Originally built in 1914 as part of Consumers Ice Co., 32 -34 Woolfe Street spent nearly half a century in service to the Meddin family. The Meddin Bros Meat Packing Company was a highly successful meat storage operation in the heart of industrial historic Charleston. While the company was headquartered in Savannah Georgia, the Charleston plant was one of two satellite facilities making it one of the largest meat packing companies in the region. At it’s height Meddin Bros supplied meat to much of Southeast Georgia and Coastal South Carolina. Owned and operated by Hyman Meddin, the Charleston plant was a bustling and successful fixture on Woolfe Street for 50 years. Hyman and his wife Doris were prominent community leaders and raised their three children, Eve, Stuart and Ann on the peninsula.
The business closed in the early 1980’s and the building was briefly used as a storage center for the College of Charleston in the 1990’s. For nearly a dozen years the Meddin Bros building sat empty, used on occasion for short term rental.
After more than a decade of award winning professional theatre in Mount Pleasant, The Village Repertory Co. had outgrown the founding home in a suburban shopping center and was looking to relocate to a larger facility. The Village Repertory Co has become not only one of Charleston’s most celebrated performing arts organizations but one of the largest as well. For the Village to continue to grow and fulfill the mission the producing director and the board needed to find a home that reflected the caliber of performances on the Village stage. The results of a 2011 comprehensive study funded in part by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation confirmed this conviction.
Mrs. Meddin has been a long time supporter of the Village Repertory Co. A lifelong arts patron Mrs. Meddin knew that her families’ century old warehouse would make an ideal performing arts venue and had been patiently waiting for the right company to see the unique beauty in a dusty former meat packing facility on a lonely block.. Upon seeing the building it was almost instantly clear to Producing Director Keely Enright and Managing Director Dave Reinwald that the Meddin Bros. building would make a fantastic home for the Village Rep. The problem was money. The building was badly in need of extensive renovation and it would take at least half a million dollars to complete the project. The Village Board took a deep breath and agreed to meet the challenge to raise the needed funds. Funding has been secured through PNC Bank. The designs were done by award winning architect Bill Huey and the Phase One renovations have been spearheaded by regional construction company Chastain Construction.
After eleven years in less than 3600 square feet the Village Rep moved into the new Woolfe Street Playhouse in December 0f 2012. The Playhouse is a 17,000 square ft complex that serves as a cultural anchor of the rapidly transforming and vibrant upper King section of peninsula Charleston. The Woolfe Street Playhouse boasts not one but two theatres located in the facility- the mainstage known as the “Davis Theater” and the “Shop Stage” where innovative new works are performed. The Playhouse has dedicated rehearsal, classroom and music spaces, as well as both a lobby wine bar, a full service theater bar and a private parking lot for patrons. We are excited to offer extensive children’s programs, and productions aimed at K-12 including Saturday matinees, school shows, after school programs, kids camps,and Village Teen Troupe. The new programs are in addition to the Village Rep on Woolfe’s Season 14 offerings of dramas, comedies and musicals. The Woolfe Street Playhouse is an excellent example of an adaptive re-use of a historic facility that serve the entire community. It is not only the perfect home for our theatre in residence The Village Rep but is an ideal venue for other arts organizations in Charleston as well.
The Woolfe Street Playhouse, designed by renowned Charleston architect Bill Huey and overseen by Chastain Construction features the Playhouse’s trademark intimacy and cabaret style while drastically improving the theatrical experience for patrons and performers.
Phase One: 200 seat cabaret space allows flexible staging, and our 17,000 square-foot facility enables us to mount second stage and educational programs. With the completion of Phase Two we will add an additional studio/classroom space, a small black box stage area, an upstairs mezzanine and an additional 75 seats.
Please make a donation to the Building Initiative today.
We generally cast from our pool of professional actors but are always interested in meeting with potential performers. Please send your resume and contact info to Producing Director Keely Enright. Staff will be happy to schedule an appointment time.
The Woolfe Street Playhouse is completely handicap accessible with a parking lot directly across the street from the Playhouse. Parking is $8.00 per vehicle. There are several other parking lots near by, including the Visitor's Center, and the Hyatt Place Parking garage, the Woolfe Street Playhouse is not responsible for parking rates.
Theatrical devices such as fog, strobe lights, gun shots, rough language and nudity may occur in some productions. If you need to be warned in advance of these occurrences or if you have special seating needs, please contact the Box Office at 856-1579 or via email at [email protected] We will make every effort to ensure your visit is easy and comfortable.
Liz Butler Duren's commissioned work based on her award winning memoir
The Village Repertory Co. is a non profit professional theatre company, producing drama, comedy, and musicals with a special emphasis on the finest plays of the 20th Century. As the theatre company in residence at the Woolfe Street Playhouse, our aim is to bring lesser known classics and new works to life in a unique environment: The Village Rep creates theatre that breaks down the barriers between the performer and the audience. We create for our community, from within our community, working with Charleston's local ensemble of actors and artists.Learn More Download Brochure