Welcome to the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center

The UH Hilo Performing Arts Center is easily noticed with its distinctive roof patina The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center is the major performing arts educational and cultural center on the Big Island, serving as a joint special use facility for the University and Big Island Communities. The Performing Arts Center is primarily an instructional facility providing for the regular educational functions of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, whose purpose is to offer significant educational and diverse cultural opportunities -- where dialogue, the exchange of cultural and artistic ideas and co-curricular activities are encouraged.

The Performing Arts Center produces, presents and/or co-sponsors an extensive and culturally diverse year-round Season of local, regional, national, and international performing arts events performed by some of the world's greatest artists. The quality of events presented in the 600-seat Theatre is equal to any offered by major mainland universities. A typical year includes over 150 performances of dance, drama, music, mime, children's shows, lectures and special events.

The UH Hilo Performing Arts Center in cooperation with the UH Hilo Performing Arts Department also produces two to six plays, concerts, musicals and dance performances each season. Interested faculty, staff, students and community members are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Performing Arts Center.

Upcoming Events

  • The Hawaiian Nutcracker

    November 21st @ 7:00 pmNovember 22nd @ 7:00 pmNovember 23rd @ 2:00 pmNovember 23rd @ 7:00 pmNovember 24th @ 2:00 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    The Hawaiian Nutcracker

    **Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky**
    Thursday, November 21, 2019 @ 7:00pm
    Friday & Saturday, November 22 & 23, 2019 @ 7:00pm
    Saturday, & Sunday, November 23 & 24, 2019 @ 2:00pm

    Choreography by Kea Kapahua, Celeste Staton, Annie Bunker and guest choreographers. Featuring the UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC dance classes as well as community members and dancers. The 2019 production will commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Hawaiian Nutcracker, original concept and creation by beloved UH Hilo Dance Instructor Earnest Morgan and Oahu choreographer Willie Dean Ige.

    In this local style version of a holiday classic, join young Kauikeaouli on a magical voyage from Iolani Palace to the Mythical Island of Lōʻihi. Along the way he enoungers dancing dolls, Poliahu, Ice Maidens, Pele, graceful crater birds, a playful Moʻo, a duo of Honu, beautiful underwater creatures, jolly jellyfish and waltzing flowers.

  • UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra: Zappa and Elsewise

    December 11th @ 7:30 pmDecember 12th @ 7:30 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Continuing the tradition with a set of Frank Zappa's beautiful bizarre compositions and adding something new to the mix with a high-energy set of jazz-rock-funk from your favorite artists.

    The Hilo Jazz Orchestra has enjoyed worldwide recognition for their exciting performances of Frank Zappa's music and has been invited to Germany to perform next summer. In 2017 Frank Zappa's son, Dweezil Zappa, came to Hilo to perform with the band, they have since earned the endorsement of Ahmet Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust. The Hilo Jazz Orchestra is the subject of the documentary film Zappa U which follows the band in the months leading up to their 2016 Frank Zappa tribute concert.

  • Holiday Card to Hilo: A Season of Lights

    December 15th @ 2:00 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    This concert, a tradition among Hilo families for more than a decade, brings together the UH Hilo Kapili Choir and University Chorus. They are joined by the Hilo Community Chorus, the Orchid Isle Orchestra, the ensemble VOICES, and special guest artists to celebrate the traditional lights and sounds of Christmas and Hanukkah, and present new works by Norway's Ola Gjeillo, and from Latvia, Eriks Esenvalds.

  • Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

    January 21st @ 7:30 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

    Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's bold vision, top global choreographers, distinctive groundbreaking repertoire, and virtuoso dancers has fostered a jewel of a dance company in the American West. The company’s pioneering spirit arises from a dual set of home cities: Aspen, nestled in the Rocky Mountains, and Santa Fe, gracing the Southwestern plateau. Shaping the cultural landscape of these communities, and influencing the dance field at large, is a contemporary ballet company now two decades old.
    A deep commitment to curating new ballets while cultivating choreographic talent has resulted in a catalogue of adventurous repertoire. A European sensibility glossed with American ebullience forges ASFB’s aesthetic, as the company has come to epitomize the contemporary-classical genre. ASFB dance invention flows from this solid foundation, a wellspring of creativity.

