South Carolina Children’s Theatre’s 2nd Annual Characters in Concert event will be held on April 9th and 10th, 2022. In this guest post from SCCT’s Marketing Coordinator Margaret Butler, she interviews Executive Director, Debbie Bell, and Annual Funds & Events Manager, and director of the performance, Mary Evan Giles about the evolution of the event. Tickets for Characters in Concert are on sale now!
Attending Character in Concert? Costumes are encouraged!
Characters in Concert evolved from SCCT’s annual Character Breakfast. What is the history of the event?
DB: Our very first Character Breakfast was in 1995 and featured Winnie the Pooh. We created the event as a chance for young children to meet their favorite characters. After breakfast was served, characters would promenade through the space in a narrated, musical parade. Then, families and kids would visit stations to meet and take pictures with their favorite characters. At that time, we also sold autograph books and other novelties.
From the first Pooh event in 1995, the Character Breakfast grew to include 35 characters, each in full costume and makeup! Throughout its history, the annual sold-out event has been held at Thornblade, Greenville Country Club, and the Poinsett Club. Now that we have our own space, we are thrilled to bring the adapted event to our home at 153 Augusta Street for its 2nd year!
How fun! Why did you change the format to Characters in Concert?
DB: We switched formats because we were trying to social-distance and we could no longer safely serve food. In order to continue the event during the COVID-19 Pandemic, we had to adapt. We did what we had to do and were surprised to find that we loved the new format!
Most importantly, we realized that maybe the food wasn’t the focus in the first place. Kids came for the magic of the characters, not for the breakfast itself. Now we’re able to showcase what SCCT does best – the performance.
MEG: We also had our brand new space to put to use! In 2021, Characters in Concert was our second seated event during COVID. We seated the audience at 30% capacity and everyone—
including the actors— wore masks. This year, we are able to seat at full capacity!
What part of the performance do you think the children respond to best?
MEG: They love the music! In Characters in Concert, the beloved characters can showcase what they do best. Instead of just meeting and hugging the characters, kids get to watch them come to life in front of their eyes. It feels much more real than being in front of a TV Screen.
What words do you think best describe the event?
DB: Interactive, musical, enchanting, dazzling… and of course, MAGICAL!
Mary Evan, you not only are coordinating this event but also directing it! How is it to be a part of the full process?
MEG: It is exciting to fully immerse myself in the world of these characters! Betsy Bisson, SCCT’s Education Director, built the incredible groundwork for this event. I’m excited to respect how the event started and continue bringing it into the new age.
Community outreach has always been an important part of the event. How is it going to continue in 2022?
DB: Throughout the years, company sponsors and individual donors would be able to purchase tickets for an organization of their choice. We would work with the selected agencies to get the children to the event.
MEG: This legacy of outreach has carried on to our new event. This year, over 60% of our sponsors have donated their tickets to outreach. We’ve also been approved for grant funding from C.G. Fuller Foundation to provide 80 tickets to the event.
Characters in Concert will be performed at South Carolina Children’s Theatre on April 9th and 10th with showtimes at 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm, and 5:00 pm. Tickets are $25. Call the box office at 864.235.2885 or visit scchildrenstheatre.org for more info and tickets.
This event is generously sponsored by Publix Supermarket Charities, Betty Farr, Ryan, and Frances Hendley, Allstate – The Pressley Group, LLC, Burr and Forman, Debbie and Mike Bell, Drs. Kathryn and Allen Freedman, Ellis Pearce, Kitchens Endodontics, Triangle Construction Co., Young Office, Elliott Davis, Marsh McLennan Agency, and Southern Tide.