Performing Deaf Republic

Sunday, April 7, 2024 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

This event is part of UCF Celebrates the Arts 2024. 

Join Theatre UCF for a theatrical adaptation of Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky, followed by a talkback with the creative team.

Ilya Kaminsky is a USSR-born, Ukrainian-Jewish-American poet, critic, translator and professor. He is best known for his poetry collections Dancing in Odessa and Deaf Republic, which have earned him several awards. In 2019, the BBC named Kaminsky among “12 artists who changed the world.” Hear from the author on Saturday, April 6, as he reads selections from Deaf Republic.

Deaf Republic (2019) follows a family of puppeteers as they struggle to resist the war that surrounds them. Drawing connections between global and local political conflicts and conveying the importance of standing up to tyranny, Deaf Republic weaves a rich allegory of the urgency of collective action in times of oppression. Told in two acts, it begins with a shooting of Petya, a deaf boy, by soldiers occupying the fictional town of Vasenka. In response to his murder, the townspeople collectively go deaf, inventing their own sign language and using puppets to resist their oppressors. As the sound of the gun that kills Petya triggers deafness in the villagers, disability acts as a metaphor for the limitations of empathy and dangers of ignorance.

This event is part of the NEA Big Read: Central Florida, which is pleased to present a series of events celebrating Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the power of a shared reading experience. Learn more at

One of Central Florida’s favorite new traditions celebrates ten years! UCF Celebrates the Arts is an immersive and dynamic cultural extravaganza that fuses creativity, innovation and community engagement. This annual festival showcases the artistic prowess of UCF’s faculty and students and invites the broader community to enjoy performances, exhibitions, presentations and interactive experiences. With a focus on accessibility, partnership and diverse offerings, UCF Celebrates the Arts is a unique opportunity for the community to experience the creative side of UCF’s innovative spirit. Events will be held April 3-14 at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Learn more at

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Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts: DeVos Family Room [ View Website ]

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