The building that you see today is a replica of America's first theatre building built in 1735. The theatre was christened with a performance of The Recruiting Officer in 1736. Sadly, in 1740, most of the historic French Quarter was destroyed in a great fire. Dock Street Theatre was most likely lost in that fire.
In 1809, a new building was built on this site to house the new Planter's Hotel. In its heyday, before the Civil War, the hotel was a mecca for the wealthy, elite, and powerful who visited Charleston. It was famous for its food, and Planter's Punch was invented here. One of the famous guests was Junius Booth, a travelling actor and father to the notorious John Wilkes Booth. After the Civil War, the hotel fell into ruin.
In 1935, the city made a move to restore the original theatre, and they rebuilt the building using plaster and woodwork for historic buildings that were being torn down. In 1937, the theatre reopened with a revival of The Recruiting Officer.
Make sure that you go into the theatre. The people who work there are very nice about letting people who wander in off the street look around. The interior is beautiful, and my picture is too dark to do it justice. Make sure you look at the drawing room above the stairs to see the salvaged architectural features of the building. On the first level to your left there is a small gallery. When I was there, it had very beautiful hand-blown glass. Make sure to peek in and check it out.
Today, Dock Street is home to the Charleston Stage Company. Seeing a performance here is a really good nighttime activity. If you can't get a dinner reservation until late, think about seeing a show first. There performances are always excellent, and you will feel very pampered sitting in the beautiful, historic theatre. You can check out their season at the Charleston Stage Website. Tickets run about $20 to $35 depending on the show.
Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
by Taylor Shelby
Charleston, South Carolina
March 10, 2005
From journal A Walking Tour of Historic Church St.
North Providence, Rhode Island
July 23, 2004
It was excellent. There was very little talking in the play, however the comedy was conveyed through dance and motion. Barishnakov did an excellent job throughout.
He was graceful, hilarious, and one could tell by his face that he thoroughly enjoyed what he was doing.
Although the plays and dance companies change each year at the Festival, we have yet to be disappointed by anything we attended.
From journal It's Festival Time Again!
December 14, 2001
From journal Charleston SC
June 21, 2000
From journal A Couple in Charleston