Every year, UCF brings its best and brightest artists to Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for a large-scale celebration of the things that make our world more interesting and beautiful. This year, UCF Celebrates the Arts is bigger than ever, with a multi-day production of an award-winning, family-friendly musical, concerts in the new Steinmetz Hall, lectures and discussions, multimedia events, chamber music, an expanded visual arts presence throughout the center and more.
The annual festival, which started in 2015 during the performing arts center’s inaugural year, has allowed thousands of UCF artists to showcase their talents in a world-class, professional venue and for Central Florida audiences to see the range of UCF’s arts programs. In 2022, the event expands to include Dr. Phillips Center’s newest venue, Steinmetz Hall.
“Steinmetz Hall provides all of our artists additional opportunity,” says festival producer and director of the UCF School of Performing Arts Michael Wainstein. “First and foremost, our musicians are thrilled to get to perform in this acoustic gem. But also, because we no longer need to use the Disney theatre for concerts, our theatre students have a longer residency in the large theater, and we can present multiple performances of a full-scale musical. And our visual artists have twice the lobby space to fill with exhibits. It’s a win for everyone.”
Headlining UCF Celebrates the Arts 2022, Shrek The Musical will take the stage in the Walt Disney Theatre from April 14–16. Based on the Dreamworks film, this Tony-winning adventure brings the beloved characters from the film to the stage in a hilarious musical adventure perfect for the family. In addition to the three public performances, a field trip matinee performance is scheduled for April 15, in partnership with the Orlando Repertory Theatre.
In the brand-new Steinmetz Hall, the Flying Horse Big Band will present a vibrant concert inspired by director Jeff Rupert’s weekly radio program on WUCF-FM, Jazz and the American Spirit. Under the direction of Chung Park, the UCF Symphony Orchestra: An Exploration of Sea and Land will present the Florida premiere of Stella Sung’s Oceana, a multimedia composition that lets patrons “swim” with whales to learn about marine conservancy. Other performing arts offerings include A Knight to Shine 2022: A Musical Theatre Showcase, the UCF Choirs, UCF Opera and UCF Bands. The festival will also feature a wide variety of UCF chamber ensembles, including the New Music Ensemble, Pegasus String Quartet, Brass Chamber Ensemble and Woodwind Chamber Ensemble.
With collaboration as one of the festival’s themes, members of the Orlando arts community will host several events. The Orlando REP will present The Teddy Bear’s Picnic: Theatre for the Very Young specifically for caregivers and children ages 0–5. Orlando Shakes will bring one of its popular Playfest plays to life in a staged reading featuring professional actors and Theatre UCF students. The National Young Composers Challenge Composium will feature maestro Christopher Wilkins hosting workshops with the next generation of composers, whose original pieces will be performed and recorded by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the UCF faculty.
This year’s festival will feature an expanded visual arts presence with a wide variety of events and showcases to choose from. Creative Clash, a crowd-favorite speed-drawing competition, will see artists armed only with markers race against the clock to create large-format artwork. The UCF Animation Showcase will feature a series of award-winning short, animated films, and the Graphic Design & Experimental Animation Showcase will celebrate the work of graduating seniors in the emerging media program.
The humanities will be represented at UCF Celebrates the Arts as well, with Honoring Indigenous Expression with Natalie Diaz kicking off the festival. This free virtual event will feature a performance from the indigenous (Mojave) and Latina Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, author and language activist. Other offerings include Poetry & Spoken Wordfeaturing Orlando Poet Laureate Shawn Welcome ’17 and UCF alumni and faculty poets in Boricua Soy Yo – History, Identity and Culture, and Cast in Bronze and Chiseled Out of Stone: The Story of the Caribbean as Told by Its Statues.
Ongoing Events and Exhibits
Along with daily scheduled events, UCF Celebrates the Arts will feature ongoing events and exhibits that can be experienced throughout the festival. In lobbies and public spaces throughout the center, guests can enjoy displays of artworks by graduate students in the animation and visual effects MFA program, select character animation shorts and the pieces created for last year’s Creative Clash event. Illuminating the Darkness: Our Carceral Landscape will present a selection of works from artists whose practice is informed by their experiences with the criminal justice system, and Spectral Evidence will feature work by artists on the autism spectrum, who see life from a different perspective.
Other ongoing exhibits will shine a spotlight on the innovation and collaboration that define our university. At the SNAP! CITY UNSEEN AR[T] Experience, guests can experience augmented reality public art installations outdoors before entering events in the center. UCF Coastal Vision – Resilient Coast Communities & Ecologies will showcase the cutting-edge research being undertaken by UCF Coastal, a bold new research center comprising a stellar group of core interdisciplinary faculty. OUC – The Reliable One will display rain barrels painted by regional school children to demonstrate the connection between art and conservation.
