February 2, 2016

UCF Celebrates the Arts 2016 – a free festival of music, performances and visual displays – combines an abundance of arts and talent that would weigh down an actual marquee.

The festival, which is all open to the public, will reprise its second season April 8-16 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando with an extended program of student and faculty presentations and collaborations.

Two more days of events have been added to this year’s festival, which will feature offerings from more than 1,000 university students and 100 faculty members and include some collaborative programs with outside partners.

The festival will showcase the talents of the university’s artists and practitioners in theatre, dance, orchestra, choirs, big band, chamber music, cabaret, concert bands, opera, visual arts, studio art, gaming, animation, photography and film. There’s even a concert that organizers think may be the first of its kind: a presentation geared exclusively for expectant parents.

Collaborative music performances by UCF students will be under the direction of visiting composers Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight, and more than 150 other films), and Patrick Doyle (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Sense and Sensibility, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and more than 45 other films, including several movie adaptations of Shakespeare works).

The festival also will provide an opportunity for high school arts students to attend workshops led by UCF faculty and perform at the new Dr. Phillips Center’s state-of-the-art venue in downtown Orlando.

The schedule for UCF Celebrates the Arts is still evolving, but the event will kick off April 8 with a dance concert to showcase about 80 student dancers. Six students were selected in competition to create the choreography of this 10th annual presentation.

Afterward, here are some of the highlighted events:

  • On the first Saturday of the festival, April 9, Zimmer will conduct UCF student and faculty musicians in a presentation of songs from the 2014 Matthew McConaughey/Anne Hathaway movie Intersteller. Also as part of the performance will be theoretical physicist Kip Stephen Thorne, who served as scientific consultant to the film. He will talk about the science behind the movie, in which a team of astronauts seeks a new home for humanity by traveling through a wormhole.


  • On the second Friday, April 15, Doyle will present some of his works as composer for Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations of Shakespeare movies. Conducted by maestro James Shearman (Brave, Thor, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), the UCF Orchestra and choir will perform songs and underscores from the films with actors from Prague Shakespeare Company and Orlando Shakespeare Theater playing the parts. This program is presented as a part of Shakespeare 400, a year-long, worldwide celebration of the life of Shakespeare, who died in 1616.


  • Under the umbrella of health, some of the festival performances tie in the arts with wellness, including: the College of Medicine will present members of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and UCF voice faculty in a concert for expectant parents and centered on the benefits of music in the development of babies and young children; a production from the Orlando Repertory Theatre titled EAT, addressing body image issues in teenagers; and a program involving student volunteers who have worked with dementia patients to show that music awakens memories.


  • Ensembles from the School of Performing Arts will hold their year-end performances throughout the week. Patrons can expect events featuring the Wind Ensemble, Opera Workshop, Symphonic Band, Flying Horse Big Band, the percussion ensemble, theatre history and musical theatre students, all three UCF choruses, and others.


  • The return of tableau vivant paintings – or “living pictures” – a popular display at last year’s festival. UCF’s Adlab special-topics class will create backdrops of well-known works of art that will be populated by costumed actors and models as part of the famous paintings. This year the students picked works by Picasso, Klimt, Cassatt, Sargent, Magritte, Rockwell and others to present in the center’s lobby April 8 and 16.


  • School of Visual Arts & Design students will present a mixed media event by creating installation pieces that respond directly to the architecture of the space at the Dr. Phillips Center. The students will be challenged to create unique pieces in unexpected places.


  • How do you make a modern horror film? Find out when filmmaker Zachary Beckler shows his award-winning film Interior and discusses new digital technologies April 16. Beckler holds a bachelor’s in film production and a master’s in entrepreneurial digital cinema from UCF, where he now is a lecturer.

Events will be scheduled all nine days of UCF Celebrates the Arts, and the calendar is still building. All events will be free, but tickets will be required to enter the building. Ticketing and full schedule details will be posted at arts.cah.ucf.edu in mid-February.

“We had such positive response last year,” Moore said. “This platform gives us a chance to share with the community all those things we create and are happening at the university.”

This is part of a series of stories about the April 8-16 events at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2016. The 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.