Take more than 1,000 UCF performing- and visual-arts students, mix in 100 faculty members, sprinkle with a few celebrity participants and – voila! – the second annual UCF Celebrates the Arts festival is ready to serve up nine days of free concerts, presentations, lectures and workshops beginning Friday at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.
The second annual event, April 8-16, will showcase the university’s expertise in theatre, dance, orchestra, choirs, big band, chamber music, cabaret, concert bands, opera, visual arts, studio art, gaming, animation, photography and film.
“I am so pleased when collaborations between UCF, our partners and the community come together in such a grand way,” said Jeff Moore, director of the UCF School of Performing Arts and artistic director of the festival. “This is the first time the celebration encompasses two weeks and the number of guest artists and special events is staggering.”
The variety of events has something for just about everyone in the community interested in the arts.
The events range from a concert expressly for expectant parents – UCF musicians performing with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and former U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello to show how music benefits babies’ health – to The Warped Side of the Universe – a multimedia performance of students joining multi-Grammy winner Hans Zimmer, theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, and visual-effects artist and multi-Academy Award winner Paul Franklin as they inject space-age phenomena into their show. (The three collaborated on creating the blockbuster movie Interstellar.)
In between, there will be events as diverse as: Theatre UCF presenting 80 dancers in the university’s most elaborate dance concert to date; narrative, documentary and experimental short films from the School of Visual Arts & Design; choruses singing music from around the world and joined by Sisaundra Lewis from The Voice; high school band members’ workshops and concerts; colorful tableau vivant “living” paintings; a demonstration on how to make video games; Music of Shakespeare presented by composer and Oscar nominee Patrick Doyle and conductor James Shearman; the Flying Horse Big Band, and more than two dozen other events scheduled here.
“I was so pleased with how our inaugural event went last year and we learned a lot on how to maximize our time in the Dr. Phillips spaces,” Moore said. “This year’s events…are electrifying.”
This festival has taken on a special meaning, he said, as the university acknowledges the service of José Fernández, founding dean of the College of Arts & Humanities, who is stepping down as dean this year. Fernández came to UCF in 1976 as a visiting professor of history and foreign languages, and advanced in several academic positions before being named dean of the new college in 2006.
“His impact can be felt throughout the celebration,” Moore said.
All the events are free, but to enter the arts center all patrons must have either a ticket to a specific show or a hall pass to see the events in the common areas. For any performances that may be “sold out,” patrons hoping to obtain tickets can register for a hall pass and wait in line before the performance.
Seats not claimed by ticketholders 10 minutes before an event may become available at the discretion of the floor manager. In 2015, all patrons in the wait lines were able to be admitted to the performances.
This is part of a series of stories about the April 8-16 events at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2016. All events are free, but tickets are required for performances and entrance into the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando. Ticketing and full schedule details are posted at https://arts.cah.ucf.edu/.