By Shelly Woodward
I have lived in Summerville, South Carolina for almost a decade, finding my home here in 2009.? During these years, it has been a goal for me each week to try a new local restaurant or business.? My son and I have explored numerous places.? The one surprise is when I was asked to tour the Flowertown Players Theatre, a historic foundation in Summerville whose doors I have never walked through.
I grew up with a love of musical theatre and Broadway.? Two of my favorite musicals are RENT and West Side Story. As I walked the hallowed hallways, rooms, corridors and stage, I was mesmerized visualizing images in my mind of what it was like in the beginning and knowing over 80 years of history lived and breathed under this roof.? Courtney Bates, Executive Director of Flowertown Players, was a wonderful tour guide providing warm and insight throughout my tour.
History of Flowertown Players:? Summerville’s Community Theatre
Back in 1935, a building stood across from Hutchison Square in Summerville, South Carolina.? It started off as a theatre, then a cinema and once again a theatre where it has been performing community performances since 1976.
Sidney Legendre owned multiple theaters in the South with his brother.? In 1935, the brothers purchased the building.? They were not interior decorators by any means, covering the walls with various hunting trophies from hunting expeditions.? They operated the theater until the 1950’s, converting it into a cinema and featuring showcase Hollywood stars including Grant, Hepburn, Tracy and Bogart.
Movies continued to be featured until 1976, when a theater group named the Flowertown Players asked for permission to use the stage inside where they produced several local community shows.
In 1986, after the cinema was closed for repairs, the Flowertown Players purchased the building.? The group finished the restorations on the building and it was named after founding member James F. Dean.
The mission for the Flowertown Players was to produce and show great community shows that helped to educate and promote performing arts.? This also provided projects for local creative people to explore and produce theatre shows utilizing local talent.
Since 1976, when the Flowertown Players purchased the theater, they have been the only running community theater in Dorchester County.? This past June, auditions were held for its 43rd season.
The theatre will be undergoing additional renovations this year with the addition of a waiting area for theatre goers to enjoy drinks and conversation prior to the performances. The theatre group also purchased a building behind the core performance space where smaller shows will be held and players can get ready for shows.
There is also an additional building, one which houses all the scenery and where sets are built.? You can even stumble on the very cute theatre mascot.
Flowertown Players has truly defined itself as the true ideology of community, passionate performing arts, volunteerism and creative collaboration.
How Can You Help or Attend as a Patron of the Arts?
They are always in need of volunteers to help build sets.? If you have a desire to learn the process and be a part of something special, give Courtney a call at 843.875.9251.
There are many great shows coming this season.? School of Rock will be on the stage October 7-8, 2018.? Crimes of the Heart is another great show coming in January 2019.? Titus Andronicus is a Shakespeare adaptation and not for the faint of heart.? It is based around the Roman Empire and will be violent and bloody as most Shakespearean tragedies are.
This is only a small list of upcoming shows.? Visit the Flowertown Players Official Website for complete listings.
I plan to attend several.? I look forward to seeing you at the theatre.