Rescued from its fate as an abandoned movie house, the Marlboro Civic Center is the crown jewel of performance venues in Marlboro County.
When built as The Garden Theater in 1917, this opera house was one of the finest in the Carolinas. After decades as a popular silent movie theater, then motion picture theater, the grand old building lay dormant until a public/private partnership was formed to restore it and give it new life as a central meeting hall and performance theater. It is the showcase of historic downtown Bennettsville’s ongoing revitalization and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
City and county governments, arts, education, and civic organizations, businesses, industries, and a host of private foundations and individuals all cooperated to create Marlboro Civic Center – the cultural heart of this community and a source of pride to all of its citizens.
It held its grand opening in November 1995.
Proudly showcasing the county’s wealth of talent, the Civic Center literally hums with activity 175 days annually, and hosts hundreds of programs and events which reflect Marlboro’s diverse community. Its Frances Carroll McColl Auditorium seats 320.
Among these events are town meetings, arts council performance series, community theater productions, revivals, community classes, student and faculty recitals, band concerts, school lecture/demonstrations, hands-on student internship programs, political rallies, as well as an exciting menu of quality artistic offerings by its Marlboro Civic Center Foundation featuring regional, national, and international artists.
Recent performances include those of The Platters, music legend Doc Watson, Russia’s Saint Petersburg Ballet and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Its stage boasts an excellent 9-foot Steinway concert grand piano.
Karen Lewis is executive director and may be reached at (843) 454-9496.