downtowngreenvillegirl











{March 27, 2012}   All The World’s A Stage…

As Southerners, we do tend to have a flair for the dramatic. Many acclaimed actors and actresses, playwrights and other creatives hail from the South. Not one to be left out, Downtown Greenville boasts a wonderful theatre community that strives to keep this tradition alive.

Perhaps the best theatre to start with is the Greenville Little Theatre  (www.greenvillelittletheatre.org). As the oldest venue for live theatre in Greenville, GLT has been the “jumping off point” for many successful thespians, including Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward. This cornerstone of the creative community is well-known for its performances of classic works by well-known playwrights, including Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park”, opening April 6th. Stick around after the performance for the budget friendly “Studio 444”. For only $8, theatre goers are treated to short, PG-13 plays performed by their resident improv troupe, The Laughing Stock.  To encourage the acting bug in others, the theatre also offers acting classes every summer for adults, teens and children. Greenville Little Theatre is located at Heritage Green, near the Art Museum.

Young thespians can earn their acting chops at The South Carolina Children’s Theatre (http://scchildrenstheatre.org). With the goal of bringing wonder and excitement to the stage through family-friendly entertainment, SCCT offers an array of shows for every age and attention span. Five main presentations take place at The Peace Center, including the upcoming “Go Dog, Go, which premieres April 27th. For more of a “hands-on” approach to theatre, SCCT also performs small, less formal plays at their Augusta Street location as part of their “2nd Stage” program, with the delightful piece, “The Arkansas Bear” running until April 1st. Not to be forgotten, tiny tots also have the chance to experience the theatre with “Tell Me A Story” – short 30 minute performances every Monday and Tuesday, which based on popular books. For those wishing to be onstage, SCCT launched its Theatre Arts Conservatory, a year-round program for students ages 3 – 18. The format includes Exploration, Process, Production, and Intensive Training Classes and Workshops and offers unique games, activities and challenges for the theatre student.

A favorite of West End theatre lovers is The Warehouse Theatre (www.warehousetheatre.com).  Located in a converted warehouse (hence the name), this fine mix of emerging talents, local professionals and artists from around the country have been performing “intense, intimate and unexpected” live productions for over 3 decades. From re-envisioned classics to some of the most cutting edge new works, WHT boasts the sort of theatre you can’t see anywhere else inSouth Carolina’s Upstate region. As an eclectic “side dish” to their main performances, The Warehouse also offers “Improv with The Distracted Globe” for only $5. In a summer event that has helped make Greenville a thespian vacation destination, WHT also plays host to The Upstate Shakespeare Festival. This free, annual event takes place in Falls Parks throughout the summer months and presents the magic of Shakespeare in a charming, outdoor setting.

Located on River Street, another West End favorite is Centre Stage (http://centrestage.org), whose mission since 1983 has been to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. Offering not only a season filled with music, comedy and drama (“Hairspray” opens April 12th), Centre Stage also hosts art exhibitions (they have an in-house art gallery), chamber music concerts with The Greenville Symphony, independent film screenings, guest lectures, galas and other special events. Aficionados of comic opera will enjoy Greenville Light Opera Works – which is definitely not your daddy’s opera. Each Fall, Centre Stage presents its New Play Festival, a free and open to the public week-long event which givesGreenville audiences the opportunity to hear five exciting new plays by up-and-coming playwrights. And this April, Centre Stage’s state-of-the-art performance facility will play host to Comedy Centre, a stand-up comedy competition sure to banish any lingering winter blues!

 If your funny bone is still in need of tickling – and you like a little dinner with your theatre – look no further than Café and Then Some (www.cafeats.com). Bubba and Norma Jean (aka proprietors, Bill and Susan Smith) invite you to join them for a little folksy satire, served up with a side of home-grown humor and some country vittles! With original shows performed nightly Wednesday through Saturday, CATS offers entertainment unlike anything you’ll find in Greenville…or anywhere else for that matter!  Come on by their location, just off Main Street, ‘round the corner from that fancy ‘ol Blu Martini, to set a spell…and catch their current production of “Life After Oprah”.  You’ll be glad you did!

If you want to be more than just a spectator, Downtown Greenville’s theatres also offer the chance to audition for upcoming performances and to volunteer to help out with productions. Just check their websites for more information. You never  know, we might have another future Oscar-winner out there waiting to be discovered!

Who says you have to go all the way to NYC to see good theatre, when we have it right here in the DTGVL! Make plans to sample a little local creative talent next time you are Downtown. You might just like the drama of it all!

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