In 1919, the Columbia Stage Society was formed "...for the purpose of encouraging and deveIoping musical, vocal, and dramatic talent in the city..." ( portion of a letter dated June 25, 1919 by John Neal, First Secretary of the Society). None of the creators of the Society were professional actors, directors, nor producers. Rather, they were just a group of plain folks who were interested in promoting the theater arts. Five years later (1924), the Town Theater was constructed under the auspices of the Society. This makes it the oldest community theater building in continuous use in America. Each year, open auditions are held for entry level participants to work with experienced theater arts veterans who volunteer their time in order to "...offer revivals of classic plays and Broadway style musicals." In addition to the Columbia Stage Society, the Town Theater plays host to the South Carolina Theatrical Association, the Youth Theater, and Summer Camps. For us, this is so reminiscent of the Cape Playhouse, a professional summer stock theater in Dennis, Massachusetts, where many of the best American actors (from Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, to Henry Fonda) began their careers.
Archival photo of the Youth Theater's production of "Willy Wonka's Kids."