Woman with black hair with red streaks and bangs wearing a red and black dress grinds pigments on stone in front of a red tiled wall
"Sandy Rodriguez: Unfolding Histories" opens at the Art, Design and Architecture Museum this winter.

New season brings new line-up of performances, art exhibitions, concerts and more

For those who put “attend more live performances and cultural events” on their list of new year’s resolutions, UC Santa Barbara’s performing arts and culture hubs offer plenty of opportunities to stay on target. From film screenings to visual music concerts, the winter quarter has plenty in store for students, scholars and events enthusiasts.

Film and television

The Carsey-Wolf Center (CWC) is presenting several events this season, including a new installment of its ongoing series CWC-TV. UCSB alum and “The Sopranos” director James Hayman will be at the Pollock Theater for a screening of the episode “Eloise” and a discussion of the hit show’s enduring legacy, moderated by Patrice Petro, CWC Dick Wolf Director. The event is on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 7–9 p.m.

Later in January, the CWC will present the next installation of the Big Screen film series, with a showing of “Now, Voyager” starring Bette Davis, followed by a talk with E. Ann Kaplan, author of “Feminism and Film.” Moderated by Petro, the event will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 7–10 p.m.

CWC events for February and beyond can be found on their website.


UCSB’s professional dance company in residence, Santa Barbara Dance Theater returns for a new season under artistic director Brandon Whited. The winter concert will feature a new work by Whited, who is also a professor of dance. Guest choreographers David Maurice Johnson and Helen Simoneau will showcase their work. Johnson will premiere a duet, and Simoneau will perform an excerpt of her piece “DARLING” which premiered in 2020.

Shows are set for Jan. 18–21 at 7:30 p.m., and Jan. 22 at 2 p.m., in the Hatlen Theater. Pre-sale tickets are $13 for faculty, staff, alumni, students, seniors and children, and $22 for all others. Tickets purchased the day of the show are $15 and $25, respectively.  

Artistic director Delila Moseley and the UCSB Dance Company will offer their season opening concert, “Full Circle,” March 9–11. Their first full concert in the Hatlen Theater, “Full Circle” is an all-women choreographed company of 16 female and non-binary dancers.


Four new plays receive 20-hour workshops and are presented to the public in this year’s LAUNCH PAD Amplify Reading Series Festival, Jan. 13–14, in collaboration with the National New Play Network (NNPN) and UCSB’s student-led AMPLIFY group.

Formerly known as the BIPOC Reading Series, the LAUNCH PAD Amplify Reading Series Festival was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and works to center equity, diversity, inclusion and access. Over the course of the two-day festival, the theater program will present staged readings of four new plays. After each reading, there will be a discussion with the cast, crew, playwright and director, providing the audience with the opportunity to ask questions and converse.

Starting its run in February is the LAUNCH PAD Preview Production: “She Wolf, Margaret of Anjou,” by Katie Bender and directed by Brainin. The cheeky retelling of Shakespeare’s Queen Margaret will be at the Performing Arts Theater, Feb. 22–March 5. Following, from March 3–12, theater and dance student Roni Ragone’s comedic fanciful play “Night Night, Roger Roger” — directed by Julie Fishell — will be performed at the studio theater, March 3–12.

Art, Design & Architecture Museum

UCSB’s visual art community will be buzzing in 2023 with four new shows opening at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum. All shows will open on Saturday, Feb. 25. The museum will be open for visitors at noon and hold a reception from 5:30–7:30 p.m.   

Coinciding with the bicentennial of the Chumash Revolt, the yearlong exhibition Sandy Rodriguez — Unfolding Histories: 200 Years of Resistance  (Feb. 25–March 3, 2024)

explores moments of resistance from the 19th century to the present. Painting with locally sourced natural materials such as minerals, plants and insects, Rodriguez reaffirms artistic traditions of the Americas. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a double-sided folding screen, or biombo, with inlaid abalone and mother of pearl. One side of the screen has a map of historic and contemporary uprisings, and the other side has a nocturnal view of Santa Barbara as seen from Santa Cruz Island — the area depicted is also known as Limuw, a sacred site of the Chumash community.

