An expanded calendar and more events helped the recent UCF Celebrates the Arts festival increase attendance more than 30 percent in its second year.
More than 10,200 people attended the April 8-16 event at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which featured university students, faculty members and some collaborative programs with outside partners at free concerts, presentations, lectures and workshops
Jeff Moore, artistic director of the festival and director of the UCF School of Performing Arts, said the attendance jumped from 45 to 60 percent of capacity at the event venues.
“This shows we’re moving in the right direction. The festival grew in impact and grew in feedback,” said Moore, a professor of percussion who joined in one of the premiere events of the festival.
He played drums when faculty and student musicians backed up The Warped Side of the Universe, a multimedia performance joining multi-Grammy winner Hans Zimmer, theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, and visual-effects artist and multi-Academy Award winner Paul Franklin. The part space-age music concert and part lecture was coordinated by the three creative forces behind the blockbuster movie Interstellar.
Zimmer interrupted a European tour to attend this presentation, which was made specifically for UCF Celebrates the Arts and debuted at the festival.
“Playing with Zimmer, Thorne and Franklin was unreal,” Moore said. “The music and visual imagery were so powerful.”
Other faculty and students from UCF’s School of Performing Arts and School of Visual Arts & Design showcased theatre, dance, orchestra, choirs, big band, chamber music, cabaret, concert bands, opera, visual arts, studio art, gaming, animation, photography and film.
After successfully testing out live-streaming for some of the events, more of the performances may be streamed next year for the festival scheduled April 7-15, said Heather Gibson, marketing director for the School of Performing Arts.
One event already planned for next year will be a presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! as a collaboration of the music and theater departments.