In-person and virtual events planned for this season at the Ent Center

Allison Speir and Caitlyn Dieckmann

aspeir@uccs.edu , cdieckma@uccs.edu  

TheatreWorks, Galleries of Contemporary Art (GOCA) and the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) department have planned a slate of performances and events with in-person and virtual options throughout this semester.  

TheatreWorks 

      “The Mitten,” by Caitlin Lowans, in collaboration with JParker Arts and Katy Williams Designs, will be performed on Feb. 19-20, 26 and 27 at 15-minute time increments from 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. 

     “The Mitten” is unlike any previous TheatreWorks performance — it will take place entirely outdoors. The COVID-19-safe shadow puppetry show, with music by UCCS Professor Sean Hennessy, will take place around the exterior of the Ent Center, and the story will be told in five scenes. Groups of 12 guests will move around the Ent Center to watch each part of the performance. 

     Tickets for UCCS students are free; for non-students, they are $10 for adults and $7 for children. One can reserve tickets here. The performance time is about 35 minutes. 

      Four free virtual, full-cast story readings will also be performed via Zoom on four Sundays throughout the semester from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. 

     “Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue,” written by Quiara Alegría Hudes and directed by Julio Austin, will be read on Feb. 21. This story is about a soldier who is considering serving the U.S. for a second time in Iraq. Many themes will be explored including the bond among family members and service to oneself and one’s country. 

     “The Piano Lesson,” written by August Wilson and directed by Marisa Hébert, will be read on March 14. Bernice Charles’ family treasure is a beautiful piano, but when Bernice’s brother decides he wants to purchase land that their family once worked as slaves on, he says he wants to sell the piano. See what happens to the antique piano in this version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play. 

     “Aubergine,” written by Julia Cho and directed by Lisa Marie Rollins, will be read on April 11. A chef is trying to support his dying father when an uncle visits and brings along a surprise recipe that may bridge the gap between life and death.  

     “Little Women,” written by Kate Hamill and directed by Caitlin Lowans, will be read on May 9. Hamill’s version of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” novels puts a new twist on the adventures of Meg, Beth, Amy and Jo. The play follows the four sisters who stick by each other’s sides through thick and thin. 

     Registration is required to attend these performances. Upon registering, using this link, you will receive an email with the Zoom access information. While attendance is free, donations are welcomed. 

     Some of these performances will also have full performances later in 2021 or in 2022. 

     There will also be a couple of other TheatreWorks performances this season, including “An Iliad,” written by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare and directed by Max Shulman, in late spring-early summer. Dates will be announced later in the season.  

     “An Iliad” will feature one actor and one musician. The TheatreWorks website explains that “they will tell Homer’s timeless tale of fate and fury through vivid storytelling and live music.” More details will be announced later this year about the performance method.  

GOCA 

     Daisy McGowan, director of GOCA, outlined events that both GOCA at the Ent Center and GOCA Downtown have planned for this season.  

     Sara Z. Meghdari, an Iranian American artist, currently has her video “In the U.S.” on display in the lobby of the Ent Center. Her video is a part of The Female Emerging Artists Residency Series (FEARS). 

     According to Meghdari’s website, the aim of this piece is to illustrate the labels and stereotypes of Iran/Persia in American television and movies.  

     Her video is about seven minutes long and can be viewed at the Ent Center Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. through Feb. 15. 

     Kimberly English, a fiber artist from North Carolina, has her exhibition “touch-and-go” on display at GOCA Downtown as a part of FEARS as well. According to GOCA’s website, English’s “work explores themes central to the history of women’s work, its labor force, and the local impact of a global economy — primarily through found textiles.”  

     “touch-and-go” will be on display Feb. 8-March 19 at GOCA Downtown, located at 121 S. Tejon Street. Visitors must make an appointment ahead of time on the GOCA website.   

     Later this semester, “The Space(s) Between” exhibit will be housed at the Ent Center. Created by more than 20 contemporary artists, this work dives into the American West and “[explores] various understandings of how we experience the vastness of place and the iconic nature of this region,” McGowan said via email. “Notions of the horizon as a convention through which we orient ourselves in relation to the landscape are central to the concept.”  

     “The Space(s) Between” will be on display March 11-July 25 at the Ent Center’s Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery of Contemporary Art and at the DU Vicky Myhren Gallery March 11-May 2. Visitors must make an appointment ahead of time on the GOCA website. There will also be a Virtual Gallery Program on April 7 at 5:30 p.m.  

     As part of the Visiting Artists & Critics Series, North Carolina’s Elin O’Hara Slavick will be giving a virtual talk. She utilizes unique photography techniques to explore affairs such as the bombing of Hiroshima. She is also the author of “Bomb After Bomb: A Violent Cartography.” 

     The talk will take place on April 8 at 4:30 p.m. and will be free, but attendees must register via this link

     In the UCCS Senior Visual Art Majors Exhibition, the graduating class of 2021 will be displaying art pieces that they spent the spring semester working on. All different types of artwork will be included, and UCCS seniors will put together the entire exhibit. 

     The exhibition will take place at GOCA Downtown and can be visited by appointment from April 16-May 15. 

     In October 2020, 2,000 windmills with LED lights were installed near the UCCS campus; the windmills light up when the wind blows. “The Windmill Project” is part of GOCA’s Art WithOut Limits program and is also tied to “The Space(s) Between.” The project is across the street from Trader Joe’s on Nevada Avenue and is a quick, easy 5- to 10-minute hike up a trail. There are also signs to direct you. 

     “The Windmill Project” will be on display through October 2021. For more information, see their website

     More livestream event details are scheduled to be announced later in the semester. An Opening Event will be held April 16, and a First Friday event will be held May 7. 

VAPA 

     Kevin Landis, director and professor in the VAPA department, outlined several live, in-person events and student projects taking place in the following months.  

     Every year, VAPA students hold a performance in the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant theater; however, this year’s production of Euripides’ Greek tragedy “Medea” will take place in the larger 800-seat Shockley Zalabak theater later this semester to allow for greater safety and social distancing, according to Landis.  

     Landis said, “We generally do the mainstage production in March, but we decided to do it late, giving as much time as possible, so that we could do it in person.”  

     Another big project that the VAPA department is working on is the creation of a festival atmosphere, led by VAPA student Caleb Hall. 

     “The idea is to finish the year with something in person, totally big and safe,” Landis said.  

     Additionally, Landis said, “We are also in the midst of what we’re calling dance month.”  

     Online dance workshops will be held within the next couple of weeks, available to everyone, free of charge and will be taught by professional choreographers from across the country. 

     “That’s all leading up to our first, we hope, partially in-person performance of senior Olivia Langley’s original dance piece entitled ‘Hecatomb,’” Landis said. 

     Tickets are currently on sale and the piece will take place in the Dusty Loo theater, beginning March 12.  

The Ent Center. Photo taken by Jeffrey Foster.
Photo courtesy of the UCCS photo database.