In the Loop
Press Release : Mar 15, 2019

University of Florida hosts week-long public health, performing arts festival

By Christian Alfonso

Gainesville, Fla.—At the intersection of public health, arts and culture lies the potential for building stronger and healthier communities in America. The University of FloridaCenter for Arts in Medicine in partnership with ArtPlace America and UF Performing Arts is hosting “Staging Wellness: Live Performance and Public Health,” a weeklong festival March 16 through 22 designed to place theatre and live performance at the intersection of public health.

Staging Wellness features three stage productions based on lived experiences and personal narratives, conducted as a powerful method to connect to public health issues. The three performances are:

From Colored to Black: Based on the oral histories of African Americans from North Central Florida, this play encompasses over eighty years of Florida’s black oral history. The production is intended to provide the foundation for discussing and educating the public on issues of health disparities, social structures and inequalities, diversity and inclusion, and the local civil rights movement in Florida.

“Public health issues are made tangible through the arts,” said Jeffrey Pufahl, producer and co-director of “From Colored to Black.” “Nothing communicates the human experience better than theatre and the arts.”

“From Colored to Black” is showing 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on March 16 and at 2 p.m. on March 17 at Squitieri Studio Theatre, 3201 Hull Road. Tickets are free and must be reserved through the University of Florida Preforming Arts website or on Eventbrite.

Mercy Killers: This one-man show centers around Joe (played by Michael Milligan), an auto mechanic in Middle America whose life is turned upside down when his wife is diagnosed with a terminal illness and he cannot afford to pay for her care. Milligan’s performance is intensely powerful as he navigates our nation’s complicated health insurance system.

Mercy Killers is on stage at 7:30 p.m. March 21 and 22 in the Squitieri Studio Theatre. Tickets are $30 for the public and $10 for UF students and can be purchased on the UF Performing Arts website.

Richard Kogan: As a concert pianist and a clinical psychiatrist, Kogan performs lecture-recitals in which he explores the influence of psychological forces as well as medical and mental illness on the creative output of the great composers while expertly playing their works. Each evening will be dedicated to the work of a different composer.

Kogan will perform The Mind and Music of George Gershwin at 7:30 p.m. on March 19 and Beethoven’s Deafness: Psychological Crisis and Artistic Triumph at 7:30 p.m. on March 20 in the Squitieri Studio Theatre. Tickets are $35 for the public and $10 for UF students, which can be purchased on the UF Performing Arts website.

For more information on the Staging Wellness: Live Performance and Public Health events, visit