2023 in review: The most memorable moments and game-changing news stories

As we say goodbye to 2023, we celebrate the many successes that marked the past year. From worldwide recognition to alumni dominating the industry, our wildly creative, gifted and hardworking UNCSA artists made their marks in 2023.

Below are the moments that marked our year at UNCSA.

On this page:

University Milestones


The launch of UNCSA Media

With generous support from the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, UNCSA launched its first-ever media publishing arm, UNCSA Media — a mission-driven recording label featuring creative projects of faculty and alumni.

LEARN ABOUT our publishing arm

UNCSA Homecoming / Photo: Wayne Reich

The first annual UNCSA Homecoming

From backstage to the limelight, our UNCSA alumni are making their mark all over the world and this year, we were thrilled to welcome our alumni home for our inaugural Homecoming weekend.

Relive UNCSA Homecoming

aRoger L. Stevens in front of The Carolina TheatreRoger L Stevens in front of The Carolina Theatre

The Stevens Center officially closed for renovations

The long-awaited renovation of the Stevens Center took its first physical step as the building closed for construction in November 2023. The final performance was held on Nov. 10, with a concert featuring the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra.

40 years of the Stevens Center

The Nutcracker / Photo: Peter Mueller

“The Nutcracker” finds a new home

UNCSA announced that it would present its annual “The Nutcracker” performances at the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts in Greensboro amid the Stevens Center's long-anticipated renovation.

“The Nutcracker” at the Tanger Center

Robert France

Alumnus Robert Franz named music director of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra

The School of Music announced conductor and alumnus Robert Franz as music director of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra beginning with the 2023-24 academic year and performance season.

Meet Robert Franz

Premier Stage at UNCSA

The debut of the PBS series, “Premier Stage at UNCSA”

The series will give viewers an exclusive look at the stunning performances by UNCSA students and faculty and go behind the scenes to learn about their creative processes.

Watch the series


Amadeus / Photo: Allison Lee Isley

School of Drama ranked No. 3 in the world

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) ranked the School of Drama at UNCSA No. 3 in the world, up from No. 4 last year. This year marked the highest ranking UNCSA has received since first appearing in the publication’s inaugural rankings in 2012.

The World's best program

Film student / Photo: Wayne Reich

School of Filmmaking ranked No. 9 overall, No. 1 for public film schools in the nation

Additionally, MovieMaker Magazine cited the School of Filmmaking’s directing program in its annual list of the “25 Best Film Schools in the U.S. and Canada.”

Nation's top film school

Orlando Paladino opera / Photo: Allison Lee Isley

Costume, wig & makeup named Top 10 in the nation

The Hollywood Reporter named the School of Design and Production (D&P) programs among the Top 10 in the U.S. This marked the sixth consecutive year the program has been in the Top 10.

nationally-ranked programs

Film student / Photo: Wayne Reich

Filmmaking and Drama ranked by top publications

The Hollywood Reporter ranked the graduate-level film music composition program at No. 12 on its list of the Top 20 programs in the world. TheWrap listed the film school No. 11 on its list of top 50 film schools in the U.S. and the School of Drama in its 20 Great Schools for Acting and Theater.

More about the ranking

Sharpen Your Craft

Music students at the International Chamber Music Academy of Southern Germany

The International Chamber Music Academy in Germany

Immersed in the heart of European culture, Music students participated in the International Chamber Music Academy, delving into the intricacies of chamber music and fostering global connections.

Discover the soul of Chamber music

Lauren Lee / Photo: Allison Lee Isley

Lauren Lee's "Photona" light show confirms power in simplicity

In a world filled with complexity, Lighting Design student Lauren Lee sought to showcase the power of simplicity through her "Photona: Muse" project.

Experience the project

Katherine Nettles

A student reflects on seven years in "The Nutcracker"

Katherine Nettles was just ten when she discovered the School of Dance. As her final "Nutcracker" and her final semester swiftly approach, she reflects on her meaningful ballet journey.

Nettles' grand finale

Migratory Journeys soundscape project

Unique project pairs cutting-edge technology and creative sound design

In the spring of 2022, fourth-year sound designer Nora Cuthbertson became the first student in the United States to tell a story utilizing only sound and exclusive cutting-edge technology.

Explore Soundscape

Make a Statement

Anna Lei Negrin

Drama grad discusses importance of elevating AAPI representation in the industry

An "on a whim" audition sparked Drama grad Anna Lei Negrin's love for musical theater. Recognizing the importance of representation, she hopes to make a difference while making a name for herself.

Learn more about Negrin

Camille A. Brown

The ever-expanding universe of Camille A. Brown

Alumna and choreographer Camille A. Brown's ability to chart this emotionally resonant journey with rhythm and movement makes her work critically successful and popular with audiences.

The Evolution of Camille A. Brown

Before We Go

Dance film premiere explores life, the experiences and people who shape us

“Before We Go,” a contemporary dance piece choreographed by alumnus Grady McLeod Bowman, features 31 dance students and explores the lives we lead and the experiences and people who shape us.

Watch the performance

Set Your Career in Motion


Film alum, staff take center stage as "Oppenheimer" 70mm projectionists

"Oppenheimer" has cinephiles excited for a very important reason: it is a rare opportunity to view a film projected in 70mm. Two staff members and eight alumni are serving as projectionists.


Amelia Brown and Harley Haberman

Two alum's journey to Broadway’s “Camelot”

Amelia Brown and Harley Haberman have a lot in common: they both grew up mesmerized by performance hair and makeup, attended UNCSA for Wig & Makeup Design, and landed dream jobs on Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot.”

alumni tress to impress

Wesley Taylor

From digital content creation to acting on NYC stages and voicing podcast characters, it's safe to say Drama alum Wesley Taylor likes to stay busy.

Learn more about Taylor

Tiffany Little Canfield

Alumnus brings stories to life as award-winning casting director

Emmy-nominated for her work with "This is Us" and "Grease, Live!," Tiffany Little Canfield has also cast films including "The Greatest Showmen," "The Little Mermaid" and "The Color Purple."

Learn more about Canfield

by Natalie Shrader

Get the best news, performance and alumni stories from UNCSA.

December 12, 2023