“In the School of the Arts we have a fun motto: We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge,” says Dr. Boone Hopkins, who stepped into his new role as dean of the School of the Arts this fall. But most of the nearly 200 arts and cultural events that await the Spartanburg community this year at Converse College are actually free admission.
On tap is a dynamic variety of new works and revitalized classics in music, art, theatre and dance. “This season features some of our most exciting collaborations to date,” says Hopkins. “From the Flutists onstage in a Shakespearean comedy to Can-Can dancers in an Operetta to Projected Photography over Ballerinas, audiences can expect to see our faculty and student artists crafting compelling partnerships across the arts that are highly engaging and entertaining.”
“This season features some of our most exciting collaborations to date.”
Converse also collaborates on productions with community organizations like Ballet Spartanburg, the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Oakbrook Preparatory School. “We join with partner organizations to connect our work with the vibrant scene in Spartanburg. Our work as artists grows when we engage with the community that we serve, so we want our events to provide opportunities for Spartanburg to come together and celebrate.”
The full season listing is online at the School of the Arts’ cultural events website, where you can also join the email list for monthly updates.
“We look forward to an exciting season where audiences are leaning forward in anticipation of the next event,” Hopkins says. “We hope to see our community there for every moment.”
This sampling of events offers a taste of all that awaits:
The Carlos Moseley Chamber Music Series brings world-renowned musicians to Daniel Recital Hall, featuring The Dover Quartet (Sep. 28), Trio Solari (Nov. 16), Olga Kern (Mar. 7) and The American Chamber Players (Apr. 18). These four concerts are by subscription only and are followed by champagne receptions that offer guests the opportunity to meet the performers.
Disordered Functions (Sep. 24 – Oct. 22) by Shannon Rae Lindsey will be on view in The Milliken Art Gallery. This exhibition will create large-scale, site-specific installations that respond to and expose elements of the gallery. Through installation, sculpture, and drawing, Lindsey’s work embodies notions of disorder through man-made construction materials that challenge their conventional context, setting, and utility.
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (Nov. 18-22) Bring your flip-flops and sunscreen to the coast of Illyria as Theatre Converse transforms the Hazel B. Abbott Theater into a Swinging 1960s Beach Party. One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, Twelfth Night asks enduring questions about identity and belonging as separated twins navigate a sea of quirky characters to discover true love. Our production sets this raucous comedy in 1967 with Beach Boys tunes performed live onstage by the Converse College Flute Ensemble. “If music be the food of love, play on.” See you at the beach for a feast of music, laughter, and fun.
The Merry Widow (Jan. 22-24) Enjoy an enchanting evening of vibrant dancing and clever comedy set to a rich, tuneful score as Converse Opera Theatre, in collaboration with the Spartanburg Repertory Company, presents Franz Lehar’s perennially popular operetta. With a sharp wit and intuition, a wealthy widow cuts through superficial suitors to expose the power and romance of staying true to oneself. The Merry Widow has effectively defined the genre of light classical music since its premiere in 1905 and our production will reimagine the piece through the unique vision of director and recent Petrie School of Music graduate, Luke Browder.
The Home Project (Feb. 17-21) Photography, song, story, and dance collide in this original performance written and created by the Converse community. The Home Project is a devised theatre production that explores the idea, dream, memory, and the sometimes-crushing reality of home. How do our homes shape us? What constitutes home? What does home mean today? Theatre Converse engages these powerful human questions to create an original production that soars with emotion, power, and hope.
Young Women in Art (Mar. 19) Artists from across the state of South Carolina exhibit their work in the Milliken Gallery in this selective showcase. Featuring the talents of up-and-coming artists, the faculty of the Department of Art & Design will curate this exhibition to feature new works in photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, and ceramics. Join us to see the artists that will be redefining the visual arts in our state.
Converse Symphony Orchestra and Converse Wind Ensemble (May 2) Exciting young conductors have taken the baton in our instrumental ensembles this year. Dr. Susana Lalama begins her second year as director of the Converse Wind Ensemble (CWE), joining us from the University of Miami. John Concklin is the new director of the Converse Symphony Orchestra (CSO) this year and he is a member of the Greenville Symphony with a Master’s in Conducting from the Yale School of Music and he was a Conducting Assistant at the Cleveland Institute. Both conductors bring fresh energy and perspective to the instrumental ensembles. CWE concerts are Nov. 9 and Mar. 21. CSO concerts are Oct. 8, Nov. 23, and Mar. 17; the two groups share a joint concert May 2.
Urinetown: the Musical (Apr. 20-24) A side-splitting send-up of greed, love, revolution (and musicals!), in a time when water is worth its weight in gold. Theatre Converse presents Urinetown, a hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself. Hilariously funny and touchingly honest, Urinetown provides a fresh perspective on one of America’s greatest art forms.