Dock Street Theatre
visitors Fresh off an extensive multiyear renovation project, the Dock Street Theatre (135 Church St., 843/720-3968), right down the street from the Huguenot Church, is where any thespian or lover of the stage must pay homage to this incarnation of the very first theater ever built in the Western Hemisphere.
In a distressingly familiar Charleston story, the original 1736 Dock Street Theatre burned down. A second theater opened on the same site in 1754. That building was in turn demolished for a grander edifice in 1773, which, you guessed it, also burned down.
The current Dock Street Theatre building dates from 1809, when the Planter’s Hotel was built near the site of the original Dock Street Theatre. To mark the theater’s centennial, the hotel added a stage facility in 1835, and it’s that building you see today.
For the theater’s second centennial, the Works Progress Administration completely refurbished Dock Street Theatre back into a working theater in time to distract Charlestonians from the pains of the Great Depression.
In addition to a very active and well-regarded annual season from the resident Charleston Stage Company, the 464-seat venue has hosted umpteen events of the Spoleto Festival over the past three decades and since its renovation continues to do so.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition