October 4-November 2 – “Above the Radar”

From October 4 through November 2, 2019, the Charleston Arts Festival, in collaboration with Charleston magazine, is proud to partner for a second time with Redux Contemporary Art Center in mounting “Above the Radar” as the signature visual arts offering of CAF’s fourth season.

“Above the Radar” has been conceived to be a revisiting of the creativity of the eighteen artists who were selected for inclusion in Charleston’s landmark 2006 and 2011 “Under the Radar” print features and City Gallery shows.  Exhibiting artists from the class of 2006: Adrienne Antonson, Townsend Davidson, Kat Hastie Williamson, Alice Keeney, Julie Klaper, Katie Leonard, Karin Olah, Joel Parker, and Shannon Wood.  Featured artists from 2011: Donna Hurt, Rebecca West Fraser, Nina Garner, Greg Hart, Alan Jackson, Salter Scharstein, and Lauren Frances Moore Evans.  

Redux Contemporary Art Center, 1056 King Street – October 4, Opening 5:00-8:00 PM.

This event is free.

“Another Opening, Another Show”

The Charleston Arts Festival is very proud to announce its first-ever foray into the arena of theatre in partnering with three of the city’s premier theatre companies: What If? Productions, PURE Theatre, and the Footlight Players.  Each of these unique and distinctive companies will be producing works aligned with the distinct mission of their company.

September 20-29 – Wonder of the World

What If? Productions will be mounting the regional premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s fantastic satire, Wonder of the World, as the opening production of their tenth anniversary season.  Following its much-lauded Off-Broadway debut in 2001, Wonder of the World has received numerous revivals since and has been characterized thus: “Smart, funny, and twisted, Wonder of the World is refreshingly original.”

Nothing will prepare you for the dirty little secret Cass discovers in her husband’s sweater drawer. It is so shocking that our heroine has no choice but to flee to the honeymoon capital of the world in a frantic search for the life she thinks she missed out on. It’s a wild ride to Niagara Falls in a barrel of laughs as Cass embarks on a journey of self-discovery that has her crossing paths with blithely suicidal alcoholic Lois, a lonely tour-boat captain, a pair of bickering private detectives, and a strange caper involving a gargantuan jar of peanut butter, all of which pushes her perilously close to the water’s edge.

Directed by PURE Theatre ensemble member Erin Wilson (Stupid F**king Bird) and featuring a cast of familiar What If? favorites, including a mini-reunion of the cast of What If? cult-classic Hearts Full of Blood (Beth Curley, Tara Denton and Kyle Barnette), as well as some fabulous new faces, Wonder of the World is the bizarro world Thelma & Louis-type summer comedy that’s been missing in your life!

Queen Street Playhouse, 20 Queen Street


October 2-5 – Choir Boy

As the second offering of its landmark sixteenth season, PURE Theatre will be mounting the regional premiere of Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s acclaimed, Tony Award-nominated Choir Boy as a featured offering of the Moja Festival.  Choir Boy will be directed by Sharon Graci, artistic director and co-founder of PURE Theatre. 

The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is dedicated to the creation of strong, ethical black men. Pharus wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as leader of the school’s legendary gospel choir. Can he find his way inside the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key? Nominated for 4 Tony Awards including Best Play

“Captivatingly Intimate!” –NY1

“Soulful and sensual!” –The Hollywood Reporter

Choir Boy raises a joyful new voice.” –NY Times  Critics Pick

Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church Street

October 11-27 – Born Yesterday

The Footlight Players are elated to mount the classic, Born Yesterday as an offering of their eighty-eighth season.   Following its smash 1946 Broadway premiere, Garson Kanin’s theatrical gem ran for three years and has since spawned innumerable revivals.  This raucous comedy also provided the source material for two motion picture adaptations including the classic 1950 version starring a luminous Judy Holliday. 

Born Yesterday follows an uncouth, corrupt Harry Brock as he brings his showgirl mistress, Billie Dawn, to Washington, D.C.  When Billie’s ignorance/naivete becomes a liability to Harry’s business dealings, he hires a journalist, Paul Verrall, to educate his girlfriend.  In the process of learning, Billie Dawn realizes how corrupt Harry is and begins interfering with his plans to bribe a Congressman into passing legislation that would allow Brock’s business to make more money.    

