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Welcome the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center

Description of photo 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

  • Okareka Dance Company presents: Mana Wahine POSTPONED

    October 24th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO FEBRUARY 2018.

    The Okareka Dance Company has not been able to secure interviews at the Auckland US Consulate to collect their visas, despite being approved for visas as unique cultural performers by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in September.  This has forced the Hawaii presenters of the celebrated “Mana Wahine” dance production to postpone the tour, including the performance scheduled for the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center, Tuesday, October 24, 2017, to February 2018. We will announce as soon as we have finalized the February date. Mahalo nui loa for your understanding and support.



    Okareka Dance Company presents Mana Wahine, an all-female work that utilizes dance, theatre and film to honor the essence of what it is to be a woman. Drawing from historical events as well as true experiences within their own lives, the co-creators and dancers of Mana Wahine have created a piece that encompasses the very spirit of womanhood and legacy. It is a celebration of the women they have descended from, honoring those who have sculpted them into who they are today. Featuring exquisite lighting and audio-visual design, physical dexterity and grace and compelling music steeped in the Maori culture and tradition, Mana Wahine is a vision of strength that empowers women around the world.
    “Mana Wahine is above all a rich fusion of choreography, music, tikanga, Maori and performance practices, AV, lighting and performance design…enriched and enlivened by the dancing of five powerhouse performers.” Raewyn Whyte, Theatreview


  • Stephen Hough, Piano

    October 25th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Hawaii Convert Society Presents: Stephen Hough, Piano
    Englishman Stephen Hough is regarded as a Renaissance man of our time. Over the course of his career, he has distinguished himself not only as a uniquely insightful concert pianist, but also as a writer and composer. His mastery of the instrument along with his individual and inquisitive mind has earned him a multitude of prestigious awards and a long-standing international following. We are delighted that he will perform for us.


  • A Serial Theatre Event: Scary Senarios 2017

    October 30th @ 6:00 pmOctober 31st @ 6:00 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    A Serial Theatre Event: Scary Senarios 2017

    Sample a variety of Halloween scenes and stories as you wander though the nooks & Crannies of the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center...we dare you...


  • Peabody Consort

    November 14th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Hawaii Concert Society presents the Peabody Consort.
    The esteemed early music ensemble will perform 'Words and Music of Three Faiths', medieval Christian, Jewish, and Arabic vocal and instrumental gems from the 13th-15th centuries, when all three religious groups not only coexisted in Spain but also sometimes played music together.


  • Abe Lagrimas, Jr. Jazz Trio

    November 15th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    Abe Lagrimas, Jr. Jazz Trio

    Abe Lagrimas, Jr. is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who began his musical journey when he first sat behind the drums at the age of four. As he learned more about drums and music, Abe gained an interest in other instruments as his career progressed. Predominantly known as a drummer, Abe is highly proficient on the vibraphone and the `ukulele and continues to perform throughout the world on all three instruments and in many different musical situations. He is joined by Dean Taba on bass and Noel Okimoto on drums and vibraphone.


  • Holiday Card to Hilo: The Festive Season

    November 19th @ 2:00 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    From dressing up at Halloween to ringing in the New Year, this time of year brings excitement and joy. Join UH Hilo's Kapili Choir and University Chorus, the Orchid Isle Orchestra, the Hilo Community Chorus, and special guests for a concert celebrating the festive season. This annual concert, beloved by Hilo audiences, welcomes all - e komo mai!


  • Great Leaps Dance Concert Fall 2017

    December 1st @ 7:30 pmDecember 2nd @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    Great Leaps Dance Concert Fall 2017

    Enjoy over 150 UH Hilo, HawCC 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 meets Dweezil Zappa

    December 8th @ 7:30 pmDecember 9th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra meets Dweezil Zappa

    Son of the legendary Frank Zappa, Grammy® Award winning artist and accomplished musician and performer in his own right, Dweezil Zappa is coming to Hilo to perform with the UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Trever Veilleux. Dweezil has been touring around the world continually playing his dad’s music with his band Zappa Plays Zappa since 2008. He has also released multiple solo albums, the most recent being Via Zammata in 2015. Dweezil and the Jazz Orchestra will play an electrifying set to commemorate five years of fall concerts celebrating the music of Frank Zappa. Get your tickets early because they are sure to sell out even quicker than they normally do!


  • Tessa Lark, Violin and Amy Yang, Piano

    January 9th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Hawaii Concert Society presents: Tessa Lark, Violin & Amy Yang, Piano
    By popular request, a return performance by two wondrous musicians. Tessa Lark has in recent years firmly established herself as one of the new generation's most outstanding young string virtuosi. Amy Yang has been hailed as a 'magnificent artist and poet'. Together they make music that is truly a joy to hear, as our January 2016 audience can attest. Their concert will include both solo and duo pieces.


  • Cuarteto Latinoamericano

    January 30th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Hawaii Concert Society Presents: Cuarteto Latinoamericano
    Cuarteto Latinoamericano has been one of the world's most renowned classical music ensembles for more than thirty years. In addition to performing the standard string quartet repertoire, they are a leading proponent of Latin American music for string quartet. Winners of the 2012 and 2016 Latin Grammys for Best Classical Recordings, they have been recognized with the Mexican Music Critics Association Award and have three times received Chamber Music America/ASCAP's "Most Adventurous Programming" Award.


