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Planning UNCW Presents and Lumina Festival

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Lumina Festival and the 2019-2020 UNCW Presents season will be here before we know it, so the UNCW Office of the Arts is in the season of planning! For the inside scoop of the planning of these Wilmington shows and series, I went Behind the Curtain with Jeremy Summers, our Operations Director. 

Kenan Auditorium Wilmington ShowsUNCW Presents and the Lumina Festival aim to bring unique and diverse talent to the Kenan Auditorium stage, Wilmington community, and UNCW campus. “What we do is try to engage the audience and make them think differently. We’re trying to intrigue,” said Jeremy. When looking for performers to fill the schedule, we search for performers who will bring a different way of thinking about the performing arts to the audience. 

“It all starts with a vision,” Jeremy said. The Office of the Arts has a committee of staff members comprised of Kristen Brogdon, Director of the Office of the Arts, Fidias Reyes, Artist Services & Residency Manager and Jeremy, who meet weekly to discuss the nuts and bolts of each season. Each committee member brings their own performing arts lens to the table and have extensive backgrounds in theatre, music, dance and the minute aspects of arts programming.  

UNCW Presents and Lumina Festival performers are mostly discovered at conferences such as the North Carolina Presenters Consortium, the Performing Arts Exchange by South Arts, and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals conference (stay tuned for our coverage of APAP in early January!). After each conference, the committee members come back with a wealth of exciting ideas of performers, who may be perfect for either the upcoming season or later seasons down the line.  

Sometimes the committee starts with a theme for the season, and some years a theme begins to emerge as the programming comes together.  Themes help the group imagine how each performance will be in conversation with all the others. These themes are used to “steer the season in a direction, to shape what we’re trying to do,” Jeremy said. The Lumina Festival will continue to be based around local and regional artists and art forms, and themes are emerging for the new UNCW Presents season around water and fluidity, with a heavy representation of female creators. 

Jeremy said his favorite part of the planning process is “the culmination of the show, the completion of the puzzle,” when he getto see all the nuts and bolts come together to create magic for the audience. 

UNCW Presents has a full schedule of exciting Wilmington NC shows scheduled for 2019 including Jenny Scheinman’s Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble. Check back for news on this summer’s Lumina Festival and we look forward to seeing you at Kenan Auditorium soon! 

-Lindsay Lake