“Yes! They’re Working on the Seats!” Those were the first words from Carl Tarpley, Project Manager for the City of Charleston’s $20 million dollar renovations of the Historic Dock Street Theatre. This was welcome news to Charleston Stage staffers who toured the construction site today. There will be all new seats upstairs, comfortable ones, with padded seats and arms. Downstairs we will still have the benches but they are being reworked to add padding to the backs and to make them more comfortable overall. But that’s down the road, all of the seats and most of the plaster has been removed from the interior. This is to make way for strengthening and earthquake-proofing the walls with steel latticework. New wiring, plumbing and air conditioning ducts are being installed as well. There’s much good news. There will be larger and more comfortable restrooms and three elevators which will make the will the entire building handicapped accessible. Backstage we’ll have more room onstage since old stairs and air conditioning ducts are being relocated. We’ll also have new dressing rooms. Much of the theatre, however, when its all put back together, will look much as it did before, preserving the wonderful historic ambience of this great landmark. Reopening is scheduled for May 2010. From time time time we’ll return to the construction site and provide you updates here on the Charleston Stage backstage blog.
Julian Wiles, Producing Director
Below you’ll see views of the facade, the stage area viewed from the balcony, steel wall reinforcements in the lobby, the courtyard (which will be re-landscaped when it’s done), and Stefanie and Mike Christensen, Charleston Stage’s set and property designers inspecting the new stage area.