The Footlight Players has hired long-time thespian Brian Porter as executive director of Charleston’s longest-producing theatre company. Porter spent the last decade on staff at Charleston Stage, most recently as director of administration where he oversaw daily operations of the professional theatre company.
Porter replaces Jane Broadwater, who retired in January after serving three years as executive director. She also was a member of Footlight’s board of directors before taking on the executive director title. Under Broadwater’s leadership, The Footlight Players expanded its theatrical season while providing opportunities for other theatres and performance groups to rent the Queen Street theatre during its off-weekends and summer season.
Porter has been performing on stage since childhood, earning a bachelor’s degree in theatre in performance from Purdue University in Indiana. After graduation, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, as a member of Playhouse on the Square’s Resident Acting Company. He then co-founded a theatre company in Michigan before relocating to Atlanta to pursue a career in media advertising. Porter maintained ties to local theatre and served as interim executive director of OnStage Atlanta.
After several years in Atlanta, Porter relocated to Charleston, working as media director of Davis Advertising before returning to his theatrical roots and joining Charleston Stage.
Now, Porter will take on the role of leading one of Charleston’s most prestigious community theatres. He plans to build on Footlight’s mission to provide quality and affordable community theatre as well as continuing to promote the theatre as a unique space for Charleston special events and performances.
“I am delighted to be a part of such an historical and dynamic theatrical fixture in Charleston,” Porter said. “I look forward to working with this exceptional team of artists to create something truly unique and beautiful for Charleston. I am confident I can bring a lot to the company and infuse it with my passion and love of the performing arts.”
Porter is also the co-founder of the local theatre company What If? Productions, which is now in its eighth season in Charleston. A celebrated artist and vocalists in Charleston (and current Best Actor nominee for the Charleston City Paper Best Of award), Porter has appeared on stage in many memorable roles in Charleston, including “Peter & the Starcatcher,” “Cabaret,” “Hedwig & the Angry Inch,” “The 39 Steps,” “Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story,” “Shear Madness” and “Hairspray.” He recently headlined his own sold-out cabaret show, “An Evening With Brian Porter,” as part of What If?’s popular Piano Bar Series.