Longtime Spoleto Festival director Nigel Redden retiring in 2021

Spoleto never got to hold a 2020 opening ceremony after the festival was canceled due to the pandemic | Photo by Leigh Webber, Courtesy Spoleto

Spoleto Festival USA’s longtime General Director Nigel Redden will step down from his position in October 2021, the festival announced Thursday. Redden has held the general director position at the festival since 1995.

“The cancellation of the 2020 Festival and the enforced isolation of the last several months have made me realize that, after nearly 35 years since I first joined Spoleto Festival USA, it is time for me to retire,” Redden said in a press release. “The Festival continues to mean an enormous amount to me — my first real job was working as a studente assistente at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, starting in 1969. I have no doubt the Festival will continue to thrive, and I will be excited to see how the organization evolves under new leadership.”

Redden first started with Spoleto in 1986 | Photo by Leigh Webber, Courtesy Spoleto

Redden has been an integral part of Charleston’s world-class arts festival since 1986, when he joined as general manager. He departed in 1991, but returned in 1995 after the festival had “suffered significant deficits.” Redden helped the event build endowments, renovate venues like Dock Street Theatre and the Charleston Gaillard Center and staged many world and U.S. premiere productions.

John Kennedy, the festival’s resident conductor and director of orchestral activities said: “Nigel has brought to the Festival a perspective rooted in a love for Charleston and a love for the arts. In addition to his broad and generous view of what the arts can be, he possesses a deep knowledge of history and global culture, which has had an enduring impact on Spoleto’s programming and ethos. He is an unfailing ally of artists, encouraging us to take chances and placing faith in our dreams.”

Spoleto has not yet named a replacement for Redden, but Bill Medich, Chairman of the Board of Spoleto Festival USA said the search for a new general director will begin immediately.

“Nigel’s successful tenure, along with the Festival’s sterling reputation and organizational and financial strength, puts Spoleto Festival USA in a position to attract the highest caliber candidates,” said Medich.

Support the Charleston City Paper

We’ve been covering Charleston since 1997 and plan to be here with the latest and Best of Charleston for many years to come. In a time where local journalism is struggling, the City Paper is investing in the future of Charleston as a place where diverse, engaging views can flourish. We can't do it without our readers. If you'd like to support local, independent journalism:



The Citadel recruits an acting coach and a retired drill sergeant for Biloxi Blues

Vincent Harris

Fri. Oct. 30 – Sun. Nov. 17:30 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.), 3 p.m. (Sun.)$30, $20 (students)South of Broadway Theatre Co.(843) 745-0317southofbroadway.com If playwright Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play Brighton Beach Memoirs is his Star Wars, think of 1984’s Biloxi Blues as his Empire Strikes Back. The play, set in 1945, tells the story of young Brooklynite […]


Before You Go: New cranes in N. Charleston; Positive rate tops 15%

South Carolina health officials reported 636 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday and 32 additional confirmed deaths.

Marcus Amaker, Charlton Singleton talk justice in music in new series

Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker and Charlton Singleton of Gullah band Ranky Tanky will release the first three episodes of their new series “Raising the Volume” on Oct. 28.

More than 1 million SC voters have already cast ballots

South Carolina is approaching half the total record turnout it saw in 2016 from absentee ballots alone with a little less than a week until the polls close for good. In total, nearly a third of registered voters in the state have already cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election. In 2016, 2.1 million votes […]

10/28 COVID-19 update: 15.5% positive, 636 cases; 32 deaths

COVID-19 updates: South Carolina health officials reported 636 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, with 32 additional confirmed deaths. With 4,096 tests on Wednesday, 15.5 percent came back positive. As of 1:48 p.m. Oct. 28, via S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control:Confirmed cases in S.C.:  165,477 (+636)Positive tests in Charleston County (total): 16,676 (+27)Negative tests in S.C.: 1,695,189Deaths in S.C. […]