“This may sound crazy, but I want to go to as many Spoleto events as possible in a single day. How can I max out my Spoleto experience?”
Your challenge is set. How many Spoleto performances can you pack into one day? This suggested itinerary takes into account our on-the-go and/or out-of-town audience members. With countless performance combinations across the Festival’s 17 days, we know it can be tricky to plan an efficient schedule. Below is what an epic one-day Spoleto schedule could look like. If you can’t make this exact lineup work, that’s okay! Use it as a starting point and make adjustments to fit your schedule, interests, and budget.
SATURDAY, MAY 23
- 9:00am: Behind the Garden Gate
Start your morning by taking advantage of Behind the Garden Gate—in partnership with the Charleston Horticultural Society and The Garden Conservancy. Eight pristine private gardens will be on display for self-guided tours around the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in downtown Charleston. Plan for the last garden you visit to be nearest Church Street, since it will put you right where you need to be for your first performance of the day.
- 11:00am: Chamber Music at Dock Street Theatre
You really can’t go wrong with this Spoleto classic at the historic Dock Street Theatre. The Bank of America Chamber Music series offers the very best that the genre has to offer. Led by the exuberant and gregarious Geoff Nuttall, this late morning concert is the perfect way to kick off a busy Spoleto day.
- 12:30pm: Lunch
You’ve got a small gap between shows now, so you’ll want to fuel up for the rest of the day ahead. The walk from Dock Street Theatre to Memminger Auditorium is lined with enticing lunch possibilities, such as the newly reopened 167 Raw on King Street or Le Farfalle just down the street from your next performance.
- 2:00pm: Gravity & Other Myths at Memminger Auditorium
If the joyous sounds of chamber music followed by a nice meal are lulling you toward an afternoon nap, Gravity & Other Myths will wake you right up. Already a Spoleto favorite from past performances at the 2014 and 2018 Festivals, this Australian troupe’s adrenaline-fueled acrobatic spectacle, Out of Chaos, is guaranteed to thrill.
- 5:00pm: Until the Flood at the Emmett Robinson Theatre
Dael Orlandersmith is bringing her acclaimed one-woman play, Until the Flood, to Spoleto after successful runs in St. Louis, New York, and Edinburgh. Grappling with the aftermath of the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, this piece is based on dozens of real conversations conducted with people of the community. This late-afternoon performance is a chance to see one of this year’s most compelling works of theater, performed by Orlandersmith herself.
- 6:30pm: Coffee Break!
As this marathon day continues, you may be in need of a pick-me-up. Good news: Caviar & Bananas and Tricera Coffee are only two minutes away on George Street, and they’re serving fresh java until closing time at 7:00pm. Down a quick espresso or cappuccino and then head right back across the street to your next performance.
- 7:00pm: Music In Time: Difficult Grace at the Simons Center Recital Hall
John Kennedy’s Music in Time concert series is an eclectic collection of new and contemporary composers making waves in the world of classical music. This concert, titled Difficult Grace, features guest-cellist Seth Parker Woods and the US premiere of a concerto by Italian composer Fausto Romitelli. Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra members also feature on this concert.
- 8:15pm: Dinner
Just one block away, King Street is lined with reliable and quick food options, such as a salad at Verde or pad thai from CO. Also nearby, on Wentworth Street, is Basic Kitchen. A relative newcomer to the city’s culinary scene, this restaurant has already built a loyal following around its veggie-friendly menu. All of these options leave you just a short walk away from your next (and final!) performance of the day.
- 9:00pm: A New Orleans Jazz Celebration at the Cistern Yard
After dinner, we’re serving up some jazz for dessert. Wrapping up this epic day in an epic setting under the gorgeous live oaks of the Cistern Yard, A New Orleans Jazz Celebration is sure to be a treat. Organized by Dr. Michael White and starring his eight-piece band along with vocalist Catherine Russell, this evening’s set is a tribute to jazz pioneer Danny Barker. It’s sure to be a lively, celebratory atmosphere truly in keeping with the New Orleans jazz tradition.
“Wow, that’s a lot–bring it on!”
Tickets to these—and all—Festival performances are available online at spoletousa.org or by phone at 843.579.3100. Remember: this is just a sample itinerary to show you just how much can be packed into one day. We encourage you to browse all of the Festival’s offerings to find the experience perfect for you!
NOTE: The 2020 Festival has been cancelled. For more information, click here.