UNCSA announces 2023-24 performance season

 Tickets on sale now for an array of performances of dance, drama, music, and more, including acclaimed guest artists.

WINSTON-SALEM — The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) has announced its 2023-24 performance season, which includes dance, drama, film, and music events, created and performed by talented UNCSA students, world-class faculty, distinguished alumni and celebrated guest artists. UNCSA will offer a broad range of free events and low-cost regular tickets, providing a unique opportunity for area residents and visitors to experience renowned professional artists alongside professional-caliber student work. Tickets are on sale now.

UNCSA Amadeus

“The upcoming performance season will expose students and audiences alike to a broad spectrum of compelling works from across the cultural landscape,” said UNCSA Chancellor Brian Cole. “It will offer a diverse array of artistic voices, including those from traditional to underrepresented. We look forward to welcoming the community as we showcase the talents of students, faculty and guest artists.”


“Amadeus,” 2022

Tickets are available now at uncsa.edu/performances or by calling the box office at 336-721-1945. Tickets to most fully staged and guest artist events are $25. Non-UNCSA student tickets are $20 with valid ID. Tickets to many other events are $20, with non-UNCSA student tickets at $15. Film screenings and student recitals — among other events — are free of charge. Selected events are priced individually as noted. Patrons can purchase an Arts Card to get easy access to multiple events with a discount over single nonstudent ticket prices.

School of Dance Highlights

The School of Dance returns with the beloved holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker,” as choreographed by faculty artist Ilya Kozadayev — presented for the first time this year at the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts in Greensboro. Fall Dance kicks off the School of Dance’s inclusive and eclectic performance season followed by the popular Emerging Choreographers Concert, featuring senior contemporary dance students.

In celebration of Black History Month, Winter Dance will feature premieres by prominent choreographers of color, including UNCSA alum Juel LaneRena Butler, and adjunct faculty member Wesley Williams. A West African dance instructor, Williams, founder and artistic director of SUAH African Dance Theatre, will be choreographing an African dance – the first time this style has been performed at UNCSA. In addition to these new works, an excerpt from Robert Garland’s “Joplin Dances,” premiered by Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1995 and set to music by renowned African American composer Scott Joplin, is on the program.

The season will conclude with an exciting Spring Dance highlighted by a version of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” set in an exotic Caribbean environment, with the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra performing the dazzling score, under the baton of conducting faculty member Mark Norman.

“I am very excited about next season in the School of Dance,” said Dean Endalyn T. Outlaw. “We have faculty, successful alumni and guest artists returning to create gorgeous ballet and contemporary works on our talented students! With festive family-favorite performances during the holiday season, dance at UNCSA in 2023-24 is going to be a year to remember.”

School of Drama Highlights

The School of Drama continues its emphasis on representing a variety of playwriting voices and delving into topics that resonate today with a season that includes Lucy Prebble’s “Enron,” about one of the most notorious scandals in corporate history and the greed that precipitated it; Robert O’Hara’s “Barbeque,” a comedy in which five siblings in a dysfunctional family lure one of their own to a fake barbecue in order to stage an intervention; Octavio Solis’ “Lydia,” about an illegal immigrant, maid and caretaker who provides the key to unlocking shattering family secrets in 1970s El Paso; and alum Lo Feliciani Ojeda’s “a grief song: telegony & odisea,”about imagined events after “The Odyssey” ends. Rounding out the Drama season are Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night, or What You Will” and a musical adaptation of “As You Like It” by American singer/songwriter Shaina Taub.

“The School of Drama — and UNCSA as a whole — holds equity as a core value,” said Dean Scott Zigler. “It not only informs our selection of season offerings, but helps our students feel more represented in the work we present. I’m sure there will be some surprises next season as we continue our journey to create an evolved learning environment and actors who are prepared for today’s world.”

School of Filmmaking Highlights

The School of Filmmaking celebrates its 30th anniversary in the 2023-24 academic year. Championed by Chancellor Alex C. Ewing, the film school was established in 1993 as the fifth arts school at UNCSA and opened with 60 undergraduate students. It has since added graduate-level programs and a facility called the Studio Village, built to resemble and function like a film studio backlot, and “The Cube,” a space for experimentation with emerging technologies. The school will observe the anniversary with a range of exciting guest artist appearances, alumni events and a wide variety of film screenings that demonstrate the breadth and depth of the program as it has evolved to meet the needs of today’s global arts and entertainment industry. New film screenings will include “Shared World Series,” the debut of an all-new episodic series created by students in the new Anthology Production Lab, which explores serial content for streaming platforms like Netflix; “Fall Panorama,” a collection of short films made by student filmmakers that illustrate the variety and depth of their talent; and “Cinema for the Senses,” a fully immersive experience. The annual end-of-year fourth-year films and M.F.A. films, created by students as part of their curriculum and transition projects to the professional world, will round out the season.

