header image

Spoleto Festival USA

Posted by: Jennifer Stevens | May 17, 2012 | No Comment |

Spoleto Festival USA is one of the world’s major performing arts festivals. The annual 17-day event, held in Charleston, showcases both emerging and established artists in a variety of fields. Festival events include performances of opera, theater, dance, and jazz, to name a few.

The College has been involved with Spoleto since the Festival’s inception in 1977 by Gian Carlo Menotti. From providing event venues, rehearsal space, and housing accommodations, Spoleto has always been on campus in some form or fashion.

Over the years, the College has forged a flourishing partnership with Spoleto. The College provides event facilities and housing for Festival participants, two things that are difficult to secure in Charleston during the busy summer months. Since the Festival is an international event, everything that it brings to the local area it also brings to the College.  In other words, the College gains both national and international exposure.

When Spoleto first started in 1977, it was run out of the President’s Office and lasted 12 days. Under the leadership of former President Theodore Stern, Spoleto utilized Stern’s office as the Festival’s headquarters. The Festival was held between Commencement and summer school so that it could use the College’s facilities. The first full Festival began in 1978 with a budget of $640,000. This year’s budget is $6.4 Million.

Beginning in November, seven months before opening night, Business and Auxiliary Services works with Spoleto to put general dates on the calendar. Because of the high volume of Festival activity on campus, schedules must be coordinated as to not conflict with classes and other College events. The office is responsible for the Spoleto contract with the College each year and serves as the primary liaison between the College and Spoleto for all campus venues.

The Festival requires collective efforts from Business and Auxiliary Services, Residence Life, Institutional Events, Public Safety, Parking Services, and the Registrar’s Office. As snags arise, Jan Brewton, Director of Business and Auxiliary Services, is on call to find resolutions. At Festival’s end, Brewton’s office puts together the campus-wide invoice and works to receive payment no later than August 15.

In addition to drafting the contract and establishing fees, Business and Auxiliary Services coordinates housing with Residence Life. Traditionally, production staff resides in the historical houses, while performers stay in residence halls. Performers will occupy McConnell Hall for the 2012 season. These details are set closer to the Festival kick-off once the schedule is tightened up and Residence Life knows how many students will still be in residence halls following Commencement.

Many Festival events are held on-campus in spaces such as Sottile Theatre, the Cistern Yard, and the Simons Center. This year, the Sottile Theatre is fully utilized by the Spoleto Festival and is currently being prepared to host three different shows – an opera, the Festival Orchestra’s performances, and a cabaret circus. As usual, the Cistern Yard will be home to the Wells Fargo Jazz Series.

In 2010, the College began addressing the technical needs of the Sottile Theatre by soliciting an in-depth technical and theatrical feasibility study.   Spoleto’s production team played an integral role in the planning process. During the first phase of the renovation process, which addressed acoustical and life safety issues, original murals, painted by Italian artists, were discovered.  The College hopes to raise private funds to restore the murals in the future.

As production teams and performers occupy campus in the upcoming weeks, the College looks forward to yet another successful year working with the Spoleto Festival.

under: Business Affairs
Tags: , , ,

Leave a response -

Your response:


Skip to toolbar