A Guide to the Dock Street Theatre

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    A guide to the Dock Street Theatre and a brief resume of the theatres in Charleston, S.C. from 1730. For key to numbers on theatre map see page 14. Actors illustrated: Monimia 1735-6; Mrs. Whitlock 1797-1805; Matthew Sully 1804-12; Charles Macready 1841, 1849; Henry Placide 1812-47; Alexander Placide 1794-1812; Edmund Kean 1824-6; J.B Booth 1821-52; Julia Dean 1852-5; Joseph Jefferson 1870-90's; Edwin Booth 1850-90's; Otis Skinner 1900's. Theatres illustrated: Academy of Music 1869-1936; Footlight Workshop 1941-; Dock Street Theatre orig, 1737, reconstr. 1937; Meeting St. Theatre 1837-1861
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    BALCONY FLOOR PLAN MAIN FLOOR PLAN
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    A GUIDE to the ?DOCK STREET THEATRE and Brief Resume of the Theatres in Charleston, S. C. from 1730 Written and illustrated with photographs by Emmett Robinson, M. F. A. CONTENTS The Site of the Dock St. Theatre 4 A Guide to the Dock St. building 5 Historic Theatrical Personalities 13 Resume of Charleston Theatrical Events 14 Guide to Theatre Map (on Cover) 14 Copyright 1963 by The Footlight Players, Inc. Charleston, S. C.
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    ROLL OF THE IRISH VOLUNTEERS, MUSTERED INTO CONFEDERATE SERVICE, AS COMPANY "C," CHARLESTON BATALLION. W. PL Ryan, Captain - Killed July 18, 1863, at Battery Wagner. James M. Mulvaney, First Lieutenant. A. A. Allemong, Second Lieutenant - Killed at Petersburg, Va. John Burke, Third Lieutenant. F. L. O'Neil, First Sergeant. P. R. Hogan, Second Sergeant. Edward Lee, Third Sergeant. Lawrence Madigan, Fourth Sergeant. Michael Moran, Fifth Sergeant. John Conroy, First Corporal. Patrick Culleton, Second Corporal. Thomas L. Hogan, Third Corporal - Killed at Petersburg, Va. Wm. Harrington, Fourth Corporal - Killed at Petersburg, Va, Daniel Ward, Fifth Corporal. Brooks, Robert Bresnan, T., Killed at Legare's Point, S.C. Carroll, James, Killed at Petersburg, Va. Carroll, Patrick Conley, Thomas Carey, Thomas Cavanah, Thomas Gallagher, Jas., Killed at Battery Wagner, S.C. Devine, John Deary, Thos., Killed at Drury's Bluff,Va. Doherty, Luke Dinan,Wm., Killed at Drury's Bluff, Va, Lee, Patrick Lanigan, Edward Lipscombe, W. L. Murphy, J. P. McManigle, John Martin, William Martin, Thomas May, John Manion, Patrick Manion, Thomas McMahon, John Maher, John, Killed at Petersburg, Va. McDonald, T., Killed at Petersburg, Va. Nunan, John O'Neil, Henry Preston, John F. Dunn, John Dodds, George Driscoll, Timothy Edmunds, John Egan, Thomas Ellis, Daniel Flanigan, E., Killed at Petersburg, Va. Flynn, James Fitzgerald, Stephen Fowler, Thos., Killed at Petersburg, Va. Gralton, Daniel Goodrich, Henry Goodrich, Thomas Hogan, P., Killed at Petersburg, Va. Hughes, Thomas Hartnett, Michael Howard, D., Killed at Secessionville, S. C. Hayden, Thomas Holcombe Jager, J. Kenney, Peter, Killed in North Carolina. Phillips, Ryan, Edward, Killed at Drury's Bluff, Va. Shelton, William Reynolds, Samuel Sullivan, Martin Thompson, Henry Toole, Michael, Killed at Battery Wagner, S. C. Todd, Jas. R., Killed at Petersburg, Va. Warren, Chris., Killed at Petersburg, Va. Warren, John, Killed at Petersburg, Va. Wise, Thomas Wise, Edward Whelan, E., Killed at Drury's Bluff, Va. Whelan, Rody, Killed at Drury's Bluff, Va. Walsh, James Wiley, Henry, Killed at Petersburg, Va. The names marked "Killed " in the above Roll, are but those names now known; many who were reported "Missing," and many supposed to have been captured at the Weldon Road and Fort Fisher, have never since been heard of, being either killed or having died in prison. The Roll is not complete, being only from memory.
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    DRAWING ROOM: Previously the old ballroom of the hotel, the present? Drawing Room is magnificently proportioned and beautifully designed. Fur?nished with late 18th century furniture, it is an attractive place for between-the-?acts conversation and receptions. DRAWINGS OF DRAWING ROOM
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    TAP ROOM: To the south of the ?Drawing Room is the Tap Room, which is? modeled on similar rooms of the Georgian ?period. A unique feature is the portcullis,? balanced on counter-weights, which when ?closed locks off the bar and shelves behind.?The arched apron over the shelves corre?sponds to a similar apron in one of the? oldest drug stores in Charleston and is now? preserved in the Charleston Museum. On? the walls are oil paintings based on works ?of Hogarth, and painted by William Halsey, who also executed the lunettes in the ?lobby and the fountain mural. CORRIDORS: Walking these upper corridors, there are those who claim to? hearing unearthly cries in the night, recalling an episode which took place here in? 1838. Junius Brutus Booth, the actor (and father of Edwin Booth) was scheduled? to appear on March 13th at the Charleston Theatre (on Meeting St.), according to ?a contemporary newspaper account. After leaving the theatre on March 12th, in? company with Mr. Flynn (his manager), "they returned to their lodgings, at? the Planter's Hotel, both gentlemen occupying the same room." Between one? and two o'clock in the morning, Mr. Flynn was aroused "by receiving a tremendous blow over the right eye. He sprang up in bed, and discovered Mr. Booth in the act of aim?ing another blow at him with one? of the cast iron fire dogs, taken ?from the fireplace, along side the ?bed, and with which the first? wound had been inflicted. Mr.? Flynn endeavored to avoid the ?blow, but received it over the left ?eye, with such force as broke the ?fire dog, when he leaped from the? bed, and escaped from the room, ?Mr. Booth in close pursuit, and ?endeavoring to inflict other ?wounds. They finally grappled? and fell, the herculean strength of ?Mr. Booth, while laboring under ?the excitement of derangement, giv?ing him the advantage. The calls ?of Mr. Flynn finally brought assistance and . . . Mr. Booth is now? placed under restraint, and will doubtless be so kept until he recovers from his ?aberration of mind." On March 20th, he appeared at the theatre as Richard III. 7
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    The lobby of the hotel serves ?as the entrance to the theatre,? which occupies what was the courtyard of the hotel, and is the? site of the original Dock Street? Theatre. PATIO: A small patio opens off from ?the auditorium, and features a pool, with? a decorative mural of the proscenium ornament from the old Academy of Music? (1869-1936), the design incorporating ?the seal of the State of South Carolina,? surrounded by musical and theatrical em?blems and devices. (The original ornament, carved in wood, circa 1867, now ?hangs in the Footlight Players Workshop,? 20 Queen St.) WOOD and PLASTER - WORK: The? woodwork, plaster - work and doors in the? Drawing Room, Lobby, and Green Room came ?from the old Ratcliffe house (built c. 1802). ?When this stately mansion was razed, these ?items were saved for posterity and incorporated ?into this reconstruction, being superb examples? of the Adam style which was introduced to? Charleston by Gabriel Manigault after 1790. ?Much of the local popularity for this form of ?ornament was probably due to the presence in? Charleston, in 1802-3, of an able stucco work?er, William Purviss. The plaster cornices ?throught this building were recast from molds ?taken of Purviss originals, as well as the strik?ing chandelier and ceiling medallions throughout. The inlaid mahogany doors are superb? examples of craftsmanship. 8
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    AUDITORIUM: The reconstruction of the Dock Street Theatre auditorium? has recaptured the original Georgian spirit by all such means as architectural taste? and research could suggest. Seating about 475 persons, there is the pit with bench?back seats, and a paraquet of 13 boxes. The walls are of natural local black ?cypress, rubbed soft and mellow; the wood was treated with an ancient formula? consisting of iron nails dissolved in vinegar, and then waxed, which brings out the? rich grain of this most beautiful of woods. The lighting fixtures carry out the feel?ing of the original candle brackets, and the cove ceiling is indicative of the period.? The traditional 18th century apron stage has been preserved in shape, but modified ?to modern use in the form of a commodious orchestra pit. On either side of the ?stage opening are the expected proscenium doors, opening on to the apron from ?before the curtain, an identifying characteristic of Georgian theatres. Over the proscenium hangs a duplicate of the Royal Arms of England, the original of which is ?still in Goose Creek Church (built 1711). STAGE: The stage, with a proscenium opening of 34 feet, is somewhat larger than the original must have been, in order to adapt the 18th century style ?to modern functions. With a grid and counterweight fly system, it is capable of? handling authentic period revivals, or the most recent of productional techniques;? from wing and backdrop styles to revolving platforms and plastic staging.
