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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

West Ashley Theatre Center

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Charleston Stage Celebrates 40 Years by Building for the Future in West Ashley

From a scrappy youth theatre with a $20,000 budget and a staff of one (Founder Julian Wiles) to a $2.5 million dollar professional theatre and a full-time staff of 25, Charleston Stage, in residence for 40 years at the Historic Dock Street Theatre, celebrates its 40th Anniversary by building for the future—including the addition of a new venue in West Ashley that will open next fall.

“I really think of our first 40 years as a windup,” explains Founder and Producing Artistic Director Julian Wiles, “for even as we celebrate this landmark anniversary, we are building for the future. We have doubled the size of our production departments, including the addition of new scene and costume shops that opened in West Ashley last year. Next up for Charleston Stage is a 10,000 square foot West Ashley Theatre Center, which will open in Ashley Landing on Sam Rittenberg next fall.”

The new West Ashley Theatre Center will feature a dance studio, classrooms, and a 140-seat performance venue. “Though our full season of plays and musicals will continue at the Historic Dock Street Theatre downtown,” explains Wiles, “the new West Ashley Theatre Center will provide a smaller venue for more intimate shows as well as provide a performance space for our more than 350 theatre school students who take classes with us.”

“We have been bursting at the seams with our current Theatre Education Facility in Mt. Pleasant,” explains Charleston Stage Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education Marybeth Clark. “This new space is double the size of our old space which will allow us to greatly expand our education programs and to reach even more students each year. Best of all, the new facility at Ashley Landing is centrally located, no more than 15 minutes from Mt. Pleasant, downtown, James Island, and the North Area. Being less than a mile off of I-26 and I- 526, it will be convenient for young people and their families throughout the community.”

“While our new West Ashley Theatre Center will focus on education and programming for young audiences,” Producing Director Julian Wiles continues, “over time, we expect a wide range of theatre offerings—comedies, musicals, off-Broadway, and improv are all possibilities. We also plan to make the facility available to other theatre groups as well. For now, we have a $500,000 renovation ahead of us as we get to begin classes and performances in the fall of 2018. We have raised more than half of the funds for the renovations of the new space, but we welcome gifts to Charleston Stage’s 40th Anniversary Fund, which are earmarked for this exciting new facility. Donations can be online by clicking the 'Donate Now'."

While Charleston Stage’s new West Ashley Theatre Center prepares to join Charleston Stage’s “building for the future initiative,” the company’s 40th Anniversary celebration—a full season of nine plays, musicals, and family shows continues at Dock Street!

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