Greenwood Community Theatre: Drama in the “Emerald City”

While the origin of the moniker is unknown, the city of Greenwood, SC is often called “the Emerald City.” As a result of the city’s nickname, a nine-acre triangle in the downtown business district is now officially called The Emerald Triangle. Community leaders designated this area, which comprises Greenwood Federal Building, the Greenwood Museum, and the Greenwood Museum, as part of the South Carolina City Center Master Plan in 2004. Constructed in the early 1900s, the three side-by-side buildings in the downtown area display the historic architecture and personality of the city. Since the implementation of the South Carolina City Center Master Plan, the Greenwood Community Theatre (GCT) has helped stimulate a renewed sense of energy and hometown pride. 

The current home of GCT is a 25,000 square-foot, Georgian-style building built in 1934. A movie theater known as the State Theatre was originally housed in the building. However, as the State Theatre began to struggle financially, owners looked to sell the building. The Greenwood Little Theatre, then located on Kirksey Drive, was looking for a new home. After moving to 110 Main Street in 1954, the playhouse, which went through numerous name changes before adopting its current name, offered its first production to the public in1954 with a play called Dear Ruth. After this, it began producing six shows per year. A concessions stand was added in the 1960s, and it proved to be a much-needed income generator. A popular treat that residents who attended shows in these early days often reminisce about was the “Chilly Dilly”—a crisp dill pickled served over ice.

After the Arts Center and Federal Building opened in 2006, GCT received a $1.3 million dollar makeover funded by Emerald Triangle Capital Campaign Fund, City of Greenwood, and the SC Arts Commission. In February of 2007, the theater reopened with the production Anything Goes. The renovations have made it possible for the 299-seat facility to expand its offerings to include a forum for seminars, travel shows, and a monthly film series.

A highlight of the new events offered by the theatre is a Children’s Theatre Program that teaches children how to produce, direct, design, and perform stage plays. The program fosters a sense of entrepreneurial thinking in its participants and works to help them develop creativity and problem-solving skills. Shows include such classics as James and the Giant Peach, Annie, and The Magic Tree House.

With the many stage plays, musical concerts, classic and Indie films, and other programs that it offers, GCT steadfastly adheres to its mission to “enrich [the Greenwood] community by creating and fostering professionalism and diversity in all its theatrical endeavors and experiences.” Click here to view upcoming events at Greenville Community Theatre. Information on how to audition, volunteer, or make a donation is also available at this site. To contact the Box Office, please call 864-229-5704 between hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays.

Photos courtesy of the Greenwood Community Theatre.

Angela Rogers is a teacher, bibliophile, and freelance writer who is a lifelong resident of the Upstate.