Career College Search

Online Schools

Campus Schools


Have you begun your college search? Find a college that's right for you. Acess over 8500 Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools in the US.

Begin Now!



State Symbols of the US
 State Symbols, Emblems, and Mascots

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

South Carolina State Rural Drama Center

Abbeville Opera House

Abbeville Opera House: South Carolina State Rural Drama Center

Abbeville, South Carolina

Adopted on May 29, 2001.

The Abbeville Opera House was designated as the official State Rural Drama Center by Act Number 48 of 2001. The Abbeville Opera House was built in 1908 and has been completely restored to its turn-of-the-century condition. The Opera House continues to be used for its original purpose of presenting live theater.

South Carolina State Rural Drama Center:
Abbeville Opera House

Abbeville Opera House: South Carolina State Rural Drama Center

At the turn of the twentieth century there were many "road companies" producing shows in New York City. Once the production was assembled, the show traveled throughout the country. One of the more popular tours went from New York to Richmond to Atlanta. For a number of years, Abbeville was an overnight stop for the entire touring company. Several members of the community decided that if this area had a facility, since the traveling companies were coming through here anyway, Abbeville should sponsor some of these productions.

On October 1, 1908, what was then the Abbeville District dedicated a new Court House and City Hall. The grand old theater now known as the Abbeville Opera House was a part of that splendid pair of buildings, "equal in beauty of architecture and modern conveniences of any in the state", according to regional newspaper accounts of the day. Some months later the great stage - 7500 square feet with its wonderful fly loft, catwalk and auditorium - was officially used for its intended purpose. The show was called "The Clansman" and it was a gala occasion that set the entire area buzzing with excitement. Between 1908 and 1913, Abbevillians enjoyed approximately 260 live performances on the magnificent Opera House stage.

From that time on, all the "greats and near-greats played on the magnificent Opera House Stage. The Ziegfield FOLLIES, George White's SCANDALS, Jimmy Durante, Sarah Bernhart, QUO VADIS, BEN HUR, and many other memorable productions and performers were presented as the big road shows moved down the eastern seaboard. Vaudeville was in its "heyday" as was the Abbeville Opera House.

As the road shows began to fade, the silent movies moved in. These early motion pictures carried full crews of musicians and sound effects men. They were impressive and still carried the awe of "live" show business. Then came the JAZZ SINGER and the "talkies" came to the Opera House. But the old luster was gone. Vaudeville was dying and the theater was changing. Concurrently, Abbeville's influence as a cultural center faded. The Opera House was converted into a movie theater and the films became more and more automated.

It remained a movie theater until the late fifties. With the decline of movies, even the once grand "movie house" degenerated, lost money and finally closed. The Abbeville Community Theater had long wanted a home of its own, so in 1968 mounted a community-wide campaign as the first step in restoring this grand old theater. Since then many people have taken part in the effort to keep the Opera House open and in good repair.

In 1978, with the increase of tourism in this region, the Opera House established a Summer Theater Season. A professional touring theater company established residence at the Opera House that year - the first since 1917. Since then the professional summer stock season has gained recognition throughout the southeast. The winter and summer seasons combined produce over 36 weeks of live theater a year. Once again, this "grand old lad" is being used for its original and intended purpose - to house live theater. The Opera House has been officially designated the "State Rural Drama Theatre of South Carolina."

The historic Abbeville Opera House has proudly completed its 105th Winter Theatre Season, the 36th Summer Theatre Season is now underway and our theatre is more popular now than ever before. We have twice received the South Carolina Governors Travel Award for Tourism and each season - as the Official State Theatre of South Carolina - we attract over 17,000 theatre patrons to our wonderful community. The Abbeville Opera House maintains an outstanding company of talented performers, technicians and staff -presenting two exciting and challenging theatre seasons totaling over 36 weekends of live theatre a year. The Abbeville Opera House is generally considered to be the catalyst for the revitalization of our historic community filled with antique, gift and curio shops, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts. We invite you to join us and welcome you to our turn-of-the-century theatre.

