(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Jan. 27, 2021) – Today, Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced its all-virtual spring performance season. Artists well-known to Chapel Hill will return, bringing with them numerous opportunities to reckon with the current moment through the arts. These season events will be presented under the banner of CPA at Home, launched in March 2020 as a response to COVID-related shutdowns. The platform is home to digitally streaming events, exclusive artist content, and more. CPA’s offerings for April through June will be announced later this spring. Tickets for February and March events go on sale to the general public today at 10 a.m., except where noted.

The spring performance season kicks off with “The Spark with Tift Merritt,” CPA’s successful video livestream partnership with the alumna and local singer/songwriter. The live, monthly series picks back up on February 11 with Sandeep Das, the internationally renowned tabla maestro, composer and frequent collaborator with Silkroad Ensemble. On March 18, Merritt will be joined by Durham native Hope Boykin, the dancer and choreographer who has performed on the CPA season numerous times with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Boykin recently announced her retirement from AAADT after 20 years with the company. Previous guests on the livestream series include Abigail Washburn, Wynton Marsalis and Carlos Henriquez and CPA artists in residence Flutronix.

Continuing a much beloved annual performance tradition at Carolina Performing Arts, members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will also be featured this spring. On February 25, CPA will stream a prerecorded performance of “The Democracy! Suite,” featuring the JLCO Septet and bandleader and music director Wynton Marsalis. The new program was composed by Marsalis during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as a response to the political, social and economic struggles facing the nation.

From March 1 – 14, Carolina Performing Arts will present “A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call” by Obie Award-winning theater artists 600 HIGHWAYMEN (Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone). This new performance series is adapted specifically for the current era of social distancing and isolation. In Part One, participants are paired for an entirely remote theatrical experience that takes place via phone, guided by the recorded voice of a narrator. The New Yorker called it a “simple premise that [turns] into magic.” The unique remote theater project comes to CPA after sold-out runs at presenters across the country, including the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival. CPA will present Parts Two and Three of “A Thousand Ways” separately in 2021 and 2022.

A performance by the Grammy-winning bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers will stream on March 26, in a prerecorded presentation the North Carolina natives filmed especially for CPA. The band, founded at UNC-Chapel Hill, released three records in 2020, after rejoining the Hillsborough-based Yep Roc Records label in 2019.

During a period where arts organizations and working artists are both struggling, CPA will also present its second Commons Festival, which supports locally based performing artists. The festival, which also includes a roundtable series for arts workers, will stream as part of CPA at Home over four weekends starting January 29. Tickets are already available for the festival.

CPA will also launch Audience Advocates, a new course in its Feedback: Institute for Performance series, which in fall 2020 offered more than 50 Triangle adults the opportunity to take an arts-learning course facilitated by artists and Carolina professors free of charge. Applications for this course will go live on Feb. 8, 2021 on the CPA website. The spring course will continue CPA’s partnership with choreographer Faye Driscoll and Saxapahaw-based arts organization Culture Mill. CPA also continues to partner with artists to make available masterclasses and other virtual events to University students and members of the public.

Tickets for February and March events go on sale to the general public today at 10 a.m., with the exception of “A Thousand Ways.” Tickets for that experience will be available starting Feb. 8, 2021. The base price for all tickets is $0, with a suggested ticket donation of $15 per event. Patrons must register for a ticket to access any event. Registrants will receive unique links to access the event within 24 hours of a performance’s start time. Events in “The Spark” series and performances by Jazz at Lincoln Center Septet and Steep Canyon Rangers will be available to ticketholders to stream for 72 hours beyond the event time.


Feb. 11: The Spark with Tift Merritt featuring Sandeep Das

Feb. 25.: The Democracy! Suite by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet with Wynton Marsalis

Mar. 1 – 14: A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call by 600 HIGHWAYMEN

Mar. 18: The Spark with Tift Merritt” featuring Hope Boykin

Mar. 26: Steep Canyon Rangers

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. The 20/21 programming at Carolina Performing Arts features numerous ways for individuals to participate safely in inspiring arts experiences and performances through the online platform CPA at Home, as well as creative engagements like “The Spark with Tift Merritt,” the Commons and Feedback: The Institute for Performance. 

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