UH Hilo Performing Arts Center will present ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i film for upcoming Keaka Hawaiian Language Theatre Festival

Rather than a live event for this year’s Keaka Hawaiian Language Theatre Festival, crews are producing the film Wordsworth, an ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi musical based on the beloved children’s books by author Frances H. Kakugawa.

Wordsworth, based on the beloved children's books by Frances H. Kakugawa

This message from Lee Dombroski, manager of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center (PAC), was emailed to the university ʻohana on June 3, 2022.

Lee Dombroski pictured
Lee B. Dombroski

As we continue to journey through these unprecedented times and continue to be faced with ever changing challenges we thank you, once again, for your patience over the course of the 2021-22 season. We were actually able to offer two LIVE events this spring, albeit to a limited audience, it was exciting and gratifying for the artists, PAC staff and hopefully the patrons!

We also spent a great deal of time creating a variety of virtual events and hope you had a chance to enjoy those offerings.

Upcoming: Keaka Hawaiian Language Theatre Festival

This year we would typically present the Keaka Hawaiian Language Theatre Festival in the theatre in June. In December we made the choice to create a filmed version of the festival offering and have been working on Wordsworth since January.

Five actors, all with mouse ears, one on high stilts. A Large cube with "W" rests on the stage floor. Fern forest in background.
A scene from Wordsworth. (Courtesy image)

Wordsworth, a musical, is based on the beloved children’s books by author Frances H. Kakugawa (Kakugawa hails from Hawaiʻi Island and now lives in Sacramento, California). The stories of the little poet mouse are beautifully adapted for the stage by Jackie Pualani Johnson (retired professor of drama), with music by Wendell Ing, staged by Justina Mattos (associate professor of drama) and choreographed by Kea Kapahua (lecturer of dance). The play was translated into Hawaiian for the Keaka Festival by Pōhai Montague-Mullins.

We are happy to share Wordsworth with you and your ʻohana online beginning June 10th.

2022-23 Season

The most important news: we are busy planning a season of LIVE events for the 2022-23 season!

In the fall we will present the English language version of Wordsworth, LIVE, with school performances for K-5th grades. We are also booking a number of nationally and internationally renowned dance and music artists for the 2022-23 season. Keep your eyes on your e-mail (to sign up for our email blasts please email us at artsctr@hawaii.edu) and our website for information about all up-coming events.


As a valued member of the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center ‘ohana, you are already aware that your continued support is needed to help the Center fully re-open, regain stability and continue to bring the excellence in programming and community outreach that you have come to enjoy. Our programs are self-sustained and funding for the arts is likely to become even more difficult to obtain as we begin to recover from the pandemic. Your contribution is even more vital than ever. We truly appreciate your assistance.

High-roofed Performing Arts Center with monkeypod tree in foreground.
Performing Arts Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. (Kirsten Aoyagi/UH Hilo Stories)

Your investment in the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center will help us continue to inspire the audiences we touch, the students we educate, and the artists we support.

Now more than ever it is important to remember:

The object of art is to give life a shape.
-William Shakespeare

Mahalo for your dedication to the arts!

Lee B. Dombroski
Manager, Performing Arts Center

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