The South Carolina Children’s Theatre
By Margaret Butler
Take a stroll in downtown Greenville and you will see a vibrant array of new restaurants, businesses, and bustling construction sites. It’s clear that Greenville is growing and South Carolina Children’s Theatre is at the forefront of this growth. Led by the efforts of longtime Executive Director, Debbie Bell and Artistic Director, Matt Giles, SCCT’s focus on providing high-quality, multi-generational, and inclusive theatre makes it a company to watch.
SCCT has been impacting the lives of children since 1987. But most recently, the Theatre’s new multi-purpose venue, located at 153 Augusta Street, is making a huge mark on our community. With full-scale productions, professional theatre education and outreach, and thriving programs for schools, SCCT should be on your radar if it isn’t already.
South Carolina Children’s Theatre has an extensive selection of upcoming offerings, appropriate for all ages and interests. Now is the perfect time to get involved at SCCT.
2nd Stage Performance: Holiday Shenanigans with Jef!
Holiday Shenanigans with Jef! rings in the festive season with eye-catching spectacles and endless giggles. With impressive miming, juggling, clowning, and tricks, Jef’s show will put kids of all ages into the holiday spirit. Be ready for lots of audience participation and festive sing-a-longs!
Acclaimed variety artist, Jef Lambdin has performed at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC; Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston, SC; the Very Special Arts Festival in Pembroke, NC; The Ocrafolk Festival on Ocracoke Island, NC; and The Children’s Festival in Hampton, VA. Jef has been praised for his ability to “zero in on the child who needs a lift,” his “boundless talent” and his “creativity with his routines.” Education Director, Betsy Bisson, says “We are thrilled to welcome Jef to SCCT because his physical comedy is largely accessible to everyone, regardless of age or experience – it’s proof that you don’t have to grow up to be an adult.”
Holiday Shenanigans with Jef! has two public performances on December 1st and 2nd at 4:30 PM at SCCT’s Younts 2nd Stage, located at 153 Augusta Street. 2nd Stage Performances are an excellent way for young audiences to dip their toes into live theatre. Performed in a smaller, more intimate venue, children and families can enjoy high-quality performances at a lower price point of only $12 per ticket.
This lively and engaging introduction to performing, perfect for grades K3 and up, should not be missed!
Beyond productions, SCCT has a robust theatre education program. SCCT is currently enrolling for their Winter Mini-mester, a short 6-week session of specialty classes, beginning on January 9th. Traysie Amick, Principal Teaching Artist at SCCT sees the immense value of Theatre arts training for children. “It helps develop confidence and group-problem solving skills and provides a new context for students to explore their artistic side outside of family and school settings. Our Mini-mester is a great way to get a taste of the creative ways we approach learning without a major time commitment.”
SCCT is also the forerunner of Technical Education classes in the Upstate. Technical Theatre classes are led by industry professionals who have taught and worked everywhere from Flat Rock Playhouse to Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. “Our new facility provides an opportunity for students to get involved behind the scenes. Not all students like to be in front of the spotlight, but may find a creative outlet with our Technical Theatre offerings” says Betsy Bisson, SCCT’s Education Director.
To learn more and register for Winter Mini-mester classes, as well as Winter Break Workshops, visit their website.
Of all upcoming SCCT programming, perhaps most anticipated is the Tony Award-winning Musical, Annie. Set to take place on SCCT’s stage from Nov. 26th-Dec. 19th, this classic Depression-era story of a young, spunky, and optimistic orphan has stolen the hearts of audiences across America since its Broadway debut in 1977.
Producing Annie is “deeply special” for SCCT, who had to postpone opening their new facility due to COVID. Artistic Director Matt Giles says, “Annie is the story of finding home and finding where you belong.” And what better story to celebrate SCCT’s own homecoming?
Annie, co-directed by Matt Giles and Betsy Bisson, showcases the skills of nationally acclaimed radio talk-show host, Mike Gallagher (Daddy Warbucks), SCCT alum and previous Annie in the company’s 2008 production, Kenzie Wynne (Grace Farrell), and current SCCT talent, Ayden Woo (Annie.) The cast of 29 plus one dog, will knock your socks off and get you humming along to the memorable tunes of “Maybe,” “Hard-Knock Life,” “Tomorrow,” “N.Y.C.” and many more.
Tickets for Annie are $22 and the show runs for 13 performances, leading up to Christmas. Make sure to reserve your seats soon, as tickets are selling fast!
It Doesn’t Stop There!
SCCT is abuzz with activity and continues on after the new year with productions of Robin Hood, Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in The Hat, and The Sound of Music, plus a plethora of exciting classes, workshops, and 2nd Stage Performances. There is always something going on at SCCT so make sure you tune into their website and social media outlets for updates or subscribe to their eblasts.
South Carolina Children’s Theatre 153 Augusta Street
Website: https://scchildrenstheatre.org/ Instagram: @sc_childrenstheatre
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