  • Trio Rafale

    March 6th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Hawaii Concert Society presents: Trio Rafale
    Named after the French word for a gust of wind, this rapidly rising Swiss piano trio has been bringing a fresh breeze to the chamber music scene since 2008. First Prize winners at the Melbourne and Osaka International Chamber Music Competitions, the Zurich-based ensemble will be visiting Hawai`i as part of its first American tour.


  • Masters of the Currents

    March 8th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    Masters of the Currents

    Calling upon the shared histories of refugees in Hawaii, Masters of the Currents serves as a creative bridge between new and old immigrant communities.

    Lead artists Ova Saopeng and Leilani Chan, have created a performance project that uncovers the disconnections in the community, explores their underlying causes and opens an ongoing dialog that seeks sustained healing for a fractured community. They have been collecting stories from members of the Micronesian community through interviews, story circles and ensemble workshops. Community leaders, cultural bearers and educators across immigrant groups have come together to inform the “Masters of the Currents” theatre production.

    What is happening in Hawai’i has happened before and is happening all over the world. The Micronesian community is literally following in the footsteps of the Southeast Asian community 40 years ago, replacing them as the new wave filling in the very same housing projects and public schools. The recent arrivals from Micronesia are faced with lack of support and misunderstanding of their plight. They are being blamed for seeking a better life. The community response, in general, is often unwelcoming or outright ignorant with calls for refugees to “go back to where they came from,” not realizing there is no place for them to return. For Micronesians, “going back” means returning to uninhabitable islands. This fear only makes the transition for new arrivals, already reeling from trauma, a much more difficult ordeal. This piece demonstrates the transformative power of theater to; create empathy, provide healing and inspiration, create exchange between different ethnic and racial groups and build compassion for each other as human beings.
    “We believe the ocean does not separate us, it connects us.” - Innocenta Sound-Kikku


  • The Alt

    March 22nd @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    The Alt

    The Alt is comprised of the three members that could rightly be considered a supergroup of folk music. First up is Ex-Solas member, renowned guitarist and songwriter John Doyle. Doyle is well known throughout the folk community for his stellar compositions and musicianship and has worked with everyone from Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Tim O’Brien, to name but a few. Then there’s Nuala Kennedy. She is a noted flautist, singer and songwriter in her own right, touring all over the world and recording with artists like Will Oldham and Oliver Schroer for which she has received critical acclaim and recognition. Finally there’s Eamon O’Leary, who in addition to having performed and recorded with many of the top names in Irish music, is one half of the critically acclaimed Murphy Beds. The Murphy Beds have collaborated with longtime alt-folk greats Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Beth Orton along with several other respected musicians in their field.

    As a trio, they make beautiful and compelling music that celebrates and demonstrates their love for old Irish ballads and freshly discovered songs that make up the rich Irish folk tradition. Each of these master musicians use their partnership and talent to touch at something deeper in the music and make it all their own.

    “Every song has been well chosen and each is delivered with a style and clarity that shows all three singers to be masters of their craft.” Folk Radio UK


  • Aloha Las Vegas

    April 12th @ 7:30 pmApril 13th @ 7:30 pmApril 14th @ 7:30 pmApril 15th @ 2:00 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    ALOHA LAS VEGAS
    By Edward Sakamoto
    Directed by Justina Mattos
    Thursday – Saturday, April 12 – 14, 2018 @ 7:30pm & Sunday, April 15, 2018 @ 2:00pm

    Aloha Las Vegas centers on a retired baker, land rich but cash poor, who wrestles with the decision to relocate to Las Vegas in 1994. Sakamoto is quick to challenge easy affirmations and identifications. Beneath their feel-good humor and celebration of local language and culture, the play has a depth and an unpredictability. As Dennis Carroll observes in his Introduction, the play centers on the theme of "Hawai'i versus the mainland" and the challenges of relocation--the ambiguities of the definition of "home" and whether it can ever be recovered or regained--and the special qualities of local life that can or cannot be transplanted. This theme is relevant to all Americans familiar with the immigrant experience, not only those living in Hawai'i. This comedy comes to the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center stage for the first time.


  • Great Leaps Dance Concert Spring 2018

    April 27th @ 7:30 pmApril 28th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    Great Leaps Dance Concert Spring 2018

    Enjoy over 150 UH Hilo, HawCC 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 Concert

    May 3rd @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra Concert

    UH Hilo Jazz Orchestra performs the annual Spring Concert


  • We Sing the Spring

    May 6th @ 2:00 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    We Sing the Spring

    Join UH Hilo's Kapili Choir and University Chorus as they celebrate choral music from past and present, near and far. All are welcome at this concert featuring the beauty of choral music.


  • Joyce Yang, Piano

    May 9th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.

    Hawaii Concert Society Presents: Joyce Yang, Piano
    The season concludes with a Hilo audience favorite. Van Cliburn International Piano Competition silver medalist and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient Joyce Yang is blessed with 'poetic and sensitive pianism' and a 'wondrous sense of color' and captivates her audiences with 'virtuosity, lyricism and interpretive sensitivity'.