“Since its inception, UCF Celebrates the Arts has been about showcasing how all disciplines can be enhanced by the arts and creativity,” says Jeff Moore, dean of the UCF College of Arts and Humanities and founder of UCF Celebrates the Arts. “We often hear about the need for a focus on STEM disciplines, but society’s largest issues can only be addressed by bringing all voices to the table. The arts and humanities bring better cultural understanding to issues and also provide a platform for the community to engage with and better understand the issues at hand.”
Tickets for select UCF Celebrates the Arts events are on sale starting Friday, Jan. 14. Tickets for in-person scheduled events will be sold through the Dr. Phillips Center. A goal of UCF Celebrates the Arts has always been to keep the festival accessible to all. Several events are free (registration required) and for ticketed events, pricing starts at $15. Student pricing is available with valid ID from any K-12 school or college. A complete event list and more information is available at arts.cah.ucf.edu/celebrates.
Lineup and Schedule
Events are subject to change. For more information about UCF Celebrates the Arts, visit arts.ucf.edu.
Ongoing Events and Exhibits
SNAP! CITY UNSEEN [AR]T ExperienceFour augmented reality public art installations to be experienced outdoors prior to entering events in Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Starting two hours prior to Disney Theatre and Steinmetz Hall performances on the Seneff Arts Plaza.
Visual TalesCan you guess the fairy tale that inspired each of the 6-foot sculptures in this visual storytelling exhibition? Created by teams of students in 3D Design Fundamentals classes, the art and characters created are based on the artists’ interpretations of the tales.
Spectral EvidenceThis exhibit demonstrates expressions by artists on the autism spectrum, who see life from a different perspective. With their liberating take on themes, materials, detail and density, their work actively points to the genius of many individuals who embrace and work through the challenges of autism, and who strive every day to find their place.
Illuminating the Darkness: Our Carceral LandscapeThis exhibition from the Florida Prison Education Project presents a selection of work from artists whose practice is informed by their experiences with the criminal justice system to shine a light on the ways in which mass incarceration affects us all.
Costume Display: Celebrating the Costumes of Dan JonesTheatre UCF remembers costume shop manager Dan Jones with a display of his designs and constructions from over the years.
UCF Coastal Vision – Resilient Coastal Communities & EcologiesExperience the cutting-edge research being undertaken by UCF Coastal through a combination of animation and modeling as well as other materials. These researchers are exploring the myriad issues impacting our coastal communities to ensure the sustainability and resiliency of our coastlines and economy for generations to come.
The Beethoven Project (A New Light)This exhibit displays artworks by the 13-person team that includes surreal landscapes, imagined space phenomena and foreign worlds. The pieces will come together as an animated narrative featuring a story about a fearless young space explorer written to accompany the UCF Orchestra’s performance of the Second Movement of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony.
Character Animation ShortsSelect Character Animation Shorts will be shown before various events throughout the week.
Emergence: Creative Clash 2021View the pieces created at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2021, themed “Emergence,” on display in the lobby all week.
Honoring Indigenous Expression with Natalie Diaz | April 5, Time TBDThis virtual event will feature a performance from Indigenous (Mojave) and Latina Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, author and language activist Natalie Diaz.
UCF Percussion Ensemble featuring Escape Ten Duo | April 6, 7:30 p.m.As a featured event of the Percussion Festival, this concert will feature performances by the UCF Percussion Ensemble and guest artist Escape Ten.
Jazz and the American Spirit featuring the Flying Horse Big Band | April 8, 7:30 p.m.Join UCF’s chart-topping Flying Horse Big Band for an evening of music and celebration of the vibrant “American Spirit.” This concert is inspired by director Jeff Rupert’s weekly radio program on WUCF 89.9 FM, Jazz and the American Spirit.
Mozart First and Last! An Adaptation of Two Works from Early and Late in Mozart’s Career | April 8, 8 p.m. & April 10, 3 p.m.Journey with UCF Opera from the maestro’s early period written when he was just 18 – Love in the Garden State (a one-act adaptation of the comedy La Finta Giardiniera performed in English) – to a piece composed in his final year – La Clemenza di Tito (a one-act adaptation performed in Italian).
Orlando REP presents The Teddy Bear’s Picnic: Theatre for the Very Young | April 9, 12 p.m.Meet Mama Bear and Buddy Bear as they invite you to their special picnic in the woods and interact with their woodland friends! This 45-minute theatrical adventure was written for caregivers and children ages 0–5.
UCF Animation Showcase | April 9, 3 p.m.Presented by the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), visitors will view student-created animated films from the past three years of the Emerging Media BFA Character Animation track and the Emerging Media MFA in Animation and Visual Effects track.
Poetry & Spoken Word | April 9, 6 p.m.Hear from some of UCF’s finest poets and spoken word artists, including the current City of Orlando Poet Laureate Shawn Welcome, and poet laureate finalists Terry Thaxton, Chrissy Kolaya and Martha Brenckle.
UCF Symphony Orchestra: An Exploration of Sea and Land | April 9, 7:30 p.m.Explore our oceans and our lands with the UCF Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Chung Park. During the concert, conservation experts discuss what we can do to protect our marine and coastal environments.
