Peace Center for the Performing Arts
300 S. Main St., Greenville, South Carolina
Entertainment stage and theare
Phone: 864-467-3000 or 800-888-7768
Greenville Symphony Orchestra
The Peace Center for the Performing Arts is located in the heart of downtown Greenville, at the corner of South Main Street and Broad Street. The mission of the Peace Center is to present the worlds finest performers from a wide variety of disciplines, to sustain state-of-the-art theatrical venues and quality services to support local performing arts groups, and to foster life-long appreciation for the arts through comprehensive education and outreach programs for children, educators, and adults. With the performances for the 2005-2006 season including the Soweto Gospel Choir, Wayne Newton, Stomp, Mama Mia!, Movin Out, Hairspray, Garrison Keillor, Charlottes Web, and a salute to Mozart by the Greenville Symphony Orchestra just to name a few, the opportunity is there to experience many different types of music, theatrical performances, as well as interactive opportunities.
The facility includes two theatres seating 2,100 (Peace Center Hall) and 400 in the Gunter Theatre. The outdoor amphitheatre is located on the banks of the Reedy River and hosts musical performances in the warmer months (the DowBrands Amphitheatre seats 1,000). To ensure that performances are available to a wide spectrum of the public, the Peace Center subsidizes its ticket prices through contributions and sponsorships.
In addition to providing over 300 performances each year, the Peace Center offers continuing education opportunities for teachers and the acclaimed POP! Program. The Peace Outreach Program (POP!) attracts about 70,000 students, teachers, and parents each year from the Upstate, North Carolina, and Georgia. It provides a way to incorporate the arts into the classroom to creatively engage learners on several different levels. For each POP! Performance, teachers receive lesson plans that can be incorporated into the curriculum to prepare before coming to the performance as well as ideas for projects and discussion after attending.
The summer months are a time of learning and continuing educational opportunities for teachers. To foster an appreciation for the arts and to reach students who may learn in a different manner, the arts can be incorporated into the learning curriculum to bring ideas being taught to life. The Summer Teacher Institute helps engage teachers imaginations on just how arts can practically be incorporated into their lesson plans. Teacher workshops held throughout the year also provide opportunities for instructors to work with noted artists for other innovative ideas on learning.
Peace Center History
In 1985, Mayor Bill Workman appointed a citizens committee to research building a performing arts facility. A firm was hired to perform a feasibility study and a local attorney proposed a unique public-private partnership for fundraising to make such a facility become a reality. Located at the corner of South Main Street and Broad Street was a six acre site near the Reedy River with three buildings a wagon factory built before the Civil War, a textile plant constructed in the 1880s, and the old Sauer food plant (the makers of Dukes Mayonnaise). Two of these buildings were saved and became a part of the complex, while one made way for a state of the art facility that is now home to the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, South Carolina Childrens Theatre, Carolina Ballet Theatre, and International Ballet.
The Peace Family donated $10 million to get the fundraising started and later donated $10 million more to the Peace Center Endowment Fund. Dorothy Hipp Gunter gave $3 million for the theatre that bears her name.
The Peace Family has a long history in Greenville and is very devoted to the downtown. Bony Hampton Peace purchased the Greenville News in 1919 and later purchased the evening paper, the Piedmont. This company also established the first radio station in Greenville and later acquired atelevision station. Roger Peace, Bony Hampton Peaces son, worked at the newspaper and gradually worked up the ladder to editor and then publisher. Roger worked in the community serving as a director of the Peoples National Bank, the Greenville Community Hotel Corporation, and the Community Chest, and he had a close relationship with his employees at the newspaper.
As was the trend in the 1960s and 1970s, many businesses left the downtown area of Greenville, much to the dismay of Roger Peace. As decisions were being made to construct a new multi-million dollar facility for the newspaper, he insisted that it be located downtown. It is only fitting that an individual that had such faith in downtown now has a major attraction located in its center bearing his familys name.
The center currently employees about 35 full-time people and has many volunteer opportunities.
Just across the street from the Peace Center is the recently re-opened Falls Park on the Reedy River. With walking trails, landscaped gardens, beautiful views of the Falls, and the inspiring Liberty Bridge, it is a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic before a show. And there are also over 40 restaurants in the downtown area around the Peace Center, many are within walking distance (as well as one that is directly on site).