The mission of the Footlight Players is to provide quality, affordable, and barrier-free community theatre that’s of a professional caliber for the citizens of Charleston and the tri-counties, and to provide an organization in which local volunteers can participate in all aspects of theatrical productions.
The Footlight Players were ceremoniously launched in 1931 with a series of one-act plays directed by Lieutenant Commander Charles Russell Price at the Charleston Navy yard. The series was such a success and drew such a following that The Footlight Players formally organized and incorporated in the fall of 1932.
In 1934, the Players purchased an old cotton warehouse (circa 1850) with the idea of eventually converting it into a finished playhouse. Yet until 1938, all productions were presented in a variety of spaces around the Holy City—the Academy of Music (corner of King and Market Streets), the Victory Theatre (85 Society Street), Hampton Park, The Citadel, and The Dock Street Theatre. During this time, the cotton warehouse was used for storage and scenery construction. In 1941 a shortage of performance space caused the Players to again turn to their warehouse.
Just a roof and four walls, sixty dedicated volunteers remodeled and renovated the old warehouse and converted it into an informal playhouse and workshop.
For the following 45 years, the Footlight Players continued to annually produce a number of regular season productions, both at The Dock Street Theatre and at Footlight.
In 1986, after another dramatic renovation, The Footlight Players moved into the old cotton warehouse at 20 Queen Street, where they have remained ever since.
What began as a small group has become for Charleston a theatrical tradition, built and strengthened over many years by hundreds of willing hands, the priceless gifts of time and toil, and by faith, enthusiasm and talent.