Amateur theatre has been active in the Cleveland County area since 1964, when the “Community Group Theatre” launched its first production of Bus Stop, starring Freda Lynch (now Freda Arnold of Arnold’s Jewelers) and directed by Dick Palmer, another well-known citizen. The group, led by Dick and Julia Palmer, produced seven more plays until 1967.

In 1975, community theatre was revived when Charles W. Cox, a retired Gardner-Webb College professor, organized the group known as the Greater Shelby Community Theatre. Under the leadership of GSCT's first president, Gilda W. Cooper , the first production - Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” was produced in the auditorium of Shelby Junior High.

Greater Shelby Community Theatre, dedicated but lacking a permanent home, has performed at Shelby Middle School, Graham Elementary, Malcolm Brown Auditorium, First Baptist Church, Cleveland County Historical Museum, Cleveland Community College's Keeter Auditorium, and Gardner-Webb’s Dover Theater and Millenium Playhouse.

GSCT receives funding from NC Grassroots grant and the Cleveland County Arts Council, but its primary funding is reliant on season ticket memberships which range in price from $30 to $250. 

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