“The School of Filmmaking was established 30 years ago because there was a real need for ‘complete’ filmmakers — experienced storytellers skilled in all facets of the moving image arts,” said Dean Deborah LaVine. “That is still true today, but the entertainment landscape has changed greatly. We are now embracing a dynamic range of cinematic storytelling forms including episodic, narrative fiction, nonfiction, animation, documentary and short form; as well as expansive technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and LED volume production.”

School of Music Highlights

Among the standout performances the School of Music will offer during the upcoming season are: an outdoor performance of John Luther Adams’ “Ten Thousand Birds,” produced by members of the audacious contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound; performances by the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra under new Music Director Robert Franz, including composition faculty Jared Miller’s thundering and ethereal ode to planet Earth, “Under Sea, Above Sky,” as well as the Duruflé Requiem, conducted by James Allbritten, with the UNCSA Cantata Singers, at Centenary United Methodist Church; and the UNCSA Wind Ensemble and Chamber Winds in a centennial celebration of Kurt Weill’s haunting Concerto for violin and wind orchestra, Op. 11.

An impressive guest artist series will include concerts by Decoda, Carnegie Hall’s first-ever affiliate ensemble, called “some of the brightest young classical musicians in the world” by TimeOut New York; PRISM Quartet, cited as “a bold ensemble that set the standard for contemporary-classical saxophone quartets” by The New York Times; Imani Winds, presenting a program that shows off their dynamic playing, adventurous programming, and commitment to presenting exciting new voices along with classical masters of the jazz world; and trumpet phenom Adam Rapa, known for his eye-popping skills and intensity that electrify an audience.

The UNCSA Chamber Music Festival returns with heralded artists such as David Byrd-Marrow, horn; Kim Kashkashian, viola; Brant Taylor, cello; Axel Strauss, violin; and Pavel Nersessian, piano,as UNCSA celebrates the 20th anniversary of its stunning, 300-seat Watson Chamber Music Hall. Audiences will also have a chance to hear new faculty in recital, including award-winning Jamaican-American violist Jordan Bak and Serbian percussionist Ksenija Komljenović, along with other distinguished faculty concerts including faculty ensembles Black Mountain Trio and Watson Brass; and much more. Many concerts will be livestreamed for free as part of Live From Watson Hall.

The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute will present Winter and Spring Opera performances and more, to be announced at a later date.

“Next season in the School of Music will be thrilling for the audiences and music makers alike,” said Dean Saxton Rose. “We are presenting a plethora of music choices to enjoy, from classical to contemporary and everything in between, including works by a diverse group of artists. We’re excited to welcome new faculty members, renowned guest artists, and our extremely talented students back to our stages.”

School of Design & Production Highlights

In addition to providing all of the design, technical and production support for performances and productions in the schools of Dance, Drama, Filmmaking and the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, the School of Design and Production (D&P) also presents its annual “Photona,” the wildly popular themed multimedia show of lighting, projection and sound displayed with state-of-the-art equipment on loan from the leading lighting companies in the industry. Audience members engage with this mesmerizing show through Q&A sessions with each student designer. At the night's end, the audience votes for its favorite show.

“'Photona' has been a favorite of our students and our audiences for years,” said School of Design and Production Dean Michael J. Kelley. “The show demonstrates just how important lighting and sound are to theatrical productions. But it also demonstrates how critical D&P is to the global arts and entertainment industry. We produce the students who run the industry, from our stage managers to our scene designers to our stage prop masters and much more.”

Tickets and information are available at uncsa.edu/performances.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is a top-ranked arts conservatory and America’s first state-supported arts school. The nation’s only public university of five arts disciplines on one campus, UNCSA prepares emerging artists for careers in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking, and music at the undergraduate through post-graduate levels, as well as through a specialized high school with free tuition for in-state residents. UNCSA provides industry-leading instruction in a safe and inclusive environment where students are encouraged to leverage the arts as a mechanism for change. Interdisciplinary opportunities arising from the unique arts ecosystem on campus at UNCSA prepare artists to enter an evolving global arts and entertainment industry. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina System when it was formed in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.


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