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UCF Celebrates the Arts to Team with Orlando REP to Produce The Giver

photoThe Giver, an award-winning social-science novel that has become a staple reading assignment in many middle schools around the country, will be a featured stage performance during the upcoming UCF Celebrates the Arts festival.

The popularity of the production was recently exhibited when a morning festival performance of the Lois Lowry book was first offered exclusively to Central Florida schools for field trips. It quickly sold out.

A free evening performance open to the general public will be 7 p.m. April 13 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.

The third annual festival April 7-14 features more than 1,000 university students and 100 faculty members showcasing presentations in theatre, dance, orchestra, choir, big band, chamber music, cabaret, concert bands, opera, visual arts, studio art, gaming, animation, photography and film. Tickets are free but are required for admission.

The Giver is one of two books to win Newbery Medals by Lowry, who has written more than 30 novels for children. The award is presented annually by the American Library Association for distinguished contribution to literature for children. She was recognized for Number the Stars in 1990 and The Giver in 1994, and she twice has been a finalist for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest award for creators of children’s books.

The Giver also was made into a 2014 movie starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Brenton Thwaites.

The book tells the story of 12-year-old Jonas, who lives in a world where everything is under control and safe. Everyone is eventually assigned a role, and it has become time that Jonas is chosen for special training by The Giver to be the only one to be the keeper of the memories of the community. Over time, Jonas discovers things aren’t as perfect as they seem, and what it means to grow up and take control of his own destiny.

The Orlando REP is home to the university’s MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences graduate program.

The Giver will be directed by graduate Tara Kromer, and feature design work by UCF faculty members Vandy Wood and Tan Huaixiang. Alumus Chris Brown is production manager and alumna Carrie Kasten Smith is assistant production manager. Two undergraduate alumni are working on the design team, Alyx Jacobs and Anthony Narciso.

The play includes strobe lights and is not suited for children younger than middle school.

This is part of a series of stories about the April 7-14 events at UCF Celebrates the Arts 2017. All events are free, but tickets are required for performances and entrance into the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando. Ticketing and full schedule details are posted at http://arts.cah.ucf.edu/.

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