Fans of Southern California architecture will be happy to learn about the museum’s upcoming exhibition “Genius Loci: Domesticity and Placemaking in Southern California” (Feb. 25–May 7). Curated by Silvia Perea, curator of the museum’s Architecture and Design Collection (ADC), which celebrates its 60-year anniversary this year, the exhibition features a selection of 10 single-family home projects culled from the ADC — including architects Albert Frey, Bernard Judge, Edla Muir, Lutah Maria Riggs and Rudolph Schindler. Exploring how homes respond to their natural and historical contexts, the show presents new and radical remodeling projects built in desert areas, hillsides, beachfront properties, flat lands and even underground.

The exhibition highlights idiosyncratic and bold houses that contributed to pushing forward their respective creators’ practice, all the while shaping the aspirational lifestyle that cemented SoCal’s modern architectural identity.

Also this winter quarter, the AD&A Museum will open “On Famous Women, 1500–1700” (Feb. 25–May 7). Celebrating illustrious women through 16th- and 17th-century and drawing from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition features paintings, engravings and Renaissance portrait medals, highlighting figures as far reaching as the biblical heroine Bathsheba — whose actions secured the Israelite throne for her son Solomon — and the Grand Duchess and co-regent of Tuscany Christina of Lorraine — a noted patron of science who supported Galileo.

The exhibition’s presentation of works, including the recently gifted painting of Bathsheba from William and Nyna Mahan, takes its cue from Giovanni Boccaccio’s “On Famous Women (1361–62),” the first collection of biographies devoted exclusively to women in Western literature.


The Music Department Corwin Concert Series kicks off the season with “A Night of Visual Music” at the Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The concert will present audiovisual works by six composers, including the UCSB Corwin Chair of Composition Joao Pedro Oliveira. Other series’ performances include the duo Luminico, composed of Rodrigo Sigal, an electronics and video artist, and Alejandro Escuer, a flautist. Luminico will play an interactive concert of sound, video and electronics on Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. Also on the program is  Annette Vande Gorne, presenting a concert of acousmatic music on March 3 at 7:30 p.m.

The music department’s complete lineup of winter events can be found here.

UCSB Arts & Lectures

With a slate of ensembles, artists and thinkers on the UCSB Arts & Lectures winter program, the campus will see winners of Grammy Awards, the MacArthur Prize, the Nobel Prize for Peace and more this season. 

Nobel Peace Prize honoree Maria Ressa will discuss her new book, “How to Stand Up to a Dictator,” Thursday, Jan. 19, in Campbell Hall. Ressa is the founder, CEO and executive editor of Rappler, a news website renowned for its investigative journalism. She will take the stage to describe her legal ordeal at the hands of the Duterte (now Marcos) regime in the Philippines.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m., the Arts & Lectures Great Performances series opens at the Granada Theatre with Joyce DiDonato’s multimedia spectacle EDEN, featuring the Baroque chamber orchestra Il Pomo d’Oro and a special appearance by Sing!, the Music Academy’s community children’s choir. DiDonato will be arriving in Santa Barbara immediately after her triumphant performances as Virginia Woolf in the Metropolitan Opera’s premiere of “The Hours.”

Arts & Lectures moves to the Lobero Theatre Saturday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. for a special presentation of the world-renowned Ensemble Intercontemporain conducted by Matthias Pintscher. The ensemble will perform a new score by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth for the satirical 1924 silent film “City Without Jews.” Co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Jewish Federation and part of the A&L Justice for All initiative, this presentation will examine the roots and rise of anti-semitism in Austria both in the 1920s and today.

Student tickets for Arts & Lectures events are never more than $20, and mostly less ($11–15). See the full Arts & Lectures events calendar at their website

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