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Spring is a wonderful time to visit Charleston, South Carolina, for several reasons. For starters, it’s not unbearably hot yet. Many of the College of Charleston students have also gone home for the summer, leaving the peninsula a little less congested.

There’s also Spoleto Festival USA, the 17-day-and-night performing arts festival that brings opera, theater, dance, and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music to the Holy City. That said, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and unsure of which performances to see. But Allison Williamson is here to help.

Allison, who’s known for her authority on the exhibition and sales of original works of art, is a Charleston resident, and founded the Artist Collective in 2010. As an innovator and leader in the Southeast’s vibrant visual arts scene, Allison was the perfect person to share her must-see 2019 Spoleto performances.

Read her recommendations below, and be sure to grab your Spoleto tickets before they sell out!

On Allison: Triple Bell Shoulder Tee

Photo by Allie Shaak

The Caracalla Dance Theatre, a Beirut-based troupe, will bring the age-old Middle Eastern folk tales, “One Thousand and One Nights,” to life (also known as “Arabian Nights”). This should be a sight to see with the lavish silk costumes, rich music, Arabic melodies, and a mix of folk dance and ballet!

Compagnie Herve Koubi is comprised of 13 male dancers from Africa and Europe who blend street forms like breakdancing, martial arts, and modern dance to create a powerful performance of beauty and strength.

I love to see live music under the stars and oaks in the beautiful Cistern Yard. I am particularly looking forward to seeing I’m With Her. The New York Times calls this trio “sweetly ethereal…or as hearty as mountain gospel.” I’ve got goosebumps already!

The acrobats of Circa will most likely have you on the edge of your seat as they show their physicality through a mix of dance, theater, and circus–all set to a violinist playing Bach. 

What Girls are Made Of: Cora Bissett performs her own roller coaster journey from  a school girl being catapulted into a rock star life, hitting rock bottom, and then becoming the woman she wanted to be. This award-winning show just had a sold out run in Edinburgh, so I suggest getting tickets soon. 

I love seeing the musicians returning year after year to perform Chamber Music at the intimate Dock Street Theater. The charming and witty Geoff Nuttall, in his 10th season, directs and hosts each program twice daily and presents unique arrangements and collaborations of a mix of old and new music. The musicians have such camaraderie, and it’s a delight to watch their amazing talent. It’s a wonderful way to spend an hour and 15 minutes of your day. 

For more information, head to

Welcome to the Draper James blog. My little slice of space to share the things I love most about life: people, parties, food, and fun!  It’s everything Draper James  stands for. and I hope you like it. 

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