University of Central Florida students and faculty members are well-known for their performing and visual arts accomplishments, but never have all the diverse sights and sounds been showcased in one place – until now.

The inaugural UCF Celebrates the Arts 2015 festival will kick off Friday, April 10, and run through Wednesday, April 15, at the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. The free event will feature more than 1,000 students and faculty members presenting studio art, music, theatre, dance, gaming, animation, photography and film. Another 1,000 Central Florida K-12 students will participate in educational workshops led by UCF professors and then have the opportunity to perform on one of the center’s stages.

“We conceived UCF Celebrates the Arts as a showcase for the extraordinary work produced by our talented and diverse students and faculty,” said José Fernandez, dean of the UCF College of Arts and Humanities. “The celebration also is an opportunity for events that highlight the relationship UCF has with our region’s schools as well as our community partners.”

Teaming up with UCF in some of the festival events will be the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

The opening night of the festival will bring together the multimedia collaboration of music, science and film to present “Icarus at the Edge of Time,” narrated by actress Kate Mulgrew (Capt. Kathryn Janeway of the Starship Enterprise in “Star Trek: Voyager”) with the score of composer Philip Glass performed by the UCF Symphony Orchestra.

The futuristic tale is about a boy on an outer space voyage who challenges the power of a black hole and what he learns from his experience. The show is based on a children’s book by Columbia University physicist Brian Greene, who will introduce the evening’s performance. The Icarus presentation is part of a National Science Foundation project that seeks to broaden the participation of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics research activities.

During the following five days, the festival will present:

  • “Civil War Voices” – UCF Choirs and the Orlando Repertory Theatre tell the stories of people who lived through the war, using actual words from diaries and letters of the time.
  • “Shakespeare Swings!” – UCF’s Flying Horse Big Band and the Orlando Shakespeare Theater Cabaret Singers jazz up some of the playwright’s masterpieces and a variety of original compositions, swing music and Broadway standards.
  • “Tosca” rehearsal – Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra holds an open rehearsal for the opera and an instructional class for voice students afterward.
  • Theatre UCF performs scenes from “Nine,” “Hair,” class projects, alumni cameos, and presentations from students who have been nominated for Kennedy Center Irene Ryan Acting awards.
  • Theatre UCF dance showcases featuring a selection of pieces choreographed and performed by UCF students and faculty members.
  • Music concerts including the Collide Percussion Music Festival, UCF Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, UCF choruses, and student chamber ensembles.
  • Students in the School of Visual Arts and Design will have ongoing works and displays from digital media, film, animations, games and studio arts, including tableaux vivants (“living pictures”), on every floor at the Dr. Phillips Center. The SVAD faculty will present lectures and will be available for portfolio reviews from high school students. A Game Jam will be held so patrons can see the results of games that were developed during a 24-hour period.
  • The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy also will demonstrate the interactive development process of video-game design.
  • Organizers hope to expand the festival in length and variety in coming years.

    “I hope to see this event growing to 14 days,” Fernandez said. “The additional time will help us showcase more of what we do on campus.”

    In addition to the community partners and supporters, the dean thanked the UCF driving forces behind the festival: Paul Lartonoix, assistant vice provost for special projects; Jeff Moore, director of the School of Performing Arts and the artistic director of the festival; and Byron Clercx, director of the School of Visual Arts and Design.

    “Through this celebration we are showing the community how much UCF values the arts and invests in the educational and artistic process,” Moore said. “Not only is this a great start to an event that will continue to blossom and grow in the future, but it also provides tremendous exposure for all of our programs on campus.”

    All events to UCF Celebrates the Arts 2015 are free, but tickets are required for many of the programs. In the event of sold-out events, patrons may wait in designated queues and will be seated in available seats on a first-come, first serve basis. The April 10-15 festival will feature studio art, music, theatre, dance, gaming, animation, photography and film at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando. Visit for more information, tickets and updated scheduling.