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    THE RECRUITING OFFICER: "On Thursday, February 12, will be opened? the New Theatre in Dock Street in which will be perform'd 'The Recruiting Of?ficer' . . ." So read the notice in the South Carolina Gazette of 1736. For this? occasion Dr. Thomas Dale, M. D. of Charleston, composed a new Epilogue which? was appended to George Farquhar's comedy, and was spoken by the actress play?ing Silvia, who the year before had made a great local success in the part of ?Monimia in a Court Room performance of Otway's "The Orphan." Since those ?were the days of feminine anonymity in matters theatrical, this actress identified ?herself as Monimia for subsequent appearances, giving us the only "name" from ?that original cast. Five performances in all, of this play were presented in the original Dock? Street building; the last, on May 21, 1737, closing any record of plays produced? here. The next time "The Recruiting Officer" appeared on the site was in 1937,? when the Footlight Players' production opened the reconstructed theater; and this? same group revived this classic comedy again in October 1952. CREDITS: The principal architect for? this reconstruction was Douglas Ellington, ?in association with the architectural firm of? Simons and Lapham. The interest of Mr.? Harry L. Hopkins, and the guidance of Bur?net R. Maybank (then Mayor of Charles?ton and later Senator from South Carolina)? are responsible for the recreation of this his?toric home of drama, and the preservation of? such architectural magnificence. 10
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    GREEN ROOM: Opening off the east end of the stage is the Green Room,? a traditional retiring place for the actors. Designed to serve a number of purposes, it is used for recitals, lectures, rehearsals, etc. Architecturally, it is a mas?terpiece. Backing the small stage at one end, is a beautifully proportioned Palla?dian doorway with paired windows, which with the Adam mantel, windows, pilas?ters, and ceiling medallions came from the old Ratcliffe home. Other parts of the first and second floors are utilized for offices, classrooms ?and dressing rooms. The third floor is given over to private apartments. DRAWINGS OF GREEN ROOM 11
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    CROSS - SECTION ?LOOKING- TOWARD- STAGE LONGITUDINAL - SECTION? LOOKING-TOWARD- ENTRANCE CROSS -SECTION ?LOOKING -TOWARD - REAR DRAWINGS OF AUDITORIUM ?12
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    1739 MAP OF CHARLESTON (L indicates the original Dock Street Theatre)
Title:
A Guide to the Dock Street Theatre
Creator:
Robinson
Description:
This illustrated pamphlet gives a brief history of the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina and provides rich physical details about the building, including photographs, floor plans and cross sections. Also included is a list of historic personalities identified with Charleston theatres and major theatrical events in city history. The front and back covers unfold into a map of peninsular Charleston showing the locales of past and current theatres (guide to map on page 14). 15 pages. Full text.
Collection:
Lowcountry Tourism
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Pamphlets
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Dock Street Theatre (Charleston, S.C.)
Topical Subject:
Theaters--South Carolina--Charleston
Geographic Subject:
Low Country
Shelving Locator:
PN2277.C3 D63 1963
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.)
Material Type:
Image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications:
300 ppi, 24-bit depth, color, Epson Expression 10000XL scanner, Archival Master is a tiff.
Rights:
Digital image copyright 2009, The College of Charleston Libraries. All rights reserved. For more information contact The College of Charleston Library, Charleston, SC 29424.