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Greenville Little Theatre Strives to Educate the Community Through Theatrical Experiences

By Elisha Neubauer

In 1926, seventy-five men and women had an idea, a goal, in which they worked long and hard to achieve.

These devoted Greenville citizens wanted to bring high-quality theatre to the area, instead of having to travel to larger cities to experience the joy of live performance. Just a few short months after announcing their plan to the community, the moderately-sized group of individuals presented their first set of performances as the Greenville Artists' Guild in the Ramsey Fine Arts Auditorium located on the Greenwill Woman's College campus.

Two short years later, the group renamed their concept as the Community Little Theatre, before changing it one last time to its current name, Greenville Little Theatre. For the following couple of years the company presented one to four shows annually in varied locations. They utilized spaces such as the Poinsett Hotel or the Christ Church for rehearsal spaces and made use of any community building boasting a stage, such as the Greenville High School and the Carolina Movie Theatre, but most frequently on the stage of the Woman's College.

The end of World War II saw a renewed fervor for the theatre. Gaining a steady increase in popularity and attendance, the theatre knew it was time to make a move. Finding a local Air Force Glider base which had been vacant after the war, the theatre group began fundraising efforts?which were of great success. The company managed to raise over $25,000 for renovations through the generosity of the Greenville community. In addition to financial donations, the community volunteered countless hours to help with the process.

"As the Upstate's oldest and largest locally-producing theatre, GLT strives to cultivate, inspire, entertain, and educate our community through theatrical experiences of the highest caliber," states Emily Grove, marketing assistant for GLT. "We love that we get to continue this rich tradition of sharing stories that are important to our community."

Today, the theatre company gives their all to the community, to help repay it for its consistent dedication and loyalty. It partners with local groups like Miracle Hill and Toys for Tots, hosting shoe and toy drives to support their missions and bring the community together. The theater company also hosts an alternative series, entitled Studio 444, which performs edgier, more modernized shows.

"These plays are geared to theater lovers who are looking for the same quality of our mainstage shows but with the contemporary story of modern playwrights," explains Grove. "We usually have a smaller set, a shorter run, and smaller casts, but the high quality you would expect from a GLT mainstage production."

For the 2017 season, the Greenville Little Theatre will present a smattering of options for theatre-lovers in the area. The Studio 444 production True West from January 26-29, the fresh-from-broadway Peter and the Starcatcher from February 24-March 12, the hilarious political comedy Lying in State from April 7-23, and the hit Broadway musical Hairspray from June 2-25.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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