The nearly half-century-old South Carolina Philharmonic (721 Lady St., 803/771-7937, www.scphilharmonic.com ) plays most of its classical music concerts at the Koger Center for the Arts (1051 Greene St., 803/777-7500, www.koger.sc.edu ) under the baton of Morihiko Nakahara.
Columbia City Ballet (www.columbiacityballet.com ), a professional troupe, generally dances at the Koger Center for the Arts. They offer one of the more eclectic seasons you’ll find outside of New York, with a ballet about Dracula every Halloween, and even a ballet chronicling the history of Hootie and the Blowfish. Of course there’s an annual holiday Nutcracker as well.
Another local troupe, Columbia Classical Ballet (803/252-9112, www.columbiaclassicalballet.org ), also dances at the Koger Center.
The South Carolina Shakespeare Company (803/787-2273, www.shakespearesc.org , $12 adults, under 12 free) holds vibrant outdoor performances of the Bard’s work each fall at the amphitheatre in Finley Park downtown.
Boasting one of the oldest community theater histories in the U.S. is Town Theatre (1012 Sumter St., 803/799-2510, www.towntheatre.com , $10–15), a project of the Columbia Stage Society. Housed in the 1924 venue of the same name, Town Theatre concentrates on popular chestnuts like West Side Story and Little Shop of Horrors.
The University of South Carolina  sponsors Theatre South Carolina (803/777-5208, www.cla.sc.edu/thea ), which holds most of its performances at Drayton Hall (1214 College St.) and Longstreet Theatre (1300 Greene St.), with more experimental shows at the Lab Theatre (1400 Wheat St.).
Though not affiliated with the university, Trustus Theatre (520 Lady St., 803/254-9732, www.trustus.org , $20–25) relies on a core of performers trained in the USC performing arts program to deliver a season mixing standbys (Evita) with more daring productions (Doubt: A Parable).
Probably the most offbeat bunch in town is Workshop Theatre of South Carolina (1136 Bull St., 803/799-4876, www.workshoptheatre.com , $10–20), which brings an interesting and eclectic season to its stage, from High School Musical to Les Liaisons Dangereuses. They recently bought a parcel of land on Elmwood Avenue, but until they move there their shows are downtown behind the State House .