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College of Charleston School of the Arts Presents “Arts Under the Oaks” Festival

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The inaugural “College of Charleston School of the Arts Festival: Arts under the Oaks” will offer an entertaining day of arts experiences for Lowcountry audiences. Featuring performances by the College’s department of music alongside the department of theatre and dance, the event will take place on April 10th and 11th, 10 am – 6 pm at the College of Charleston Stono Preserve, 5297 Dixie Plantation Rd., Meggett, SC. A livestream option will be available, as well.

“Arts under the Oaks” will feature mainstage performances and sideshow pop-up events throughout the day. Mainstage shows will be safely interactive with the audience, including:

“Unbeatable”: A Musical Theatre Showcase – The pandemic isn’t keeping these “unbeatable” musicians from creating and performing! Directed by theatre faculty member Laura Turner, the show will carry the “unbeatable” theme with three main groups of songs that play on beats or rhythms: “Can’t Stop the Beat,” “We Got the Beat” and “I Got Rhythm.” This performance of classic and contemporary musical theatre songs mixes in audience participation, a little dance, and some stories to lift spirits and remind guests of a time before masks.

“Finding Place”: A Dance Concert – Comprised of original dances choreographed by students, this concert investigates self, particularly in times of isolation and constant change. How do we stay grounded and what has become “our place”? When is it safe for our close circle to expand? Where do we go next? Directed by dance professor Kristin Alexander, “Finding Place” exemplifies resilience of self and others through contemporary dance work.

“Le Nozze di Figaro”: College of Charleston Opera – This famed opera by Mozart is a wondrous, intricate comedy of disguises, lost tokens of love and mistaken identity. Under the leadership of the College’s Director of Opera Saundra DeAthos-Meers, Orchestra Director Yuriy Bekker, and Associate Professor of Theatre Evan Parry, “Le Nozze di Figaro” is deftly performed social distance-style by outstanding voice students, with stunning choreography by Gretchen McLaine and Pamela O’Briant, alongside professional and student orchestral musicians. The show has over-the-top dramatic story elements often found in modern-day comedies on the screen: a marriage contract between a man and someone who turns out to be his mother, a master trying to enjoy physical passion with his wife’s maidservant (a lusty boy who dresses as a woman to stay close to the woman he loves), and a pin which clasps a “love letter” that ends up in the wrong hands. Supertitles will help guests follow along the hilarious storyline.

Interspersed on the majestic grounds will be sideshow events including skilled fight choreography, sonnet recitations, “Three Little Pigs”: Children’s Opera based on the music of Mozart, and costumed students entertaining guests. Visitors can also tour the historic grounds of the idyllic Stono Preserve, while learning how the College currently manages the landscape and preserves the integrity of the nearly 881-acre property along the Stono River and the Intercoastal Waterway. The property is historically and archaeologically meaningful and holds tremendous potential for better understanding a diverse range of topics in South Carolina Lowcountry history.

Tickets are available for the in-person event at full and half-day costs. In-Person tickets for the general public are $50 all-day and $25 half-day (morning or afternoon options). In-person tickets for College of Charleston faculty, staff, and students are $20 all-day and $10 half-day.

Livestream tickets to view mainstage events and glimpses of sideshow events for the general public are $20 all-day and for College faculty, staff, and students are $10 all-day.

Tickets go on sale on March 15 and will not be sold at the gate. Performance schedule and ticket links are available at go.cofc.edu/artsfestival. For more information contact the George Street Box Office at [email protected] or (843) 953-4726.

Capacity will be limited, and face coverings along with a distance of six feet must be maintained at all times between participants.

To help make the day outdoors more comfortable, guests should bring items such as sunscreen, hand wipes, bug spray, chairs or blanket, and clothing for variable spring temperatures. Portable restrooms will be on site. Guests may bring their own food and water supplies (no alcohol permitted) as there will be no food or beverage concessions available. Attendees should also be aware of the rugged, natural terrain at Stono Preserve as they will be fully immersed in the rustic outdoors.

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