Michael Genevie
Executive Director

South Carolina Act 48

(A48, R93, H4018)

AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 1-1-709 SO AS TO DESIGNATE THE HISTORIC ABBEVILLE OPERA HOUSE IN ABBEVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA, AS THE OFFICIAL STATE RURAL DRAMA THEATER.

Whereas, the Abbeville Opera House, built in 1908, was the center of culture and entertainment in upstate South Carolina during the early part of the last century; and

Whereas, the Abbeville Opera House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and

Whereas, the restoration of the Opera House in 1968 was a major effort of the citizenry of Abbeville; and

Whereas, the restoration and the subsequent efforts of the Abbeville Opera House have resulted in once again returning Abbeville to its former status as a center for culture and entertainment; and

Whereas, the theater has been the stimulus for the complete restoration of the Town Square including the historic Belmont Inn, Trinity Episcopal Church, and the historic Burt Stark Mansion, site of the last meeting of the Confederate Council of War; and

Whereas, this activity has resulted in the economic revitalization of the Abbeville business and historic districts; and

Whereas, the Opera House Players have distinguished themselves as a performing group of great artistic merit; and

Whereas, this recognition has allowed them to establish the only privately operated summer repertory theater in South Carolina in addition to the regular season resulting in a year-round theater season operating forty weekends per year; and

Whereas, the Abbeville Opera House now attracts theatergoers from a wide regional area and many states; and

Whereas, this activity has stimulated another viable tourist industry for South Carolina of great economic benefit to an area of the State not heretofore considering tourism as a major industry; and

Whereas, the entire endeavor has been effective economically, artistically, and historically and has brought much fine publicity for South Carolina outside the borders of the State; and

Whereas, the Abbeville Opera House continues to reflect favorably upon the cultural and historic interest, the ingenuity, the energy, and the character of the people of South Carolina. Now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

Abbeville Opera House designated official state rural drama theater

SECTION 1. Chapter 1, Title 1 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 1-1-709. (A) The Abbeville Opera House is designated as the official state rural drama theater of the State. The designation of the Abbeville Opera House as the official state rural drama theater of the State is an honorary designation and does not bind the State in any way.

(B) The official designation does not create a new state agency or educational institution or qualify the Abbeville Opera House for state funds.

(C) The official designation does not confer any liability of the State.

(D) The official designation does not sanction by the State any activity, philosophy, or course of action conducted, published, or undertaken by the Abbeville Opera House."

Time effective

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

Ratified the 23rd day of May, 2001.

Approved the 29th day of May, 2001.

South Carolina Law

The law designating the Abbeville Opera House as the official South Carolina state rural drama theater. is found in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 1, Chapter 1, Article 9, Section 1-1-709.

Title 1 - Administration of the Government
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE 9. STATE EMBLEMS, PLEDGE TO STATE FLAG, OFFICIAL OBSERVANCES
SECTION 1-1-709

SECTION 1-1-709. Official State rural drama theater.

(A) The Abbeville Opera House is designated as the official state rural drama theater of the State. The designation of the Abbeville Opera House as the official state rural drama theater of the State is an honorary designation and does not bind the State in any way.

(B) The official designation does not create a new state agency or educational institution or qualify the Abbeville Opera House for state funds.

(C) The official designation does not confer any liability of the State.

(D) The official designation does not sanction by the State any activity, philosophy, or course of action conducted, published, or undertaken by the Abbeville Opera House.

HISTORY: 2001 Act No. 48, Section 1.

US State Symbols
State symbols represent things that are special to a particular state.
Hunting for a new job? Get advice or search over 1.6 million jobs on the largest job site
Colleges & Universities
Colleges & Universities: Search or Browse over 8500 Colleges, Universities, and Trade Schools in the US..

Find and Compare!

With access to over 8,500 schools to choose from!
Provides pricing transparency, scholarship information as well as numerous other key details on over 8,500 US colleges, universities and trade schools

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

Support for eReferenceDesk
More information at
Support eReferenceDesk

Please click the "DONATE" button and enter the amount you wish to contribute:
PayPal