate on stage or backstage. Town Theatre is pleased to be a theatre OF the community, BY the community and FOR the community.
The founders of the Town Theatre were not professional producers, directors or actors. They were people who dreamed of a new concept for Columbia: a theatre where families could not only watch plays, but also participate in them and learn from the experience. The commitment to presenting plays and musicals of wide general appeal has earned Town Theatre the largest regular audience of any cultural performing organization in the Midlands of South Carolina. In excess of 30,000 individuals come through Town’s doors annually as performers, patrons, students and volunteers. The theatre produces five main stage productions from September to May. Summer months bring large extravaganza productions which are geared towards young people. Town Theatre is home to a well-developed youth theatre program which has grown 900% in 18 years and includes weekday classes, a musical theatre troupe for teens, multiple full-scale productions and a healthy offering of summer classes. Town Theatre provides an exceptional opportunity to entry level actors by giving them the chance to work on stage with experienced veterans, many of whom are working professionals volunteering their time.
The first home for the theatre was the Sloan House at 1012 Sumter St. The current Town Theatre building was constructed in 1924. It is the oldest community theatre building in continuous use in the United States and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. On the Town stage Carl Sandburg recited poetry; Academy Award winners Delbert Mann directed,and Stanley Donen acted; Martha Graham danced; DuBose Heyward lectured; and famed artist Jasper Johns painted sets.
While Town Theatre’s primary goal is to produce quality shows with local talent as the players and technicians, the theatre prides itself in its commitment to the community. In the last 25 years, the theatre has combined its heartbeat – presenting shows – with unique ways in which other nonprofits could raise money and awareness of their own causes. By virtue of its 100-year legacy to the arts, Town Theatre has contributed significantly to the cultural life of the city of Columbia and state of South Carolina.
South Carolina Arts Awards Day is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with a reception that leads up to the awards ceremony at the UofSC Alumni Center (900 Senate St., Columbia). The event is free and open to the public. Following the ceremony, the South Carolina Arts Foundation honors the recipients and the arts community at the S.C. Arts Awards Luncheon and Art Sale. Tickets are $50. Please go here for more information and reservations.