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Spoleto Festival Celebrates Successful 2021 Season


The 2021 Festival season reinvigorates artists and audience members alike, heralds excitement to come in 2022.

Spoleto Festival Celebrates Successful 2021 Season

Ushering a jubilant return to live performance, Spoleto Festival USA's 45th season was marked by change, big names, and bold ideas. "I am proud of my staff's commitment to making this season a reality," says General Director Nigel Redden. "While it may have differed from our original hopes in terms of scale, I am immeasurably pleased with our outcome."

The host of this season's most sweeping changes were precautions taken in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19. With 74 in-person performances taking place over the 17 days, Spoleto occupied just four venues throughout Charleston, compared to its usual 10. Ticket holders were physically distanced in the performance spaces, and overall capacity was roughly 25-percent of a typical season.

Still, the 2021 season proved to be no less impactful to artists, audiences, and to Charleston itself. For its 45th year, Spoleto engaged about 90 seasonal employees and 23 apprentices, sold roughly 15,400 tickets for a sales total of $817,000, and visited several area schools-virtually and in person. The Festival embarked in new virtual territories, offering two theatrical productions that were created for remote audiences, and built an entirely new venue-a beautiful amphitheater on the College of Charleston campus.

After a full year of empty stages and dark theaters, Spoleto once again fulfilled its mission, providing emerging artists the opportunity to work alongside established masters in their field. Among the 101 performing artists presented on Spoleto stages, big names-like Jason Moran, Alisa Weilerstein, Toshi Reagon, and Isabella Boylston-as well as up-and-comers were delighted by the ability to appear in front of a live audience. Maura Hogan of The Post and Courier wrote of their gratitude: "All of the artists I took in over the weekend were quick to impart that it was their first time performing together since the pandemic lockdown. And the audience was there every euphoric step of the way." She continued: "If an overarching theme has emerged, it is reemergence-that of both artists and audiences."

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