Noorda

About The Noorda

Courtney Davis, Interim Dean

After an extended intermission, the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts is back with an exciting 2021‑22 season!

When the world shut down in March 2020, we all thought it would be a few weeks, maybe a month or two at most until we would resume our regular lives and routines. We never could have imagined the impact the pandemic would have for all of us. But we did not give up. The lack of live performances, social gatherings, and being able to share in-person experiences made us reinvent ourselves and profoundly explore the world of the performing arts with bold creativity.

Fueled by our passion for the arts, we learned to stream, record, connect, and present ourselves with new and emerging technology. While some of those enhancements will doubtlessly continue, we simply cannot wait to assemble in our spectacular venues once again to share moving, exciting, challenging, and entertaining events together. With hope on the horizon that the end of the pandemic is in sight, we are excited to present our 2021-22 season.

The Noorda will once again become a home to inspiring events and a hub for the arts in Utah County. In addition to hundreds of performances and presentations by our talented students and acclaimed faculty, the Noorda Series will present world-renowned, award-winning performers and artists such as violin master Joshua Bell, vocal superstars Voctave and Chanticleer, and ensembles such as Ballet Folklorico and Diavolo. We are also incredibly proud to be the Utah County home for the Utah Symphony.

Our mission is to produce and present artistic excellence and that would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors and we are eternally grateful to them. The arts can change the world. We’ve been suffering together over the past year with unprecedented changes and challenges, but we have not had the cathartic power of live performing arts to help us explore our humanity. That changes now. Experience the beauty and wonder with us this season at the Noorda Center.

—COURTNEY DAVIS
Interim Dean, School of the Arts

The Noorda

“Wonder is a more mature form of magic that lasts beyond the moment. Wonder inspires, connects and lifts us to be more.”

We believe the arts transform you. The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts celebrates wonder, through engaging world-class experiences curated for Utah Valley. Through collaboration that inspires professionals and students alike, the venue invites audiences to experience artists in unexpected ways. At The Noorda, you will have powerful experiences that will send you on the path to discovering new ways of thinking or feeling. Featuring graceful aspiring artists whose performances are indistinguishable from seasoned professionals, we invite more of the community to experience high caliber artists in this arts hub at the center of the Utah Valley campus and community.

The History

“It all started with a dream - a vision for a better future, a striving for something more. At UVU, we're reaching for the stars, and as you'll soon see, we happen to have caught a few.”

The Arts have a long history at UVU, going back to the ‘70’s, but that history includes finding space wherever they could, including closets in the library, cafeterias, and converted shop spaces.  The primary performance venue for the School of the Arts for many decades was the Ragan Theatre in the Sorensen Student Center, where academic performances were fit in around Student Association activities. The running joke for many years was that a performing arts center was the number two building priority for the University for the last ten buildings. That all began to change when Tye Noorda approached the university about creating a Theatre Center for Children and Youth.

Mrs. Noorda was interested in funding the center, but didn’t want to fund the building needed for its activities. UVU agreed to match her $2.4 million dollar gift to the University by building a black box theatre. The Noordas deepened their relationship with the university over the next decade through their continued involvement with the Theatre Center they funded. 

President Matthew Holland argued that a full performing arts center was central to the identity of Utah’s newest university as a serious institution. To help achieve that goal, he brought on K. Newell Dayley as Dean of the School of the Arts. Dayley was a well-known composer and musician who had already served as the Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication and Associate Academic Vice President at BYU. Dean Dayley invited Kyle Tresner, and later Kevin Goertzen, to spearhead the School’s fundraising efforts for a new building. Most new building construction only required minimal fundraising to make the case for the need to the state legislature, who then provided the remaining funds. In contrast, the School of the Arts team recognized they would need to raise 50% of the anticipated money to make the case to the legislature about the need for a performing arts center. Building on the relationship with the Noorda family, who generously gave the anchor gift of $4 million for the new Noorda Center, the administration continued to build the kind of relationships across the state to ultimately raise $28 million, the largest amount UVU had ever raised for a single project. With that initial funding, President Holland was able to secure the state legislature’s commitment for the remaining funds. Method Studio won the contract to design the new performing arts studio. They worked closely with the faculty and staff in a process led by Assistant Dean Linda Moore to create a state of the art facility. 

The groundbreaking for the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts occurred on December 1st, 2016, just months before Dean Dayley retired from UVU. The new performance venues were designed around the original black box theatre the Noorda family made possible almost a decade before. Construction progressed quickly, with office spaces for Theatre and Music faculty, a 501-seat proscenium theatre, an 878-seat concert hall that would become the Utah Valley home of the Utah Symphony, a recital hall and dance theatre that could also work as classroom spaces, recording studios for the commercial music program, and rehearsal spaces throughout the building. Initial construction was completed in December 2018 and faculty and students began to occupy the building in January 2019. 

On March 25, 2019, President Astrid Tuminez and Dean Stephen Pullen, along with friend of the University Jason Alexander, representatives of the Noorda family and many other donors, cut the ribbon on the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts. The week of celebration for the new center included the inauguration of President Tuminez, performances by Jason Alexander, the Utah Symphony, and Sierra Boggess, along with productions by the different academic departments in the School of the Arts. The celebration also included a gala masquerade ball and a student dance with the band The Strike. By the end of the Spring 2019 semester, the academic departments had moved their performances to the new Noorda Center for the Performing Arts. 

2019-20 is the inaugural professional performing arts season at UVU and includes guests such as Bernadette Peters, the Utah Symphony, Ballet West, Ririe-Woodbury, Diavolo Dance Company, the Polish National Ballet, Danu, Chanticleer, and many, many others.

 
Noorda

Concert Hall

With room for nearly 900, our largest venue includes a 130-seat choir loft and is one of the most acoustically nuanced halls in the United States. Wait until you hear the magnificent Utah Symphony in this perfectly-designed space – it’s mind-blowing!

 
Noorda

Scott & Karen Smith Theatre

This 501-seat proscenium theatre is the perfect venue for musical theatre, opera, ballet, ballroom dance and plays. Be prepared to be wowed – there isn’t a bad seat in the house!

 
Noorda

Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation Dance Theatre

This versatile and inventive venue seats up to 175 and can be transformed into a number of configurations – including expansive dance studios by day with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide profuse natural sunlight.

 
Noorda

Nu Skin Recital Hall

An audience of 125 can enjoy live music performances in this intimate, acoustically perfect space.

 
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Melanie Laycock Bastian Theatre

This innovative black-box theatre seats up to 150 for intimate and exciting performances in theatre, music, dance and opera.

 
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OC Tanner Atrium

The airy, art-filled lobby features a massive bank of oversized windows for unobstructed views of the Wasatch Mountains and provides an elegant space for receptions, exhibitions and performances.