*The theater in 1935
The Old Theatre Building located on the park in Summerville, South Carolina, was built in 1935 by Carolina Films, Incorporated. The members of this Corporation were Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Legendre.
In its heyday, the Theatre featured the heads of big game lining the auditorium walls. These were collected by Mrs. Legendre on her numerous African safaris.
The Theatre continued to flourish until the late fifties when competition from drive-ins, wide-screens, shopping centers and television caused loss of patronage and eventual closing. After several efforts to reopen under different managements, the old building closed permanently as a movie house in the early sixties.
In August of 1976, a group of eight Summerville Theatre enthusiasts, who recognized the need for live theatre in the Summerville area, established The Flowertown Players, Incorporated.
In October of that year, they contacted the owner of the old Theatre building and presented their ambitions for the Summerville Community Theatre. The owner agreed to let them use the facility if it would incur no loss or liability to him. Then expanded to fifteen, the Flowertown Board of Directors set out with hammers, nails, tar bucket and perspiration to repair the roof, build a stage and clean the auditorium. They opened their first production in December 1976.
Until 1983, The Flowertown Players produced four to five shows a year with all proceeds being reinvested in maintenance of the Theatre building and purchase of theatrical equipment. Unfortunately, these efforts could not keep pace with the continuing deterioration of the old structure. It was finally considered unsafe for public assembly and the “Players” were forced to vacate in October 1983.
Undaunted by their eviction from the only home they knew, the “Players” continued the community theatre effort in the elementary school in Ladson, S.C. They then entered into negotiations through committee meetings and a public referendum with the Town of Summerville for the restoration of the old Theatre building and the return of community theatre to Summerville.
In January 1986, the Town of Summerville decided this effort could best be served by selling the old building at minimum hardship to the “Players”, who would encourage private Capital to restore the old building which is now listed as part of the Historic District in the National Register of Historic Districts.
To Be Continued.................
*Game heads collected by Mrs. Legendre that lined the walls of the auditorium