UVU celebrates opening of new Noorda Center for the Performing Arts


It wasn't scissors, but swords that dramatically cut the ribbon at a ceremony officially opening the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University March 25.

Two Renaissance lords -- UVU theatre students in costume -- were among the surprise dignitaries to appear during the ceremony, and they delivered the unusual implements used to cut the ribbon. The event is the beginning of The Week of Dreams at UVU, a celebration of The Noorda and the inauguration of UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez.

The Noorda is the new home of the arts on UVU’s campus. It took two years to complete construction, and many more years to build financial support for the new facility — making the grand opening that much more special.

“The arts make us better people, the arts elevate us, the arts break our hearts and make us better,” President Tuminez said at the event. “What we do here will outlive us.”

The 130,000-square-foot building includes an 889-seat concert hall, a 502-seat proscenium theater with an orchestra pit accommodating a 35-piece ensemble, a versatile black box theater, two dance studios with retractable seating, and an outdoor amphitheater. The Noorda was built as five separate buildings, each with its own foundation, walls, and insulation to prevent noise transfer from one venue to the next. The building has seven performance venues, 27 soundproof practice rooms, 27 private teaching studios, and one classroom. Beginning March 26, the Concert Hall venue will become the Utah County home to the Utah Symphony, who will perform at The Noorda six to seven times per year.

Speakers at the ceremony included VP for Institutional Affairs Scott Cooksey, VP for Finance and Administration Val Peterson, Dean of the School of the Arts Stephen Pullen, and cornerstone donor Andy Noorda.

Jason Alexander, a Tony Award-winning actor and singer, was also present for the ribbon-cutting. He is the first to perform in a series of concerts in the weeklong celebration on the stages of The Noorda.

The opening ceremony included a performance from UVU’s Men and Women’s Choir, singing “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent,” changing the lyrics to “How do you measure our dreams?”

Last year, the School of the Arts graduated 200 students, and has more than 1,800 students currently enrolled in more than 20 programs.

“We take this stewardship very seriously,” Pullen said. “We mean to achieve, to accomplish dreams, and to help students realize their dreams.”

Other events during The Week of Dreams include a performance by the Utah Symphony, the inauguration of President Tuminez, a lecture from actor, artist, and former NFL player Terry Crews, and a concert from Broadway actress Sierra Boggess. For a full list of Week of Dreams events, visit https://www.uvu.edu/president/inauguration/.


The arts make us better people, the arts elevate us, the arts break our hearts and make us better.