Featuring seven events, the University of Central Missouri announces the 2019-20 UCM OVATION Performance Series, a curated presentation of exceptional musicians, actors, and dancers who will bring high-impact artistry to West Central Missouri audiences.  

The series commences with a play Oct. 23-26 by the winner of the UCM National Playwriting Competition for Theater for Youth, Laura Shamas. “Top Secret Deer Daycare,” to be performed at the Black Box Theatre stage in Nickerson Hall, is a play about the relationship between two children who embark on a mission of environmental stewardship.

The theme of environmental stewardship continues Nov. 6, when Ghanaian master percussionist Tijan Dorwana joins UCM faculty member Alex Smith for a multi-media performance that includes live gyil performance, carving, film, and discussion on the impact of global consumption on indigenous communities. 

On Nov. 9, UCM welcomes to Hart Recital Hall Kyle Mullins, artistic director, and the Cerca Trova Dance Company. Cerca Trova is a contemporary repertory company founded by Mullins in 2018. Based in Kansas City, Cerca Trova’s mission is to present dance works both new and historical by local, regional, and national choreographers. 

Spring 2020 begins Feb. 8 with Scott Cox’s one-man show in the James L. Highlander Theatre, “And God Did Shake the Pear: Shakespeare for Everyday Living.” Cox, who is founder and director of Living Shakespeare, a rehabilitative theatre program at Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas, believes “The Bard” has answers to almost any question one can pose on the subject of life.        

Boston Symphony violinist Catherine French and St. Louis Symphony pianist Nina Ferrigno present a concert March 9 in Hart Recital Hall celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. 

UCM School of Visual and Performing Arts returns to the Kauffman Performing Arts Center March 30 for the “President’s Gala 2020: The Arts are the Future.” Performing alongside UCM students and faculty, the featured artist will be UCM alumnus and 2006 American Idol winner, David Cook. 

The season concludes on April 4 with the internationally renowned Mesner Puppet Theater in its first appearance at UCM, presenting “The Cat Came Back.” This family friendly production in Hart Recital Hall will be followed by a special “behind-the-scenes” presentation as well as a question and answer session with the puppeteer. 

Tickets for “Top Secret Deer Daycare” and CercaTrova are now available from the UCM Theatre Online Ticketing system. No tickets are required for Tijan Dorwana, Scott Cox, and Catherine French/Nina Ferrigno. Tickets for the UCM President’s Gala and the Mesner Puppet Theater will be available in spring 2020. 

For more information, visit www.ucmo.edu/ovation or contact Mia Hynes at hynes@ucmo.edu or at 660-543-8900. 


  • Occurred Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 — all day
  • Occurred Saturday, November 9th, 2019 — all day
  • Occurred Saturday, February 8th, 2020 — all day
  • Occurred Monday, March 9th, 2020 — all day
  • Occurs Monday, March 30th, 2020 — all day
  • Occurs Saturday, April 4th, 2020 — all day

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