Queen Street Playhouse, 20 Queen Street

October 19 – CONCOCTION

As an homage to its uber-successful JAIL BREAK series, the Charleston Arts Festival will return to The Royal American with its signature live music and dance extravaganza, CONCOCTION, featuring Charleston super-performers:  Beach Tiger, The Royal Tinfoil, and The Mechanical River Dream Band.  

The Royal American, 970 Morrison Drive

Show starts at 9:15pm

Tickets: $10.00 advance; $12.00 DOS.


Prolific rockers Umphrey’s McGee are proud to announce The Woodlands Fall Music & Arts Festival, an official Charleston Arts Festival Event. In addition to two nights—four sets total—of Umphrey’s McGee, The Woodlands lineup includes Big Something, CBDB, Empire Strikes Brass, Heather Gillis Band, Manic Focus, Runaway Gin, Spafford, Sunsquabi, The Movement, The New Deal, Voodoo Visionary, and Zach Deputy, with more artists to be announced in the coming weeks. The Woodlands reaches beyond your typical weekend music festival, offering festival-goers the opportunity to rent a kayak to fish on two stocked lakes, go for a hike on miles of wooded trails, or hop on a stand-up paddleboard and enjoy a view of both stages from out on the water, and if being lazy is the desired activity, Eagles Nest Outfitters will be on hand, providing a plethora of hammock options for fans to lounge.

What would a Charleston festival be without creative, delicious, Lowcountry food? The Woodlands Festival is proud to partner with some of Charleston’s finest culinary curators to offer vast food options, from local food trucks and neighborhood restaurants, offering fans from around the country a taste of Charleston. The Woodlands has also partnered with the Charleston Arts Festival to offer a creative spin on the festival experience. Charleston Arts Festival strives to highlight the best and the brightest of “all things creative” in Charleston and the Lowcountry in the diverse disciplines of visual art, dance, music, comedy, culinary, film, and drama. In addition to curating a world-class musical lineup, The Woodlands will most certainly showcase the best of everything Charleston has to offer—nature, food, art, music, and more. 

Fans who decide to roll in style with a VIP ticket will receive a two-day festival ticket, access to VIP lounge and designated viewing areas, VIP indoor bathrooms, all-day complimentary refreshments, discounted beverages at VIP bars, exclusive merchandise items, and access to a VIP happy hour. 

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November 9 – Beat Hunger 2: I Heart Hungry Kids Fundraiser

As a continuation of its annual focus on community-based philanthropy, the Charleston Arts Festival will be partnering with our stellar local non-profit, I Heart Hungry Kids, to produce this family-friendly fun and music fest at the Royal American.   Music will be provided by DJ Mosaic (Wes Pickell) and Professor Ping (Josh Silverman) with surprise musical guests to be announced.  Snacks will be available for our youngest attendees and Royal American’s bar and kitchen will be open for adult fare.    

The Royal American 970 Morrison Drive – 2:00 PM–5:00 PM 

Free Admission with donation of one food item per person 

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November 12 – PechaKucha 35

As the final offering of the Charleston Arts Festival fourth season and as the ELEVENTH anniversary of our PechaKuchas, this exciting evening will feature an array of Charleston’s most stellar creatives:  Taylor McCleskey, front-man of Beach Tiger; “Cookie” Torreah Washington, art quilter and activist; Kyle Barnette, Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director of What If? Productions; Giovanna de Luca, Associate Professor of Italian and Film, Director of the Italian Studies Program, and Artistic Director of the Nuovo Italiano Film Festival at the College of Charleston; Aaron Zych, owner of Heart of Gold Gallery; Kali Holloway, Senior Director, Make It Right Project;  Michele Seekings, owner of SPIRE Art Services and co-founder of INTRO; Jackson, Gabe, and Riley Silverman, prime movers behind the I Heart Hungry Kids project.  These presentations will fall within PechaKucha’s classic six minute-forty second formatting. 

Stephanie Burt of The Southern Fork will be our emcee and Professor Ping will be DJing.

Charleston Music Hall, 37 John Street  – Doors: 7:00 PM; presentations: 7:30 PM. 

Tickets: $12.00 advance; $14.00 DOS