CPA’s 17th season invites audiences to explore equity, community, and social justice through thought-provoking works, new and reimagined 

(Chapel Hill, N.C. –– August 31, 2021) – Today, Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced its 21/22 season, offering audiences exciting ways to engage with the arts, both in-person and online. Highlighting the new “Southern Futures at Carolina Performing Arts” initiative, this season’s programming features arts experiences co-created with local communities and focused on racial equity, social justice, and the American South.  

“This season, we will focus both on what we do – delivering impactful creative experiences to our growing communities in-person and online, ensuring the arts drive vital conversations and spark joy – as well as on how we do it – prioritizing the health and well-being of our colleagues and collaborators so we can sustainably expand all that we do,” noted CPA executive and artistic director, Alison Friedman. The 21/22 season marks Friedman’s first in the role. “Our entire sector is asking, ‘What’s next?’ CPA is at an exciting moment in its evolution, poised to lead the way into a new era for our industry.” 

The 2021-2022 performance season kicks off with the return of The Spark with Tift Merritt. The GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter and UNC-Chapel Hill alumna takes livestream viewers behind the scenes as she talks with artists about the creative process:  

This season also marks the return of Obie Award-winning theater artists 600 HIGHWAYMEN, led by Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone, who will lead CPA’s first in-person arts experiences since 2020—Parts Two and Three of their performance series, A Thousand WaysThe first chapter of this series premiered over the phone during CPA’s 2021 pandemic-altered virtual spring season. 

Patrons can engage with a unique, immersive art environment by manipulating interactive artworks based in light, sound, and colossal projections during Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s installation, Atmospheric Memory, presented December 2–17. CPA welcomes back patrons to Memorial Hall for the North American premiere of this installation, which will transform the lobby and stage at Memorial Hall, guiding patrons through the tangible, the ethereal, and that which nature creates and what humans produce. 

Programming throughout the 21/22 season affirms CPA’s commitment to social justice and amplifies the current social and cultural moment as the nation wrestles with issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion: 


This season features returning artists and ensembles including: the revolutionary Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater; world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell with pianist Peter Dugan; and modern dance leaders Martha Graham Dance Company. 

Audiences can enjoy an enchanting evening of Mozart and more from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra with Mitsuko Uchida; Delhi to Damascus, transcendent music from Sandeep Das and the HUM Ensemble; and GRAMMY Award-nominated artist, composer, and producer Theo Croker’s CPA debut when he headlines the 2022 Carolina Jazz Festival this spring. 

Reinforcing its commitment to the creation of new work, CPA has commissioned Culture Mill’s Eclipse and Flutronix’s Discourse and co-commissioned Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Atmospheric Memory, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company’s What Problem?, and Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, A Dance Company’s Mercy, featuring live music by Meshell Ndegeocello. 

Single tickets for the general public are available starting Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Ticket sales for current donors begin on Thursday, September 9. Carolina students are eligible for $10 tickets to most performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Current employees of UNC-Chapel Hill and the UNC Hospital System receive a 15% UNC Faculty/Staff discount on tickets to CPA performances. For student, staff, and faculty discounts, ONYEN authentication is required online, and Carolina ID is required at the box office.      

For full performance listings, health and safety information, pricing, and venue information, visit

The full season listing can be found below and at this link.  


Sept. 23 – The Spark with Tift Merritt featuring Rhiannon Giddens(Virtual) 

OCTOBER 2021  

Oct. 1–Oct. 17 – A Thousand Ways (Part Two): An Encounter by 600 HIGHWAYMEN (CURRENT ArtSpace) 

Oct. 21 – The Spark with Tift Merritt featuring Culture Mill(Virtual) 


Nov. 4 – The Spark with Tift Merritt featuring Toshi Reagon (Virtual) 

Nov. 5 – Primer for an Impossible Conversation, Co-created by David Neumann, Marcella Murray, and Tei Blow for Advanced Beginner Group (Virtual) 


Dec. 2–Dec. 17 – Atmospheric Memory, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Memorial Hall) 


Jan. 21–Jan. 23 – A Thousand Ways (Part Three): An Assembly by 600 HIGHWAYMEN (CURRENT ArtSpace) 

Jan. 25–Jan. 26 – Alvin Ailey ® American Dance Theater (Memorial Hall) 


Feb. 4–Feb. 5 – What Problem?, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company (Memorial Hall) 

Feb. 10 – Joshua Bell, violin and Peter Dugan, piano (Memorial Hall) 

Feb. 19 – BLK2LIFE: A FUTURE PAST, Theo Croker (CURRENT ArtSpace) 

Feb. 25–Feb. 26 – Discourse, Flutronix (CURRENT ArtSpace) 

MARCH 2022 

Mar. 4 – Delhi to Damascus, Sandeep Das and the HUM Ensemble (Moeser Auditorium at Hill Hall) 

Mar. 9 – Grace and Mercy: A 35th Anniversary CelebrationRonald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, with Meshell Ndegeocello (Memorial Hall) 

Mar. 22 – Mahler Chamber Orchestra with Mitsuko Uchida, piano and director and Mark Steinberg, concertmaster and leader (Memorial Hall) 

Mar. 29 – HUMAN/NATURE, Martha Graham Dance Company (Memorial Hall) 

APRIL 2022 

Apr. 6 – Voices of Mississippi featuring William Ferris, Cedric Burnside, Shardé Thomas, and Luther & Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars (Memorial Hall) 

Apr. 9–Apr. 10 – Eclipse, Culture Mill / Tommy Noonan and Murielle Elizéon (CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio) 


About Carolina Performing Arts  
The mission of Carolina Performing Arts is to spark curiosity, inspiring all members of our community to discover and more fully engage with the world. We collaborate with dynamic and compelling artists from across the globe to create novel, mission-driven performing arts experiences in partnership with our community. We also open our venues to others to explore, create, and celebrate their own work. 

The 21/22 programming at Carolina Performing Arts will feature numerous ways for our communities to participate safely and at their own comfort level in inspiring arts experiences by the presentation of both virtual and in-person programming.  

Carolina Performing Arts contact: Jess Abel,, 704.290.6668 

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