Mount Pleasant Magazine May/June 2021

17 www. ReadMPM. com | www. VOICE forRea l Es tate. com | www.MountPl easantBu i l der s . com I magine getting a sneak- preview of your life at the age of 14. That’s when Nigel Redden first traveled to Spoleto, Italy during a school trip and happened upon a series of sculptures by the likes of Alexander Calder and David Smith, commissioned for the 1962 Festival dei due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds). “The juxtaposition of art to setting was fascinating. You saw the city and the pieces in a completely different way. That’s the same intention we have in Charleston,” Redden said. Spoleto, Italy is a hilly, medieval jewel of a town and, yes, an old world apart from low-lying Charleston, South Carolina — yet there is something very symbiotic about the two locations. Redden returned to Spoleto and started working for the festival when he was 18 and eventually became the American manager for five years. He wasn’t part of the decision to make Charleston the ‘companion place’ but considers it an “absolutely brilliant choice. It’s comparable in that it is a city that has a sense of self, a walkable city. While Spoleto had its Umbrians and Romans and so forth over the years, there is no other American city that has had the singular impact that Charleston had in this country through the end of the Civil War.” Call it optimism that prompted Redden and his team to commit to planning for this season last August. He admitted they thought everything would be further along in terms of vaccines and openings. “We were hoping at least to be in more theatres at limited-capacity, but that is simply not the case.” They rejiggered the festival repeatedly over the past eight months and started working with a team of MUSC advisers about five months ago. “When you work all year-round to make 17 days fabulous, it would be devastating to cancel it.” Instead, they forged forward and Redden is thrilled to present what he finds to be a good representation “of what we do in terms of theatre, dance and music.” There will be the usual suspects at the College of BY PAMELA JOUAN 17 Glorious Days Spoleto Festival USA’s Nigel Redden Talks About This Year’s Return Ni ge l Redden . Photo by Le i gh Webbe r.