On June 14, 1981 , the first center for the performing arts in northeast South Carolina was dedicated. Built with a graceful Georgian design of columns and colonnades, the $3.1 million Wheelwright Auditorium was funded almost entirely by private donations from local residents and businesses, including a gift of more than $1 million from the late Dr. and Mrs. William Kimbel. The auditorium is named for Mrs. Kimbel's maternal grandfather, John Wheelwright, who was involved in the early 1900's with the cotton trade in South Carolina.
In 2000, the auditorium underwent a half million-dollar renovation. This renovation included the placement of the Italian marble floors in the lobby and an inset of a bronze university seal.The Wheelwright now boasts a state-of-the art lighting system, new rigging above the stage, new carpet and wallpaper, new stage curtains, a refinished playing surface, and new lobby furniture. Continuing its efforts to have a technologically advanced and comfortable theatre, the University refurbished the seating and installed a sophisticated tracking deck for the stage floor allowing the use of computerized movement of scenery.
The theatre hosts hundreds of events each year, and is one of the primary performance facilities for the Department of Theatre. With a seating capacity of 786, the department is able to draw large audiences for everything from theatre for young audiences to the great musicals of the past and present.
The Edwards Black Box Theatre is a state- of-the-art flexible space able to host everything from student cabaret events to modern musicals. The theatre was completed in 2000 and has hosted a myriad of events since then.
The theatre seats up to 150 and is 18' to the suspended tension grid. The theatre has a lighting inventory of over 125 instruments and dimmers. It serves as the centerpoint of classes, student productions, and faculty productions alike.
The 79th Ave. theatre began its life as a classroom in the local vocational high school. In the 1970’s the building became the Myrtle Beach Academy for Arts, Science, and Technology. In 2007 the Academy moved and the building remained empty for two years. In 2009 the University leased the building and over half of the facility was granted to the Department of Theatre.
The facility boasts a beautiful 147 seat ¾ thrust theatre with state of the art lighting and sound systems, a dance studio with sprung floor and a large rehearsal studio. The department shares the theatre with Atlantic Stage, a local professional theatre, and the interaction gives our students the opportunity to work closely with professional actors, directors and designers in the day to day operations of a professional company.
COSTUME / SCENIC / PAINTING
Coastal Carolina University employs the professional model of off-site production studios. All three studios are located across from the main campus and are accessible by university shuttle. The studios are state-of-the-art facilities with several thousand square feet dedicated to departmental production and the training of our students.
Each studio is supervised by highly qualified managers with years of professional experience ranging from Broadway to the academic stage. It is in these studios that our students obtain rigorous professional training in all aspects of technical production.
Properties, Costumes, Paint, Carpentry, Welding, Millinery, and many other skills are practiced each and every day in support of our extensive production calendar.
ACTING / DANCE
Spacious acting and dance studios serve as the unofficial home away from home for most of our performance majors. Students spend hours in these spaces preparing for their careers. Acting, Movement, Tap, Jazz, Ballet and even occasional Hip Hop classes are taught in the studios.