Spoleto Festival USA has been bringing international talent — we’re talking the cream of the creative crop — to Charleston’s shores since 1977. This year’s lineup is as impressive as ever, ranging from the U.S. premiere of Italian opera Pia de’ Tolomei to a heady contemporary opera inspired by a “tree of codes” to politically infused hip-hop to a ballet featuring an S.C. native New York City Ballet Principal Dancer. And then some.

But, beyond all the worldly, immersive experiences Spoleto is known for bringing to our fine city, perhaps even more notable is their close-to-home outreach. In the past decade, Spoleto has provided complimentary tickets (often more than 800 each season) to a variety of community based organizations and nonprofits through its Open Stage Door Program.

This year, the festival, in an “effort to build audiences for the future,” has partnered with several Charleston area schools — Meeting Street Academy, Memminger Elementary School of Global Studies, Sanders-Clyde Creative Arts School, Wando High School, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston Jazz Academy, and College of Charleston.

“In the face of tightening school budgets for arts initiatives, the Festival is proud to offer its most robust community-outreach efforts in recent years,” said Festival General Director Nigel Redden. “With continued generous support from private donors, the Festival hopes to expand these programs in future seasons.”

Check out the lineup of programs below:

Bank of America Chamber Music Series at Memminger Elementary

Tues. May 22 and Wed. May 23 (TBA)

1-2 p.m.

Chamber Music series artists Geoff Nutall, Christopher Costanza, Owen Dalby, and James Austin Smith instruct an in-school music class for third and fifth grade students. The following day, at a time TBA, the Australian physical theater company Gravity & Other Myths will demo for 70 students different aspects of physical theater.

Bank of America Chamber Music at Wando and SOA

Tues. May 22

5-6:30 p.m.

Bank of America Chamber Music series oboist James Austin Smith will lead an advanced-level oboe master class. Six oboists from Wando and SOA will participate in the 90 minute session, and several middle school students from Moultrie, SOA, and Thomas C. Cario will observe.

Bank of America Chamber Music at Sanders Clyde Elementary

Wed. May 23

9-11 a.m.

Geoff Nutall, Christopher Costanza, James Austin Smith, and Owen Dalby will lead two workshops for 40 fifth grade music students. Then, on May 30, the students will attend the Chamber Music Concert at Dock Street Theatre — student tickets to this performance were funded by private donors.

Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company with Meeting Street Academy

Wed. May 23

2-3:30 p.m.

Meeting Street Academy third through fifth graders will take a field trip to the Emmett Robinson Theatre for a behind the scenes puppet workshop (!) with the world renowned puppeteers, Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company. Students will learn about the history and construction of marionettes, costumes, and scenery, and then will watch a short performance.

Trio 3 with Charleston Jazz Academy

Mon. June 4

6-7 p.m.

Bassist Reggie Workman of Trio 3 offers a lecture for students of the Charleston Jazz Academy. The students of CJA will be offered complimentary tickets to a handful of related Spoleto events/concerts.

In addition to these K-12 school programs, the festival will also be sponsoring a special Spoleto Festival USA Azure Performance Sun. June 10 at 9:30 a.m. Geoff Nuttall, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and select Bank of America Chamber musicians will present a free autism-friendly performance at the Dock Street Theatre. Those interested in attending the performance should contact Whitley Lewis at wlewis@spoletousa.org.

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