Spoleto Festival USA announces first new general director in more than 30 years

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Spoleto Festival USA announced who will lead Charleston’s annual premier arts festival following a ten-month search.

Mena Mark Hanna was appointed to serve as the festival’s new general director this week, according to a news release Tuesday.

It comes after former general manager and longtime director Nigel Redden announced his plans to retire from the organization in 2021.

The international search for Redden’s replacement was conducted by a Spoleto Festival USA committee comprised of both board and staff members.

While serving as founding dean of the Barenboim-Said Akademie, Mena Mark Hanna was responsible for articulating the Akademie’s artistic and educational vision and developing cross-disciplinary curricula.

They say he was instrumental in “curating innovative and experimental programming and driving successful fundraising campaigns.”

He also served as assistant artistic director at the Houston Grand Opera.

“Mena possesses a depth of knowledge and experience across artistic genres, and also-essential for Spoleto and Charleston-understands and is passionate about the power of artistic expression to bridge differences and bring people together,” said Alicia Gregory, President of the Board of Spoleto Festival USA.

Gregory said the board’s decision was unanimous and is “confident that we have found such a leader in Mena, who brings energy, collaborative instincts, and empathetic leadership to the position.”

Spoleto, which runs for 17 days each spring, draws local, national, and international audiences, granting young and established performers an unparalleled opportunity to showcase and hone their craft, according to the release.

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