For nearly 100 years, the College of Charleston has been an integral player in the surrounding community’s live theater. And that’s particularly true of one theater group: the Footlight Players. On Nov. 2, 2019, this organization will strengthen that connection at its annual red carpet gala by honoring Valerie Morris, dean of the College of Charleston School of the Arts (SOTA), for her enduring support.
The event, dubbed “A Night on the Red Carpet: Broadway Rhythms,” will begin with patrons walking the red carpet in Philadelphia Alley, where there will be prizes and a silent auction, before entering the Queen Street Playhouse for performances by the finest local talent. There will also be a live art auction benefiting the Footlight Players’ Education Programs and Historic Building Fund and a ceremony in to honor Morris, her passion for the arts and her longtime support of theater initiatives throughout the Lowcountry.
Since Morris became dean of the SOTA in 1998, she has offered broad support for the arts throughout Charleston and particularly for the community’s theater groups. She has served as a member of the board for Charleston Stage Company and is also on the boards of the Charleston Concert Association, the Charleston Jazz Initiative, the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Arts Schools Network. She is also a mentor for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education’s Leadership Institute. Aside from those roles, Morris is a generous and regular donor to numerous arts organizations around Charleston.
The honor for Morris continues a longstanding affiliation between the College and the Footlight Players. In 2017, CofC alumni and donors Sam and Nancy Stafford ’67 were honored with the same award. Going back several decades, Emmett Robinson ’35 became the managing director of Footlight Players while also serving as a fine arts (theatre) faculty member at the College. Without an appropriate facility on campus to teach and stage theater, Robinson arranged to hold classes at the Footlight Players’ theater space. In addition, he pioneered the initial plans of what is now the Department of Theatre and Dance at the College. In 1979, the Emmett Robinson Theatre in the College’s Albert Simons Center of the Arts was constructed and is currently the main proscenium-style space used for the College’s theater and dance productions.
For additional information about “A Night on the Red Carpet,” visit the Footlight Players online.