‘The Social Hub On Campus’

‘The Social Hub On Campus’

Faulkner Center follows in footsteps of great entertainers


While University Theatre is considered the mainstage for the University of Arkansas campus, the Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center intends to be home to the sometimes smaller, sometimes quirkier performances that can bring the UA and the community together.

“We’re trying to curate things we see as a need in the community, so we don’t necessarily have to do what’s mainstream but instead reach out to newer demographics moving into the area or those that can’t afford the venues with higher ticket prices,” says Nicole Cotton-Leachman, Faulkner’s managing director. “We want to offer as good a quality [as a professional hall] but more affordable.”

The Faulkner Center officially opened in September 2015 and started off with a 2016-17 season that was a bit on the cautious side with only three productions, Cotton-Leachman remembers. In its second year, the number of shows doubled to six. And in 2018-19, the slate will almost double again, offering 11 performances that range from opera to theater and from television nostalgia to a bluegrass “opry,” she says.

Courtesy Photo
Also on the Faulkner Center schedule is a Valentine’s Day performance with Victor & Penny and the The Loose Change Orchestra playing Prohibition Era music in a “hoppin’ speakeasy” dinner atmosphere.

“We’ve felt almost overwhelmed by the support we’ve gotten,” she says. “And we’re not just putting on shows, we’re teaching the students, staying true to our mission that every performer who comes in is interacting with a department on campus — not necessarily performing arts — or interacting with a community group. Randy Noojin did the library. Another group will be doing an event or two at the library in the coming season; Victor and Penny of the Loose Change Orchestra plan to do an OLLI class. And we’re looking at the possibility of doing a performance at Butterfield Trail Village’s new performance hall.

“Part of our mission is to break down that barrier between the university and the community. This is for everybody.”

Cotton-Leachman says the season is themed “Absolutely Timeless” to remind people that the space that is now the Faulkner Center has always been a gathering place on campus. Back when it was the field house, she says, some of the biggest names in music performed there — Dave Brubeck, James Brown, Peter, Paul & Mary.

“It was totally the social hub,” she says. “And now it’s come full circle.”


Faulkner Center

2018-19 Season

Sept. 7 — “Through the Years” with Sarah Mesko, a University of Arkansas alumna and rising opera star.

Sept. 9 — “8 Decades of Smiles with Peter Funt,” a stage comedy combines quips, clips and notable moments from decades of the popular television show “Candid Camera.”

Oct. 5 — “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” with the Hillbenders.

Nov. 13 — Gina Chavez, a Latin pop performance produced by the MP3 Club, a university student-led organization.

Nov. 15 — Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra playing the music of Scott Joplin.

Jan. 29 — Folk and blues singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster, who will be accompanied by the UA Inspirational Chorale, in a performance presented in association with the Walton Arts Center.

Feb. 14 — Victor & Penny and the The Loose Change Orchestra playing Prohibition Era music in a “hoppin’ speakeasy” dinner performance.

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The 2018-19 season at the Faulkner Center includes Sylvia Milo’s award-winning, one-woman show “The Other Mozart,” the story of Wolfang Amadeus Mozart’s sister.

March 7 — Sylvia Milo’s award-winning, one-woman show “The Other Mozart” the story of Wolfang Amadeus Mozart’s sister.

March 29 — Bluegrass by Trout Steak Revival with Smokey & the Mirror and the Arkansas Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

April 26 — Award-winning Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev.

TICKETS — Packages range from $40 to $200

INFO — 575-5387 or faulkner.uark.edu

Categories: 'Tis the Season