Newberry Opera House
The Newberry Opera House, located in Newberry, South Carolina is located on I-26 about midway between Spartanburg and Columbia. In addition to popular artists, the theatre is the location for performances by the South Carolina Opera Company and the Asheville Lyric Opera.

It was designed in the French Gothic style as both a place of entertainment and as a seat of government for the city. The building, completed in 1881, had a tower 130 feet (40 m) high topped with a garfish weather vane, and the tower housed the town clock. The original design called for the first floor to house the fire engine room, council chambers, a clerk’s office, a police officer, and three jail cells. The second floor was a hall with 426 seats, 53 by 52 feet (16 m) in size, and connected to a ticket office, a "green room", a cloakroom, and three dressing rooms. Drop curtains and seven scenes or sets for the stage were available. One scene, a landscape, survived to the late 20th century. The Opera House quickly became known as "the entertainment center of the Midlands". On its stage appeared touring companies of New York plays, minstrel and variety shows, famed vocalists and lecturers, magicians and mind readers, novelty acts and boxing exhibitions. It was used not only by professional performers, but also by the community for meetings, dances, college commencement exercises, and musicals. Silent films were shown at the Opera House in the early 1900s, followed by early Edison “ Talkies" using a phonograph record for sound. Slowly, movies replaced the big stage shows, and in the 1920’s the Opera House was remodeled as a movie theatre, but, in 1952 with the showing of The Outlaw, the Opera House was closed as a movie theater. By 1959, there was talk about tearing it down, but a public outcry stopped the wrecking ball. The Newberry Historical Society in 1969 promoted the preservation of the Opera House, as did several other community groups. In 1970 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. After the City of Newberry vacated the building in 1992, the exterior restoration and window replacement were completed in 1994 and the interior renovation was begun in 1996. An additional 10,000 square feet (930 m 2) was added to the original building in order to create a full theatrical production facility a new loading dock, an elevator, a second stage for rehearsal, and dressing rooms. The total cost of the renovation was approximately $5.5 million. Architects for the renovation and addition were Craig Gaulden Davis of Greenville, South Carolina.

Building Activity

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