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Mary Gould is not one to worry about thinking outside the box because, for her, the box never existed in the first place.


Born in Colusa, California and raised in Brazil, Mary fell in love with Charleston, SC because it reminded her of home with its colorful colonial houses lining cobblestone streets – the bustle of the city was a rhythm she knew by heart from her childhood.  


Although she made her love affair with The Holy City permanent nearly two decades ago, her esteemed career in the arts did not start here.


Cue Lights


Following the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Mary studied with internationally renowned Baritone, Tito Gobbi, at Rosary College’s School of Graduate Studies in Florence, Italy.


Mary remembers the moment she knew she was destined to dedicate her life to theater. At 22 she took a break from her stiletto sprint with New York Life Insurance, and posted up in a plush corner office for her lunch break. She flipped on the radio – WQXR Classical – but before she could unwrap her sandwich, an ethereal voice filled the room and made its way through every fiber of her being.  


Then and there, Mary decided she would find out how to sing with such power and presence…even if it took a lifetime to learn and master.


She leapt into the industry with enthusiasm by joining and performing for the Hinsdale Opera Theatre. Soon after, she collaborated with the organization to launch the Arts Education Program to bring operatic performances to children in the Greater Chicago School System.


New York, New York!


You could say Mary got her big break as finalist for the New York Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, which spurred her move to the Big Apple itself to continue growing her reputation as a producer and opera performer. During her 13 years in New York, Mary was awarded lead roles in more than 30 performances and international tours to include appearing at Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival as La Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera. 


Among her notable performances, Mary produced and performed a one-woman show celebrating cultural diversity for ITT Sheraton’s International Executive’s Performance Series, traveling to both Rio and Sao Paulo, Brazil.  She also created and executed a one-woman arts education show titled Operatunities: Mozart to Menotti! for Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration Festival.


Not content to stay on stage, Mary became Executive Director of the New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony, a union orchestra presenting in Manhattan, and garnered the orchestra’s first New York Times review during her tenure, while also establishing a prestigious residency at Hunter College’s The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, 69th Street and Park Avenue.


As much as she loved the city lights, Mary found herself searching for some place warmer with charm, character and space to start the next chapter of her multifaceted career.  After a long Lowcountry weekend, Mary knew she had found her next venture and moved to Charleston in 1998.


Coming Home to Charleston


Before unpacking her moving boxes, Mary established a private vocal studio in downtown Charleston, and expanded her portfolio as an educator to include showcasing a series of expansive seminars, Road to Broadway, Broadway Getting the Job, and I’m Getting My Act Together, drawing on her own diverse experience and the extensive expertise of her theater network from Los Angeles and New York.


Less than two years later, she formed the not-for-profit, Marigold Arts Development, with the mission to provide performing opportunities for aspiring Charleston artists, and established its professional theatre arm, South of Broadway Theatre Company (SOBTC), with the objective of “bridging the gap between community theatre, national, and international tours” by bringing a permanent resident professional theatre to Charleston and the state of South Carolina.


Now in its 17th year, SOBTC has been hailed by The New York Times as: “A mainstay of the South Carolina Theatre Scene”.  In 2016 the prestigious American Theatre Wing, creator and driving force behind the Tony Awards, bestowed SOBTC one of only 12 grants distributed to acclaimed production companies across the country.


Dedicated to nurturing a passion for the arts in Charleston’s children, in 2005 Mary launched Summer in NYC where participants reside at The Julliard School.  The program provides a month long Artistic Residency in New York City where participants experience the highest caliber of artistic education for gifted musicians, dancers, and actors from around the world with the intention of achieving their fullest potential as artists and creative leaders. Twelve years later, the program is still strong celebrating more than 130 graduates.


Despite all her many irons in the fire, Mary felt there was something more she was being called to do for the Charleston Arts. After much thought and meditation, she realized her next mission was to create a premier space entirely dedicated to cultivating community and creating beauty through art. 


To build this House of Art, Mary founded the Daniel Island Performing Arts Center (DIPAC) with the vision to help Charleston become a global theatre destination and a member of the prestigious LORT Theatre organization. 


Building the Foundation, Ensuring the Future


Today Mary stays busy as the Artistic Director & Producer for South of Broadway Theatre Company. She still performs from time to time – recent roles have included the title role in Bizet’s Carmen and Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme. She also collaborated with long time Music Director William R. Lewis in The Piano Man and the Diva, and was seen in SOBTC’s Noches Tropicales, the songs and dances of Latin America. Although each performance is a story for the books, her favorite role of recent years is Madeline Mitchell in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers. 


With eyes to the stars, Mary is committed to building the foundation and facilitating the potential for Charleston to become an international hub of theater and talent. Interested in learning more about Mary?

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