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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

  • Dance Collective

    September 29th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    Dance Collective

    It is with great pleasure and honor that we announce the second Dance Collective concert. What might have remained just a singular sensation has turned into a sequel of sorts due to the overwhelmingly positive response from the participants and attendees of last year’s event.

    Many of you came out to support not only the extraordinarily talented and hardworking dancers and choreographers who graced the stage, but also the message behind the show: that of creating a strong, vibrant and cohesive dance community in which everyone could participate.

    So here we are with another diverse show, excited to continue building upon that message.

    This show features a range of new and established dancers and choreographers from Island Dance Academy, Paradise Performing Arts Center, Center Stage Dance Alliance, N2 Dance and UH Hilo Dance department to name but a few.

    The proceeds from this event will go toward providing dance opportunities for our island community and perpetuating this event.

    For those who came last time, we hope to see you again. For everyone else, we hope that you will join us in this year’s Dance Collective!


  • Shank's Mare

    October 4th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Performing Arts Center.
    Shank's Mare

    The story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space. Using traditional Kuruma Ningyo puppetry, video projection and live music, the piece explores themes of life and death and how tradition is passed on.

    In the piece, a medieval astronomer and his assistant track a comet across the heavens; a swordsman turns bandit out of grief. All wander up mountains, into snowstorms and eventually, through time. To the sounds of hammer dulcimer and flute, a golden goddess occasionally sends down emissaries, like the enormous wooden stag who fixes the audience with her black gaze. A complicated scale model set, filmed and projected as live scenery, turns the stage into a cabinet of wonders.

    “You simply won’t see better puppetry anywhere nor a tighter braiding of methods old and new nor artists working so confidently at the peak of their craft.” Helen Shaw, TIME OUT NY

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


  • Okareka Dance Company presents: Mana Wahine

    October 24th @ 7:30 pm
    Location: Perfroming Arts Center.
    Okareka Dance Company presents: Mana Wahine

    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


  • 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!


  • 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.