The Newberry Opera House has been the heart of Newberry County for more than 100 years, serving as the cultural center of the community. A performing arts venue that hosts concerts, children and family shows, theatre, Broadway, and even an annual opera, the opera house uses the arts as a window for economic development and quality of life.
Opening in 1881, the opera house welcomed touring companies of New York plays, variety shows, famed vocalists, lecturers, magicians, mind readers, novelty acts, and boxing exhibitions. The spacious auditorium also served as a venue for meetings, dances, college commencement exercises and plenty of other community events.
In the early 1920s, the Opera House stayed on trend with the evolution of film, showing silent “moving pictures,” then “Thomas Edison Talkies” and, eventually, full-sound movies. In 1952, the Opera House was closed, but escaped demolition thanks to public support. Forty years later renovations began, and the Newberry Opera officially returned to its former glory in 1998.
It wasn’t long before the newly restored Opera House served as a catalyst for an artistic and economic rebirth in Newberry, helping to showcase talented artists, fostering a creative environment, and drawing visitors from throughout the South.
Today, the Opera House remains an active part of the community and continues to promote a thriving economy. Just this year, the Eclipse Fest brought in more than 55,000 new people to Newberry. Ticket sales for performances continue to rise annually, with more sales in 2017 than in the previous two years combined.
Aside from its economic contributions to the area, the Opera House sponsors programs for schools, bringing hundreds of children to the theatre. The Newberry Opera House Box Office also serves as a central information point for Newberry citizens, not only selling tickets for Opera House events, but also for arts performances throughout the area.
Many people have donated their time, talents and resources to keep the Newberry Opera House running successfully over the years. Community contributions help maintain the Newberry Opera House’s position as the most exciting, compelling, innovative theatre in the Southeast. If you’d like to help support the Opera House, your donation will go towards fixing faucets in the restrooms, updating seating in the lobby and other operational and guest enhancement projects.
There are several levels of donations you can choose from. If you’d like to help out in other ways, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities — from stuffing envelopes to cooking for the talent and seating guests. Of course, another way to support the Newberry Opera House is to attend performances and stay engaged with the arts community.
Celebrating their 20th successful season this year, the Newberry Opera House is hoping to raise $20,000 in 20 days. Kicking off their fundraising drive with giving Tuesday on November 28th, and running through December 17th. You can double your dollars during this period as they have a $20,000 matching donation. Help the Newberry Opera House continue for another 20 successful seasons by donating today.
To learn more about how you can support the Opera House, visit newberryoperahouse.com or contact Micah Decker in the Administration office at 803-276-5179 or Micah@NewberryOperaHouse.com.