Sumter Opera House

21 North Main Street,
Sumter, SC 29150

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The Sumter Opera House was built around 1893. It replaced an earlier opera house that was destroyed by fire. The conversion of the opera house into a movie theatre began in 1935. The architect chosen was Earle Stillwell. The interior was decorated by Navino Nataloni.

The 915 seat Sumter Theatre opened on August 31, 1936 with the feature film “Earthworm Tractors” starring Joe E. Brown. The Sumter Theatre closed in 1982.

In 1987 the building was renovated by the City of Sumter for use as a City Hall and City Council office space. The first floor auditorium was retained and is currently used for live performances and classic movies.

Contributed by Ridgewood Ken

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm

The “Previous names” above list “Academy of Music”, although that previous name is not mentioned on the theater website. There is an Academy of Music listed for Sumter in the 1892-93 Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. Abe Ryttenberg was Mgr., seating listed as 800. The proscenium opening was 28 feet wide X 22 feet high, and the stage was 42 feet deep. The house had electric illumination, and it was located up on the second floor. The 1892 population of Sumter was 7,000.

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