  • Leela Dance Collective presents: SPEAK

    February 14th @ 7:30 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Leela Dance Collective presents: SPEAK

    Indian Kathak dance and American tap dance, continents and ages apart, share parallel stories of struggle and perseverance. They come together in this sensational collaboration that is rhythm, poetry, storytelling, music and dance. SPEAK carries forward the legacy of iconic artists like Pandit Chitresh Das, Dr. Jimmy Slyde and James Buster Brown, while bringing to the forefront the voices of powerful female artists.
    SPEAK is socially relevant, takes risks, and breaks creative barriers. It celebrates unique and contrasting forms of expression, while finding common ground. It emphasizes improvisation as the unifying core rather than choreography. It highlights the vacuum of female artists in these art forms - a climate where well-known masters are still men. Most importantly, SPEAK uncovers how we are unique and how we are one. It is a statement for how we can be global citizens of this world.
    Serving as the bridge between tradition and innovation, history and progress, Rina Mehta, Rachna Nivas, Michelle Dorrance, and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards create nothing short of magic on the stage, joined by the world’s leading Indian classical and jazz musicians, SPEAK promises to thrill, provoke and move your spirit.

    “The East spoke to the West without using words.
    It made you feel nothing else matters as long as we can experience beauty like this. Humanity will triumph in-spite of all the adverse events happening around us.”
    - SPEAK Audience Member, 2015

  • Goitse

    February 26th @ 7:30 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.


    Goitse, pronounced “Go-witcha”, is an informal Gaelic Irish greeting meaning ‘come here’. The popular and multi-award-winning quintet was forged in the white-hot creative crucible of Limerick’s Irish World Academy. Goitse have become a leader of the new generation of traditional Irish ensembles. Their distinctive sound lies in the quality of their own compositions interspersed with traditional tunes from the countryside of Ireland and abroad, which makes each performance unique. Laying the foundations for the music are World and All-Ireland Bodhrán champion Colm Phelan and Conal O’Kane, who is fast making a name for himself as one of the finest guitarists of his generation. The gripping rhythm section sets a powerful drive for the music while the sweet, charismatic voice of Áine McGeeney draws audiences into a song the way few performers can. Together, the quintet Goitse makes what Irish Music Magazine calls “Music that’s brimming with energy and creative zeal.”

    This project received support from Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, WESTAF (the Western States Arts Federation), and the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Indian Ink Theatre Company's: Mrs. Krishnan's Party

    March 4th @ 7:30 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Indian Ink Theatre Company's: Mrs. Krishnan's Party

    A Performing Arts Center Spring 2020 Special Event:

    Indians throw crazy parties!
    Heard of Diwali? A million lamps floating on a river and fireworks to wake the dead.
    Heard of Holi? An explosion of color and joy and massive dry-cleaning bills.
    How about Onam? It could be the craziest of them all!

    Mrs. Krishnan is at a crossroads and contemplating selling her shop. It’s Onam, a time to celebrate life, death and rebirth. But when, as a surprise, her lodger James invites 200 guests over (you, the audience) Mrs. K. has no choice but to throw the party of her life!
    In the spirit of great parties everywhere, laughter abounds, stories are told, tables are danced on and 200 strangers become friends.
    Indian Ink continues to bridge cultures and expand boundaries with this hilarious, joyous and life-affirming, party-within-a-play. With rave reviews and standing ovations from across the globe, the party has come to your home!

    Seating is limited for this event therefore tickets will not be available online. Please call the Box Office, 932-7495 to place your order.

    Tickets on Sale beginning September 3!

  • The Conversion of Kaʻahumanu

    April 3rd @ 7:30 pmApril 4th @ 7:30 pmApril 5th @ 2:00 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    The Conversion of Kaʻahumanu

    The Conversion of Kaʻahumanu
    By Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl
    Directed by Justina Mattos

    Set during the tumultuous period immediately following the fall of the kapu system and during the arrival of the first American missionaries, The Conversion of Kaʻahumanu explores the relationship between Hawaiʻi’s Queen and the missionary women who seek to convert her to Christianity. Kaʻahumanu’s ultimate choice is made with the hope that it might serve to protect her nation during a time of catastrophic loss and immense change.

  • Great Leaps Dance Concert PREVIEW

    May 1st @ 7:30 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Enjoy over 150 UH Hilo, HCC and Community dancers perform Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Aerial Dance pieces choreographed by instructors Celeste Staton, Annie Bunker and Kea Kapahua, as well as guest choreographers and graduating students’ senior projects.

  • Great Leaps Dance Concert

    May 2nd @ 7:30 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Enjoy over 150 UH Hilo, HCC and Community dancers perform Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Aerial Dance pieces choreographed by instructors Celeste Staton, Annie Bunker and Kea Kapahua, as well as guest choreographers and graduating students’ senior projects.

  • UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra: Revolution: A Tribute to the Beatles

    May 7th @ 7:30 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

  • We Sing the Spring: That 80's Concert

    May 10th @ 2:00 pm

    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    The UH Hilo choirs, together with special guests, bring choral harmonies and rockin' rhythms to favorites from that iconic era of music history, the 1980s.