Photo by Leigh Webber courtesy Spoleto Festival USA

Spoleto Festival USA announced Nov. 2 four leadership team additions ahead of its 47th season: lead producer, chief financial officer, chief operating officer and chief marketing officer.

“As we look to build upon our institution’s profound legacy, I am thrilled to welcome these talented and accomplished leaders to Spoleto,” said Mena Mark Hanna, general director and CEO of Spoleto.  

America’s premier performing arts festival, Spoleto Festival USA, has filled Charleston’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances every year since 1977. 

The organization is dedicated to providing performance opportunities for established artists, while being a launch pad for young talent. It is committed to all forms of performing arts, including: opera, theater, dance, chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz. 

The festival hopes the four new leadership positions will help Spoleto continue to bring excellent performances and experiences to Charleston. 

“Their combined expertise in the cultural nonprofit sphere will galvanize the festival and propel its next chapter,” Hanna said.

The new members of the Spoleto Festival USA leadership team are:  

Brent Dickman as chief financial officer

Dickman has more than 30 years of experience in education and nonprofit financial leadership, previously holding positions at Yale Law School, Yale University, the University of Michigan and Union Theological Seminary. 

In recent years, he worked with PKF O’Connor Davies to assist clients in the higher education and nonprofit sectors with strategic planning, financial modeling and mergers. He has also served as the interim chief financial officer at the Jewish Museum in New York City. 

Dickman is taking over for Tasha Gandy, who took a new opportunity this summer at the Charleston Gaillard Center.

Dexter Foxworth as chief operating officer

Foxworth has managed Spoleto’s operations of Festival Hall since 2022. He will now step into the new role of chief operating officer, overseeing all operations and logistics. 

Previous to joining Spoleto, Foxworth oversaw more than 2,500 events annually in Jefferson County, Colo. He has worked with brands such as Cirque du Soleil, ABC and the Disney Company on large-scale projects. Foxworth was also a critical team member on projects that were awarded two daytime Emmy Awards and a Themed Entertainment Association Award. 

Liz Keller-Tripp as lead producer

Keller-Tripp will step into the lead producer role, a new position which combines the previous roles of director of artistic planning and operations and director of production.

Keller-Tripp will be responsible for all programmatic elements, stage management and production operations. 

During her time as director of performance services at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, she built and led a new department in theater and opera production, concert logistics, performance technology and strategic planning. 

She also won a Grammy Award in 2016 for her recording of “Sing Me Home” and was a Spoleto Festival USA orchestra management apprentice in 2004.

Katharine Laidlaw as chief marketing officer

Laidlaw, an Emmy-winning producer and brand strategist rounds out the new additions to the leadership team as the new chief marketing officer. 

Previously with the Interlochen Center for the Arts and University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Laidlaw was responsible for promoting more than 600 events a year, with a goal of generating more than $3 million annually for student scholarships. 

Her credits include eight Tony-nominated productions and the Broadway premiere of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, in addition to several West End, Off-Broadway, and regional productions. She has served also as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. 

In coming months, the new team members will step into their new roles, including Hanna who recently replaced longtime organization head Nigel Redden. Redden retired in 2021 after 35 years with the organization. 

The leadership team will also follow a new strategic planning process, which is expected to be ready by February. 

Spoleto Festival USA’s 47th season is set to run May 26 to June 11, 2023. For additional information, visit spoletousa.org


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City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.