Dock Street Theatre, The
Charleston, SC 29401
The original Dock Street Theatre opened on February 12, 1736. It was built on the corner of Church Street and Dock Street (now known as Queen Street). The Historic Dock Street Theatre was the first building built exclusively to be used for theatrical performances. During the Great Fire of 1740 which destroyed many of the buildings in Charleston's French Quarter the Dock Street Theatre was probably destroyed also.
In 1809, the current building was built on the site as the Planter's Hotel which is the last surviving hotel from the antebellum period in Charleston. The hotel was used extensively by planters from the midlands of South Carolina, who traveled to Charleston during horse-racing season. It was noted for its wonderful food and drinks during this era, and the South's famous Planter's Punch may have originated here.
After the Civil War, the Planter's Hotel fell into disrepair and was slated for demolition. But in 1935 the City of Charleston after much urging from the Mayor and notable citizens the original building became a Depression Era Works Progress Administration Project. At that time, the present theatre was constructed within the shell of the Planter's Hotel. The hotel's grand foyer became the grand foyer of the theatre and the hotel's dining room now serves as the box office lobby. The beautiful woodwork and mantels of the second floor drawing room were salvaged from the Radcliffe-King Mansion (circa 1799) The Historic Dock Street Theatre's second grand opening took place on November 26, 1937.
The Historic Dock Street Theatre reopened for the third time on March 18, 2010 after a three-year, $19 million renovation by the City of Charleston. This extensive full-scale renovation brought the historic theatre into the 21st century with state-of-the-art lighting and sound, modern heating and air conditioning, and new restrooms and seating. In addition the theatre was made seismically secure and fully handicapped accessible. Extensive sound-proofing was added to ensure that outside noises no longer intruded on performances inside.