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City of Charleston News Flash

Posted on: May 13, 2018

Piccolo Spoleto Announces Details of 2018 Festival

The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs today released details of the upcoming 2018 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, which opens on May 25 and runs through June 10, 2018, in Charleston, South Carolina. The Festival program is available for digital download with online advance ticketing on www.piccolospoleto.com. Walk-up box office operations will commence on Tuesday, May 1 at the Charleston Gaillard Center (95 Calhoun St.).

Annually presenting more than 500 performing, literary, and visual arts events, the 17-day Piccolo Spoleto Festival transforms Charleston into a celebration of the cultural vitality and diversity of the South Carolina Lowcountry. With a focus on accessibility and community participation in the arts, Piccolo Spoleto is the official outreach arm of Spoleto Festival USA.

Commenting on Piccolo Spoleto, Mayor John J. Tecklenburg noted, “Piccolo Spoleto remains a labor of love that relies on the talents and dedicated hard work of artists and arts enthusiasts throughout our community. That’s why, decades later, Piccolo Spoleto continues to offer us all treasured moments of inspiration, reflection and beauty.”

The full program of ticketed and free admission Festival events may be viewed online at piccolospoleto.com. Copies of the program guide are available by request [email; phone: (843) 724-7305] and will be available from May 1 at the Piccolo Spoleto box office [Gaillard Center, 95 Calhoun Street], Office of Cultural Affairs [75 Calhoun Street, Suite 3800], other City offices and Recreation facilities, and the Charleston Visitor Center.

Regarding the 2018 Piccolo Spoleto Festival line-up, the City’s Director of Cultural Affairs, Scott Watson, remarked, “For the 40th installment of Piccolo Spoleto, we are delighted that festival traditions, like Sunset Serenade with the CSO at the US Custom House and the Sundown Poetry Series at the Dock Street Theatre Courtyard, will complement new curatorial directions and new artistic voices.” Watson continued, “The founding spirit of Piccolo Spoleto remains our muse, and we look forward to sharing these diverse cultural programs and community events with all of Charleston as well as those who year after year visit the Lowcountry for these singular Festival experiences.”

Key dates in the run-up to the start of the Festival include:

  • Tuesday, May 1, 9am-5pm: Opening of Piccolo Spoleto in-person box office sales at the Gaillard Center (95 Calhoun Street), alongside the Spoleto Festival USA box office, with ticket sales also available online and via phone;
  • Sunday, May 6, 4pm: Piccolo Spoleto Festival Kiawah Preview at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Johns Island; free admission with advance reservation. More information at (843) 768-9166.

Among the many highlights of this year’s line-up, festival-goers can look forward to the numerous admission-free festival traditions that occur each year including:

  • Friday, May 25, 8pm: Sunset Serenade at the US Custom House, the annual Piccolo Spoleto curtain raiser with a lively evening of music from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Ken Lam and Principal Pops Conductor Yuriy Bekker; and
  • Saturday, May 26, 10am-3pm: Family Day at Marion Square, a perfect opportunity for younger Piccolo fans to get in on the act with hands-on activities and family-friendly performances, punctuated by the arrival of the Feed & Seed Marching Abominable.
  • Saturday, June 9, 5pm: Piccolo Spoleto Finale in Hampton Park, with a highly-danceable musical program featuring many of Charleston’s finest talents, with styles ranging from hip-hop to Americana to classic soul and R&B.

Free festival programming will also be on offer in Summerville on Saturday, June 2 for a Piccolo Spoleto at Nexton concert. Additionally, Franke at Seaside in Mount Pleasant and Bishop Gadsden on James Island curate and host free Piccolo Spoleto concert series for their residents and visitors alike. Piccolo programming will also be presented on Wednesday afternoons during the Festival at the West Ashley Farmers Market at Ackerman Park (55 Sycamore Avenue).

While many Piccolo Spoleto events make use of landmark venues and historic churches in downtown Charleston, the 2018 Festival also includes several notable opportunities off of the Peninsula, with ticketed events including:

  • June 1, 7pm: The Sound of Charleston in West Ashley, at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer;
  • May 31, 7pm: The Charlestones present Love is in the Air, at John Wesley United Methodist;
  • May 29 & 30, 7pm & 9pm; Cabaret programming presented by What If? Productions and Nakeshia Daniel at The Schoolhouse in West Ashley;
  • Throughout the Festival: Musical theatre performances at Charleston Performing Arts Center on Folly Road in James Island.

As with past festivals, visitors can expect a comprehensive music line-up highlighting everything from the Baroque to contemporary genres. Both admission-free and ticketed classical and choral concerts include a range of seasoned artists and the rising virtuosi featured in the annual youth music recitals.

Piccolo is thrilled to collaborate with local theatres that produce and curate a variety of revivals and premieres, including partnerships with: 

  • Footlight Players, which is producing and hosting musicals, dramas, dance and comedies;
  • Threshold Repertory Company, whose intimate space is perfect for imaginative work by local theatre makers;
  • PURE Theatre, which will stage topical and timely dramas while hosting visiting productions;
  • The annual Stelle di Domani series at the College of Charleston featuring student work with support from alumni and faculty artists; and
  • Piccolo Fringe at Theatre 99, including perennial audience favorites like The Complete History of Charleston for Morons and One Man Star Wars.

Visual arts and artisan crafts at the festival showcase a range of local talent across diverse media:

  • City Gallery hosts the A Dialogue in Black & White, curated by Torreah “Cookie” Washington, assembling work by 66 invited artists addressing social topics;
  • Exhibitions at partner institutions including the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art, Redux Contemporary Art Center, Saul Alexander Gallery/Charleston County Public Library, Cone 10 Studios;
  • The signature Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Marion Square, which brings together a dozens of local and regional artists exhibiting and selling their work throughout the Festival; and
  • The Piccolo Spoleto Craft Exhibition at Wragg Square, this year on view for the four days of the opening holiday weekend, running May 25 to 28, with forty participating craft artists.

The events listed in this release only represent a portion of the full line-up. Programs, artists, and venues are subject to change without notice.

About Piccolo Spoleto

Piccolo Spoleto, the official outreach arm of Spoleto Festival USA, was founded in 1979 by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and has been produced and directed by the Office of Cultural Affairs over its 39-year history. Piccolo’s mission is to provide access to the Spoleto Festival USA experience for everyone, regardless of their economic, social or physical circumstances and to provide the opportunity for excellent local and regional artists, writers and performers to be showcased during the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

Festival Sponsors 

The 2018 Piccolo Spoleto Festival is presented by The City of Charleston, and is funded, in part, by grants from the City of Charleston, County of Charleston, the Town of Kiawah Island, and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Festival is also supported by Title Sponsors The Boeing Company and Publix Super Markets Charities; as well as the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; Nexton; South Carolina Federal Credit Union; The InterTech Group; The Gadsden and Total Wine & More.

How to Buy Tickets

Advance tickets may be purchased online at piccolospoleto.com and by phone through OvationTix at (866) 811-4111 (additional handling fees may apply). In-person ticket sales commence Tuesday, May 1 at the Gaillard Center, located at 95 Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston. Box Office hours will be May 1-June 9, 9am-5pm daily. For additional ticket and schedule information, call (843) 724-7305, email or visit piccolospoleto.com.

Follow the Festival

Attendees are encouraged to follow the festival online to stay up to date with all the latest information, including additions, promotional offers and special pop-up events. To sign up for the Piccolo Spoleto e-newsletter, visit piccolospoleto.com or call the Office of Cultural Affairs at (843) 724-7305. Events will additionally be promoted via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.



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