Etherredge Center Director Inducted in Theatre Hall of Fame
November 07, 2017
The S.C. Theatre Association honored long-time theatre leader, Jack Benjamin, executive director of the Etherredge Center and chair of the University of South Carolina Aiken Department of Visual and Performing Arts, during the organization's annual convention, held on the USC Aiken campus.
Benjamin was inducted into the S.C. Theatre Association Hall of Fame during the President's Reception on the second night of the three-day convention.
"If you participate in theatre in the Southeast, whether directly or by proxy, Jack has had an influence on you," said Dewey Scott Wiley, a USC Aiken theatre professor.
After the announcement, attendees - including 650 students -- gave the veteran theatre professional a standing ovation.
"I am humbled by this great honor," Benjamin said.
"Theatre is a collaborative art form, and I could not have accomplished all I have done if it weren't for the faculty, staff and students at USC Aiken as well as my amazing wife and family."
Approximately 1,400 visitors attended the convention. The event included two separate one-act theatre festivals featuring community theatres and approximately 35 high school theatre programs from across the state. Attendees were active throughout the convention, performing, teaching, auditioning, going to workshops or watching Southern City Film Festival films.
"We were proud to once again host this exciting event," said Benjamin who served twice as the association's president and twice as vice president.
"This was the sixth time that USC Aiken has hosted this event, and each time it has been larger than the last."
Benjamin came to USC Aiken in 1986 as an assistant professor of theatre and a director of theatre. He has served as the chair of the department since 1996. In 2012, he took on the role of executive director of the Etherredge Center.
He has directed more than 70 productions since coming to the university and has directed more than 150 productions in his professional career. Prior to coming to Aiken, Benjamin taught in Dallas and served as the lighting and scenic designer for several professional theatres throughout the country. In 2002, he received the John F. Kennedy Center Medallion for his work in educational theatre.
In November 2004, he received the Founders Award from the S.C. Theatre Association. In March 2006, he received the Suzanne Davis Memorial Award for Distinguished Service from the Southeastern Theatre Conference.
Benjamin recently concluded his fourth term as president of the SETC - considered to be the largest professional theatre organization in the United States.
He plans to retire June 2018.
USC Aiken, a comprehensive university in the University of South Carolina system, offers undergraduate and master’s degrees to more than 3,500 students in 50 programs of study. USC Aiken is ranked the #1 public regional college in the South by U.S. News & World Report’s guide "America’s Best Colleges." The 2018 distinction marks USC Aiken’s 20th consecutive ranking among the top three in this category and its 13th time in first place.