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Celebrating Harvard’s Creative Community

Harvard University’s 21st annual ARTS FIRST festival, showcasing student and faculty creativity, will take place Thursday-Sunday, April 25-28, 2013. Sponsored by Harvard’s Board of Overseers and produced by the Office for the Arts at Harvard with partners across the University, this year’s festival will feature more than 200 music, theater, dance, film, visual arts and multidisciplinary events at indoor and outdoor venues.

This year, ARTS FIRST celebrates Harvard’s new site for outdoor events and community gatherings: the Plaza, located between the Science Center and the north side of Harvard Yard above the Cambridge St. underpass. This campus crossroads, the latest addition to the University’s Common Spaces Initiative, has been transformed with new pavers, seating, movable tables and chairs, plantings and a foundation for a temporary structure that will house performances, film screenings and other events.

The festival’s signature Performance Fair will take place on Saturday, April 27, from 1 pm to 5 pm, featuring more than 100 free public performances and presentations at a dozen venues in and around Harvard Yard, including the Plaza. ARTS FIRST 2013 will also include several special events, all free and open to the public:

— The Harvard Arts Medal ceremony honoring Oscar-winning actor/writer/producer Matt Damon ’92, featuring a conversation moderated by actor and fellow alumnus John Lithgow ’67 and presentation of the Medal by Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust. Thursday, April 25, at 4 pm at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St. Tickets are required (free and limited to two per person), available in person, on the phone or online through the Harvard Box Office at Holyoke Center beginning April 16 for Harvard affiliates with valid ID, and April 18 for the public, 617.496.2222 (phone and online orders subject to service fees).

— Films on the Plaza, both starring Matt Damon: Good Will Hunting (1997) on Thursday, April 25 at 10:30 pm; and The Bourne Identity (2002) on Saturday, April 27 at 10:30 pm.

— The Eyes Have It: Fifty Years of Filmmaking at the Carpenter Center, a retrospective of student film and video presented by the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies to celebrate the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts’ 50th anniversary, on Saturday, April 27, 1-5 pm. Highlights include Supermarket Sweep (1991) by Darren Aronofsky ’91, director of Black Swan (2010) and Requiem for a Dream (2000); and Frank Film (1973) by Frank Mouris ’66, an Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short in 1974.

— Harvard Playwrights Festival, staged readings of plays developed by undergraduates in visiting lecturer Liz Duffy Adams’ advanced playwriting class, Thursday-Sunday, April 25-28, 6 pm, Farkas Hall, 12 Holyoke St.

— ARTS FIRST at Harvard Medical School/ Harvard School of Dental Medicine, a series of performances and reflections by HMS students, on Thursday, April 25 at 6 pm, Joseph B. Martin Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall, 107 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston; also on Saturday, April 27, 3:30-5 pm, Paine Hall, Music Building.

— DanceFest on the Plaza, showcasing the extraordinary versatility of Harvard’s 27 student dance groups—ballet, modern, pan-African, hip hop, ballroom, gumboots and more—on Saturday, April 27, 1-5 pm.

Other ARTS FIRST highlights include the Harvard Student Art Show and Sale; student productions of the musical Dreamgirls at Agassiz Theatre and Patrick Marber’s play Closer at the Loeb Drama Center’s Experimental Theater; the American Repertory Theater productions of Beowulf and The Donkey Show at Oberon; the Harvard Glee Club, Radcliffe Choral Society, and Harvard Collegium Musicum performance of Haydn’s “The Creation” at Sanders Theatre; Sea Change, an original theater piece by Dan Giles ’13 on the Loeb Drama Center’s Mainstage; and a performance by the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 16 with soloist Robert Levin at Sanders Theatre.

All Performance Fair events and most ARTS FIRST events are handicapped accessible. For more information, contact the Office for the Arts at Harvard at 617.495.8676, or visit the website. Beginning April 1, download the new ARTS FIRST app via the website or on iTunes, and text AF13 to 25827 for updates and special announcements.

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