Spoleto Festival returning in-person for 45th season


ByRiley Bean|April 5, 2021 at 9:52 AM EDT - Updated April 5 at 1:09 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Spoleto Festival will be returning to Charleston for a 45th season full of in-person music, dance and theater performances.

Spoleto General Director Nigel Redden said the festival will be taking place from May 28 to June 13.

Redden announced the full program for the 45th season of Spoleto Festival USA and explained how the events will take place across four venues in Charleston. He says the season encompasses more than 70 in-person music, dance, and theater performances on stages outdoors and in the historic Dock Street Theatre, as well as two interactive virtual works created specifically for remote audiences.

Organizers say in light of the pandemic the are planning in accordance with local and national health guidelines, along with a team from the Medical University of South Carolina. They say the festival will be operating with an overall capacity that is 25 percent of a typical season.

“In many ways, this season will be quite different—not least because of the reduced number of performances and seats as a result of physical distancing,” Redden said. “Still, despite the constraints and challenges, this season will be remembered for its moments of immense beauty. I want each audience member to have an unforgettable, magical experience—the kind that can only come from seeing live performance.”

To accommodate an in-person season with an audience, festival organizers say they are constructing two outdoor stages for use in addition to the stage at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard.

The College of Charleston Cistern Yard will again house the Festival’s Wells Fargo Jazz and First Citizens Bank Front Row series.

Highlighting the 2021 Wells Fargo Jazz is a special Charleston edition of Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration.

A keystone of Spoleto Festival USA, twice-daily chamber music concerts will continue in 2021. Geoff Nuttall, Festival Director of Chamber Music, will again host these 45-minute long concerts inside the historic Dock Street Theatre.

To hear high-quality concert recordings plus interviews with artists from Spoleto’s 2021 series, listeners can tune into “Sonatas and Soundscapes,” weekdays beginning June 4 at 11 a.m. at South Carolina NPR’s website.

The 2021 season also marks a change of guard as it will be Redden’s final as general director; after 35 years with Spoleto Festival USA, he will step down from his post in October.

Donations from the event will support the Nigel Redden Emerging Artist Fund, which has been created in Redden’s honor and earmarked for use by his successor to bolster programming efforts.

The complete 2021 program is outlined at the Spoleta Festival website.

Performance tickets become available beginning April 13 at 10 a.m. or by phone at 843-579-3100 or online.

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