Boricua Soy Yo – History, Identity and Culture | April 9, 8 p.m.Boricua Soy Yo is a documentary series that looks into Puerto Rican history, the island’s relationship with the United States, and the cultural identity of Puerto Ricans living on the mainland.
Earth Explorers: Choose Your Own Expedition | April 10, 12 p.m.UCF Theatre for Young Audiences graduate students present a devised performance to explore and celebrate our earth, its resources and our relationship with our environment.
National Young Composers Challenge Composium | April 10, 12–6 p.m.Meet the next generation of composers! Composers ages 13 to 18 are selected from a national competition to have their original pieces performed and recorded by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and UCF musicians.
Stage Combat Demonstration | April 11, 6 p.m.Peek behind the curtain to see how fights and dramatic scenes are created on stage. The presentation will be a collection of scenes of staged violence from theatrical literature, including sword and unarmed work.
Knight to Shine 2022: A Musical Theatre Showcase | April 11, 7:30 p.m.Senior musical theatre students present an evening of cabaret style performance featuring songs from popular Broadway musicals.
Orlando Shakes | April 11, 8 p.m.Orlando Shakes brings one of its popular Playfest plays to life in a staged reading featuring professional actors and UCF theatre students.
Architecture Talk | April 12, 6 p.m.A talk with a guest architect and presentations of work from UCF, UF and Valencia architecture students.
UCF New Music Ensemble Concert | April 12, 7:30 p.m.Explore what’s next in music, in a concert of new works written by UCF composers and performed by UCF musicians.
Cellobration 2022 | April 12, 8 p.m.Join UCF Professor David Bjella and the UCF Cello Choir in a celebration of the cello, featuring works of Villa Lobos, Faure, Fitzenhagen, Beethoven, Michael Kamen and Michael Jackson!
UCF Bands: Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band | April 13, 7:30 p.m.The UCF Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band present an exciting evening of diverse and expressive music that explores various genres and styles. The concert will feature world premiere performances, guest artists and guest composers.
Brass Chamber Ensembles | April 14, 6 p.m.This concert features UCF Brass student chamber ensembles, including the UCF trumpet ensemble, the UCF horn ensemble, the UCF trombone ensemble, the UCF tuba/euphonium ensemble, the Colbourn Brass Quintet and the Pegasus Brass Quintet.
Shrek The Musical | April 14–16, 7 p.m.Based on the Dreamworks film, Shrek The Musical is a Tony-Award-winning hilarious adventure that brings the beloved characters from the film to the stage. With the help of his loyal sidekick, a talking donkey, Shrek learns that he’s not the only one that feels like a misfit and finds out what true love really means.
Pegasus String Quartet and Beethoven Septet | April 14, 7:30 p.m.Joined by faculty members David Bjella, cello, and Hannah Sun, piano, the group performs Puccini’s Crisatemi and Schumann’s monumental Piano Quintet, Op. 44.
Cast in Bronze and Chiseled out of Stone: The Story of the Caribbean as Told by Its Statues | April 15, 6 p.m.A dynamic, informative and entertaining presentation that offers a flash course in Caribbean history as told by the region’s statues in eight mini-chapters: First Encounters, Conquest and Early Settlements, the Sugar Islands, Cockpit of Europe, Struggles Against Slavery, Struggles Against Colonialism, the Cuban Revolution and the Contemporary Scene.
UCF Choir Concert | April 15, 7:30 p.m.The UCF Chamber Singers, SoAl and TeBa choruses, and the University Singers, along with the new UCF Community Choir and Children’s Choir, sing songs of unity, joy and friendship. Directed by Jeffery Redding and Kelly Miller.
Woodwind Chamber Ensembles | April 15, 8 p.m.This concert features UCF’s student chamber groups from the woodwind area, including the oboe trio, woodwind quintet, bassoon ensemble, flute choir, saxophone ensemble and clarinet choir.
Creative Clash | April 16, 4 p.m.Artists armed with black markers race against the clock to create large-format artwork. The theme will be announced seconds before the start of the event, so come cheer on the artists and help choose a winner at the end of the competition.
Graphic Design & Experimental Animation Showcase | April 16, 6:30 p.m.Spend the evening networking and leave creatively inspired by the next wave of Orlando’s ever-growing design community as they showcase their creative works in the areas of graphic design and experimental animation.
UCF National Choir Festival| April 16, 7:30 p.m.Artistic journeys start with education! The UCF National Choir Festival is an opportunity for high school choir directors and their students to work with world-renowned conductors, participate in masterclasses, experience one-on-one time with the conductors, solo performances and mass choir experiences. The day of workshops will conclude with a public performance at 7:30 p.m.
Project Spotlight presents As It’s Written | April 16, 8 p.m.In this new play by Theatre UCF student Caroline Hull, a successful screenwriter begins rethinking her decisions and wondering if she is truly satisfied with the direction her own story is headed.