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Victoria and Victory Theatres - Charleston, SC

Victoria Theatre
86 Society Street
Opened: 1911
Closed: 1918
(after some remodeling, the theatre reopened as the Victory Theatre)

Photograph from, "New Guide Book of the Modern Charleston."

There is an excellent description of the Victoria in the book, "New Guide Book of Modern Charleston."

"The main floor of the house is supplied with large and comfortable seats, placed on a gradual incline that admits a clear view of the stage from even the seats furthest in the rear. There are boxes on both sides of the house. The balcony is excellently arranged. The Victoria is conducted by Pastime Amusement Company. It books only the highest grade of Vaudeville, and show the best acts on exhibition in this country. Splendid moving pictures are also shown at each performance."

The Victoria became associated with the Keith Vaudeville Circuit. It was also used for many road shows and local events.

Victory Theatre
86 Society Street
Opened: November 11, 1918
Torn Down: 1946

In October, 1918, it was announced by Pastime Amusement Company that, "as soon as the Spanish influenza quarantine is lifted, the Victory Theatre will be opened with a policy of Keith Vaudeville. In view of the glorious record of the U.S. in the war to crush the Prussian government, Mr. Sottile decided to re-christen the house, and it will henceforth be known as the Victory."

Orchestra, balcony and gallery combined, the Victory had a seating capacity of 1,850 persons.

In addition to Vaudeville, the Victory was frequently use for stock plays, civic meetings and concerts by the Musical Arts Club.

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra began performing there and the Footlight Players moved their activities to the Victory.

In 1922, Irish Patriot Eamon DeValera appeared. He was touring America on a crusade to free Ireland. Mayor John P. Grace invited him to Charleston.

Albert Sottile recalled, "Mr. DeValera's appearance at the Victory caused a great ovation. The applause from those in the balcony were so thunderous that it caused the balcony structure to sink several inches, causing a big bulge in the center. A near catastrophe was miraculously excaped.

The situation was discovered the following morning. Whereupon, the theater was closed and among the repairs and restoration, columns under the balcony that had proven objectionable when first used in the erection of the Victoria (and removed in 1917) were again installed to safely support the balconies."

The movie projector was placed so high in the second balcony that the resulting picture, when shown on the screen, was wider at the bottom than at the top.

The last performance at the Victory was on December 15, 1945.

By 1947, the theater was not large enough to be profitable. Building materials were still in short supply following World War II. It was too expensive at the time to replace the Victory with another theatre. The theatre was torn down and the land filled and greaded for a parking lot.

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