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South Carolina Historical Sites – The Abbeville Opera House

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One of the notable places in South Carolina worth visiting is The Abbeville Opera House. It is approaching 100 years old. It seems strange to think of, but Abbeville was a stopover between Atlanta and Richmond for many of the New York based companies that took their shows “on the road”. Community members decided that if there were a facility in Abbeville that could stage productions, then they could sponsor showings.

There were a great variety of shows from musicals to vaudeville, minstrel and burlesque shows. The Great Divide opened the theatre in October of 1908. Some famous names such as Jimmy Durante graced the stage in Abbeville. With the advent of motion picture there were showings of silent films between 1914 and 1930. When the first “talkie” “The Jazz Singer” was first shown in 1927 it marked the beginning of the end for the “road shows”. From that time the Opera House became more of a movie theater.

During the 1950s there was a revival of the building for live theater. That tradition continues through this day. (The Wizard of Oz was playing in March…)

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