Florence Little Theatre

Florence Little Theatre celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023 as Florence's community theatre and playhouse. 

When the celebrated musical “Les Miserables” opened at Florence Little Theatre September 2013, it was being performed for the first time by a community theater group in South Carolina.

It possibly was the first time FLT had a show’s run sell out in advance, and there were disappointed people who were unable to get tickets for any of the nine performances. The fact that the rights had been granted to the theater indicated the reputation FLT has earned over nearly a century. Everybody wanted the show, and this theater was the first S.C. community theater to perform it.

The “Les Miz” audiences saw the show in the still-new $10 million theater building that FLT occupied in 2008. They saw professional-looking lighting and amplification equipment and professional sets. Performers were helped by real costuming and cosmetology areas, a fine rehearsal hall where they worked on the show for months and shops to develop sets and props.

One might wonder what the people who turned out for the first performance of FLT’s predecessor in 1923 would think if they could see the theater’s work now. In 1923 they called themselves the Community Players, and Margaret Wright was a key to forming the group that staged its first performance on the lawn of James M. Lynch on West Palmetto Street. Surely they could not have dreamed what they would be 100 years later.


Like its former home on Cashua Drive, the present FLT house was another big step forward. Plenty of dressing room and storage space were made available with better technical, lighting and sound equipment along with much larger restroom facilities. There was great anticipation when rehearsals started for “Jesus Christ Superstar” in the Cashua house in 2008. Everybody knew when the show opened it would be in the new theater on South Dargan. At the last Cashua show Shaw Thompon had drawn cheers when he closed the show by telling the audience, “See you next season on South Dargan!”

The present theater is more versatile. It is used for special events and the courtyard and rehearsal hall make a good place for receptions, a source of revenue. Not least important is that events like opening night parties can be staged at the theater instead of participants having to leave the show and go to another site for the party. One veteran from the 1940s to ‘60s said the present set shop is about the size of the little airport theater building.

Over the years FLT has developed a number of activities besides its regular schedule of Broadway-type shows. There are youth productions. There are the Schoolhouse Players, adults who give shows for school children. Many kids influenced by these programs have become adult FLT volunteers. The FLT Friends is an example of the volunteerism that has fed energy into the theater for generations. It is a women’s organization that furnishes volunteers for various duties and greatly helps with fundraising.

It can’t happen, of course, but it would be nice to have the 1923 founders of the theater drop by on South Dargan. Surely they would be proud of what they started, and surely the present FLT would love to show them around.

(843) 662-3731