Greenwood Community Theatre (GCT) officially began in 1954 and has a long history of outstanding programming and cultural offerings. Originally named the Greenwood Little Theater, the first production was Dear Ruth. Through those many years one aspect has remained intact, that "GCT is theatre done For the Community, By the Community."
GCT’s present home at 110 Main Street was built in 1934 as the State Theatre. In our lobby, we have an original photograph of the original building. The floor in the lobby is the original terrazzo tile. On close inspection you can see the indentions in the floor where the original doors were in place. You will also notice an outline in front of the box office jutted out. Patrons paid for their ticket on the outside of The Theatre before entering.
When The Theatre was built, it did not have a concession stand; this was added later and in the fifties and sixties became a big money maker for The Theatre. In the sixties, The Theatre was managed by Mr. Smart who introduced "chilly dillies" to Greenwood. This treat was no more than large dill pickles stuck in ice to make them ice cold and crunchy. Many Greenwoodians while reminiscing about the "chilly dillies" speak fondly of exchanging bottle tops for tickets to see the movies in their youth.
Through the years The Theatre went through several name changes including The Jerry Lewis Theatre! In 1978, GCT (then called the Greenwood Little Theatre….the spelling of Theater was officially changed to Theatre in 1962) was housed at the Village Theatre on Kirksey Drive and the Board was looking for a new home. The old State Theatre building had fallen into disrepair and was even showing XXX rated movies! The GCT Board of Directors and Artistic Director Donald McKellar convinced the owners to sell the building and the rest is history. GCT has been housed at 110 Main Street ever since.
For years GCT struggled to have the financial resources to truly renovate 110 Main Street into a state of the art performance theatre. The Emerald Triangle Capital Campaign led by the Greenwood Arts Council from 2004-2005, allowed GCT to raise the funds to undergo a huge 1.3 million dollar renovation. GCT now enjoys state of the art technical equipment. The Theatre reopened after going dark for nearly a year and a half in February 2007 with the production of Anything Goes.
Our theatre currently holds 299 people. Seating for wheelchairs is provided in a special theatre box area with its own private entrance. Wheelchairs do not have to maneuver the steep ramp and the visibility and audio is excellent in that special area. New sound and lighting equipment give our designers great tools with which to work to design beautiful sets, lights and audio designs. Our balcony has been transformed into our tech booth in order to comply with fire and safety regulations. The third floor projection room was left intact and is used for minimal storage. GCT is in need of finding adequate storage space and scene shop space.
The beautifully renovated seats on the sides of The Theatre are the original seats. The center rocking chair seats were purchased from another theatre many years ago. Both sets of seats have been renovated, thanks to GCT’s special Adopt a Seat Fund. There are only a few chairs still available to adopt. The adoptee can name themselves or in honor of, in memory of, or simply display the name of their spouse, their family, their child on a beautifully mounted arm plaque.
Our proscenium is 30 feet wide with an extended apron making for an average playing space of 30’ x 30’. The orchestra pit is housed under the apron. All of the rigging, drapes, and electrics are new and completely up to code. In the renovations, life safety issues were first addressed and a complete sprinkler system and security system was installed. In case of major fire, our "deluge system" will extinguish just about any stage house fire issue. Additionally, all new electrical wiring has been upgraded. The backstage area is small, but the renovation has allowed us to make better choices regarding space usage and scenic design. Today you see beautiful towering designs that before now were very difficult to create.
Probably one of the most exciting additions during the renovation is the catwalk that is located in the ceiling above the audience. This catwalk gives us access to fantastic lighting positions and spotlight operator positions for all our shows. With a completely new ClearCom system, PA system and Intercom system, communication between the tech booth, the back stage, the dressing rooms and the front of house all allow for much smoother production operations. Here at GCT we say the communication is the key to everything!!!
Our dressing rooms, orchestra pit and shop areas are very inadequate for GCT, BUT the renovation has made them so comfortable and workable. As the organization grows and flourishes, we will need to secure more space for many things. For now, the renovated dressing areas are fantastic as are the new backstage bathrooms. Set construction still has to take place on the stage which is a challenge to an organization that produces and presents as much work as we do at GCT. The search for adequate and affordable space is never-ending. Prop storage and some costume storage is available and in use in the basement of the Federal Building, but we need more. Recently we had a massive rummage sale to help raise funds and to help us get rid of at least ¾ of our old stored materials. They were in terrible disrepair or they were just too cumbersome to continue to store.
Theatre requires so much work on everyone’s part. What is the carrot? To know you have been a part of making the magic happen, of sparking someone’s imagination and curiosity and creativity. GCT believes in the three "c’s" of theatre…Collaboration, Communication and Creativity. We develop teams to learn to better communicate ideas, thoughts and dreams in an imaginative and creative way to an audience. What a fantastic way to spend your time!