A look inside SC Children’s Theatre’s new home

SCCT’s Theatre Arts & Education Center for Children

One year ago, South Carolina Children’s Theatre broke ground on its approximately 36,000-square-foot Theatre Arts and Education Center for Children. For the first time in its 32 years, the children’s theater will have a permanent home at 153 Augusta St. in Greenville.

Currently, shows and events take place at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre, the Kroc Center, or SCCT’s temporary headquarters at 1200 Pendleton St.

“The purpose of this project was to bring all the different aspects of the theater into one home. In the past, they’ve been scattered in different buildings,” says John Hansen, principal of Craig Gaulden Davis Architecture.

SCCT’s new building will house all operations of the theater except the scene shop. Hansen says it’s not uncommon for scene shops to be off-site. “This building is designed to house the scene shop in the future,” he says.

The main lobby will feature colorful accents to create a childlike atmosphere. Blocks of color will fill small slots on the big, curved lobby wall, and colored film will cover the glass. The wall will recognize by name those donors who have given $10,000 or more to SCCT.

SCCT exterior rendering. Provided by SCCT.

With two stages, numerous classrooms and dressing rooms, executive offices, concessions and catering spaces, as well as workshop and storage spaces, SCCT’s new building allows the theater to further its mission of producing high-quality theater, year-round education, and accessible outreach.

The MainStage, a proscenium-style stage, seats 300 with 100 balcony seats and 200 floor seats. The stage offers a unique, intimate experience for audiences.

MainStage rendering. Provided by SCCT.

“The most you are from the stage edge is 50 feet, which is phenomenal for a stage,” Hansen says. “That triangle effect is so important — that every audience member not only has a sightline to that stage, but they have a sightline to others. That’s where you connect.”

SCCT’s new Second Stage, a black-box theater, will offer a flexible space for shows, classes, and events. The stage features sprung flooring and movable chairs.

SCCT executive director Debbie Bell thanks the community for making this game-changing project possible. “The significance of having a single location for all of our programming cannot be overstated,” she says. “Our spatial limitations have required us to spread ourselves very thin for many years.”

The executive vice president of Triangle Construction, Bryant Nixon, says a highlight of the project is the local companies involved. “We have a vested interest in [SCCT] but also the community,” Nixon says. “Everybody that’s on this job lives here, so that’s important.”

Project partners

  • Craig Gaulden Davis Architecture
  • Productions Unlimited
  • Southern First Bank
  • Triangle Construction

Construction and funding

  • Officially broke ground one year ago on Sept. 11, 2018.
  • Construction is on schedule; the building will open in June 2020.
  • To date, SCCT has raised $12.87 million toward the $14.45 million project budget.

Building features

  • Over 36,000 square feet with 27,000 on ground floor and 9,000 on upper levels
  • MainStage with 300 seats including box seating; motorized rigging on stage
  • Flexible Second Stage with sprung flooring
  • Box office for all SCCT ticketing
  • Vibrant, colorful lobby
  • Concessions stand
  • Catering kitchen
  • Dressing rooms
  • Classrooms with rubber floors
  • Wheelchair-accessible theater spaces and tech booth
  • Laundry, sewing, and storage rooms
  • Costume storage on mezzanine level
  • Executive offices
  • Conference room
  • Outdoor green space for learning and activities
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