Virtuoso Partnership Professor Stuart Omans turned
his passion into a chance for students to perform Shakespeare. AS STUART OMANS, UCF professor and chair of the English Department, describes it, “This was a story of passion. The whole thing was a Shakespearean drama. It was great fun and absolutely insane.” Omans is recounting the tale of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Starting with volunteer efforts, expansions took place, awards were garnered, and a multimillion-dollar budget was realized. The catalyst for the theater began in the 1970s, when Omans bused university students to area schools to perform scenes from Shakespeare. And in 1975, FTU received a grant that allowed Omans to produce “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Loch Haven Park. Thousands attended, and midnight performances were added to accommodate demand.
Omans’ script began in the 1970s with a touring bus of students.
ARTISTIC INTERPRETATION IN THE WORDS OF DR. ALVIN WANG, dean of The Burnett Honors College: “Art makes UCF a much better place to teach and learn.” And there is plenty of art throughout campus, including from those doing the teaching. At the Honors College, for example, 17 pieces are on display from UCF faculty Jagdish Chavda, Ke Francis, Scott Hall, Joo Kim, Steve Lotz, Carla Poindexter and Robert Rivers. F
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Now, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater provides a place where UCF faculty members can collaborate with students who are preparing for careers as actors, directors and stage managers. Students are also able to fulfill degree requirements through the theater. As well as designating representatives to the theater’s board of directors, UCF provides financial support. The Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s artistic director also teaches classes and serves as a faculty member for Theatre UCF. More than 40 years in the making, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater has emerged as a full-blown tour de force. F
The 50th Anniversary of UCF issue