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'It's a family reunion': CPA prepares for first in-person season since pandemic

Memorial Hall is draped in CPA banners for their 22'-23' season on August 7, 2022. Carolina Performing Arts shares their Fall 2022 schedule of events on their website.

After years of COVID-19 precautions in the theater, Carolina Performing Arts is looking forward to gathering in person for the upcoming fall season. CPA will reprise fan favorites and introduce new works to the program. 

“It’s a family reunion, bringing our artists back, bringing our audience back, bringing students back to campus fully,” said Alison M. Friedman, the James and Susan Moeser executive and artistic director of Carolina Performing Arts. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, CPA has produced a hybrid of both digital and limited in-person experiences, but the fall 2022 season is scheduled to be completely in-person. Friedman compared the feeling of being back in person to waking up from a long and sleepy dream.

"Carolina Performing Arts fall of 2022 is incredibly exciting," she said. "It's been multiple years of disruption and we are so excited to plan a full fall semester of fully in-person performances, workshops, talks and artist experiences." 

CPA practices a multi-year process when planning for a show, Friedman said — including conversations with artists, agents, different groups, creating potential new works and more. However, she said the planning process has been interrupted the past few years.

Despite the previous complexities that the pandemic caused, officials at CPA discovered ways to enjoy the arts in unprecedented situations. 

“How do we still present arts experiences in a way that people can enjoy and engage with, but knowing that they won’t be coming to the venues?"  Jane O’Hara, associate director of marketing and communications for CPA, asked.   

Throughout the upcoming season, O’Hara said that CPA remains committed to the safety of its audience as they welcome back a fully open and interactive season with pre-pandemic capacities.

CPA will begin their season with a performance by The Soul Rebels and special guest Big Freedia, an American hip-hop artist. The Soul Rebels are a brass ensemble band with a New Orleans sound whose concert will welcome audience members into the pit so they can fully immerse themselves in the music and dance. 

The fall 2022 schedule is as follows:

  • Sept. 23 The Soul Rebels with special guest Big Freedia
  • Oct. 7 Why Not Theatre: Prince Hamlet
  • Oct. 15 Africa Fest 2022: Meklit
  • Oct. 28-29 Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company: "What Problem?"
  • Nov. 11-12 Bobbi Jene Smith: "Broken Theater"
  • Nov. 18-19 David Neumann and Marcella Murray for Advanced Beginner Group: "Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed"
  • Dec. 2 Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Dianne Reeves: "Big Band Holidays"
  • Dec. 7 Emanuel Gat Dance: LOVETRAIN2020

O’Hara said that CPA looks forward to welcoming students and community members back to its performances to celebrate togetherness as a community.

"We are excited to welcome new and existing audiences back to campus — or to campus — for these different events," she said. 

Select seats for all CPA performances are available to UNC students for only $10. Carolina Covenant and Buckley Public Service scholars are eligible for free admission to any art experience at CPA.

Ye-Bon Hong, a sophomore majoring in dramatic art said that theater is something that should be as accessible and expressible as possible, but is sometimes only available to the upper class. 

“Theater is a luxury," Hong said. "Being able to afford to go to the theater, being able to participate in theater — that's a luxury that kids don’t get access to. It’s wonderful they’re doing that because I think Carolina really needs to embrace the diversity that we do have and also showcase what it can be."

For more information regarding this season’s events, visit

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