How We Started
All great businesses started in a garage, right? The Wright Brothers, Hewlett Packard, Apple. Well, we believe that statement is true; mainly because we too started in a garage.
Before becoming Cultural Arts Center Charleston, and before the inception of the Charleston Performing Arts Center, Kirk Sprinkles (co-founder, artistic director, and program director) was performing professionally on cruise ships, national tours, and on Broadway. He managed dinner theatres, operated his own performing arts studios, and was Executive Director of Dances Patrelle, a prestigious New York City boutique ballet company.
Meanwhile, Scott Pfeiffer (co-founder, executive director, and Youth Theatre director) was performing with various professional Northern California theatre companies and rising within the ranks of his corporate profession in the fashion industry. From Gap Inc. to Ralph Lauren, he led field leadership teams and their stores to operational excellence by directing departments such as store operations, communications, training, finance, labor management, loss prevention, and human resources.
Kirk and Scott met in New York City, where they both lived. Feeling unfulfilled, they moved to Charleston to pursue a means to greater creative expression and a return to the arts that enriched their lives and fueled their passions.
2013 - THE FIRST PRODUCTION
They collaborated on an original dance musical (Santa's Naughty & Nice Burlesque) that incorporated Kirk’s choreography and Scott’s script. Rehearsals, staging, costume fittings–the entire production–was born in their garage. Once the show opened in a rented venue, it was an immersive entertaining spectacle for the audiences of the sold-out shows. Having performed with professional theatre companies, and “grown-up” on stages on different coasts, Kirk and Scott assessed that they could provide local performers a level of technical training that was unavailable in Charleston.
2014 - CHARLESTON PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Their ideas solidified into the Charleston Performing Arts Center, or C‑PAC, with two objectives: provide arts education and establish a performance venue. The vision: an arts education arm catering to youth and adults through its pre-professional conservatory for those aspiring to a performing career; and a performance venue to host children’s productions, and to stage their original dance musicals, standard or concert versions of traditional musicals, and musical theatre cabarets that would appeal to adults, families, and tourists.
That May they presented this concept in an informational meeting–held in the garage. That night, C-PAC's Board of Directors was assembled. Their original dance musical, The Charleston, premiered during the 2014 Piccolo Spoleto Festival to rave reviews and sold-out houses, so much so that additional performances were added.
2014 - ESTABLISHING ROOTS
C-PAC leased an old autobody shop at 873 Folly Road on James Island and quickly renovated it to create a studio for the South Carolina Musical Theatre Conservatory, and the lush "Charleston Cabaret Theatre" that accommodated 70 patrons. In their first season, Kirk and Scott hosted a New York City summer intensive for 20 local teens and adults; held two semesters of conservatory classes; wrote and self-produced four original musicals (Santa’s Fancy Femmes & Follies, FEVER!, Charleston, The Musical, and Summer Lovin’), offered four guest-artist masterclasses; hosted a cabaret-fundraiser featuring Ryan Allen, a Metropolitan Opera singer; and produced two performing summer camps for youth.
2014-2018 - THE JEWEL OF JAMES ISLAND
Charleston Performing Arts Center quickly became a local hot spot. C-PAC gained over 7,000 Likes on their Facebook pages, 3,200 email addresses of engaged individuals, and was awarded "2015 Five Star Award of Excellence" with a ranking of "#3 Theatre in the Charleston Area" by Trip Advisor. Their popularity and prestige continued to grow along with their impact on the Charleston arts community.
During their time on James Island, they morphed the Conservatory into the James Island Junior Theater, produced 34 productions over 6 seasons (25 original productions, 3 book musicals, and 7 Junior Theater productions), established the Kids On Stage arts education program, and Kids On Stage in Schools program that taught of 5,000 Charleston County students voice, acting, and dance.
2018 - GROWING PAINS
Their continued growth prompted several changes and hurdles. The small parking lot was a pain point and the small location needed several upgrades to accommodate newer, larger productions; the studio/dressing room got smaller by the minute as cast sizes and costume counts grew; storage for sets, props, and costumes was bursting at the seams.
2019 - ANNIE
In December 2018 and January 2019, C-PAC's production of Annie, the largest produced at that point, required a location that could house the sets and the large cast and crew. C-PAC mounted the production at The Citadel Mall as a test. The results were phenomenal! The shows sold out, new audiences were gained, and the word was out that there was a new theater in the mall. Simultaneously, Kirk and Scott were producing two Christmas productions: a revival of Santa's Naughty & Nice Burlesque (5th Year Anniversary) and Folly Jolly Holiday Hour.
Burnt out and exhausted, Kirk and Scott shuttered all but one of the remaining shows of the 2018-19 season. During this hiatus, they re-envisioned the organization. The organization's mission, location, and the name changed.
CULTURAL ARTS CENTER CHARLESTON
A new history is being created daily at Cultural Arts Center Charleston. To read about what is happening now, click here.
Click here for Past Productions.