The Charleston School of the Arts (SOA) is dedicating their new theater to Rose Maree Myers, who founded the school in 1995. Myers served as SOA's principal for 12 years before retiring in 2007.
“The theater is one of the prime features of our new campus, which we moved into last January,” SOA faculty member John Cusatis says.
The old theater was originally a vocational-technical shop (a.k.a. a garage), but the arts department worked their magic and converted it to a functional theater. “It had no real dressing rooms, so actors often applied their make-up outside and used the public restrooms to change clothes,” Cusatis says. “And the seating in the old theater was made up of folding chairs.”
The new theater is just that, an actual theater. It’s complete with a stage that’s comparable to the size of the one at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. It also has spacious rooms for the students, teachers, and guests (it can seat up to 605 people), and a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, which the students will soon become very familiar with.
“On another level, it means so much to SOA to be able to have a first-rate theater that bears the name of Rose Maree Myers ... who was herself a great actress in Virginia’s historic and prestigious Barter Theater," Cusatis says. "Without Mrs. Myers’ vision and conviction, this theater and all the productions its future holds would not exist. Not only did she found the School of the Arts, but she was also at the center of the planning for the new campus and its theater before her retirement in 2007." The new campus is at 5109 W. Enterprise Street in North Charleston.
There will be a dedication ceremony to celebrate Myers’ achievements at the new theater on Fri. April 16 at 7 p.m. This event features performances by former SOA students (hip-hop violinist Daniel Davis and Richard Bryant from Army Wives), the faculty, current students, and more. Special guest and award-winning author Colum McCann, an acquaintance of Myers, will also be attending the dedication.