IAAPA News - New Member Spotlight - November 2018


Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Orlando, Florida, United States

by Juanita Chavarro Arias

With its palm tree-lined outdoor arts plaza, two theaters (with a third under construction), and education program, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is an attraction in its own right as the place where the arts are brought to life on and off the stage. Since opening on Nov. 6, 2014, Dr. Phillips Center, located on a 9-acre site in downtown Orlando, has established itself in the Central Florida community as a gathering place to explore and celebrate the arts, honoring its vision of “Arts for Every Life.”

The modern, 330,000-square-foot facility offers venues for touring shows—including Broadway musicals, comedy specials, lectures, and popular musicians—and local productions and companies, such as Orlando Ballet and Opera Orlando. Dr. Phillips Center currently houses two theaters: Walt Disney Theater and Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater. 

Walt Disney Theater is the arts center’s largest venue with more than 2,700 seats and a design that incorporates copper and cherry wood elements. The 294-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater is a multilevel, multipurpose black box theater with several seating and stage configurations for performances and special events.

To fulfill its envisioned three-theater venue design, Dr. Phillips Center is opening in phases. The second construction phase, which broke ground in March 2017, is set to be finished in 2020. The centerpiece of the second phase will be Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat, three-tier acoustical hall and multiform space, allowing for movement of the stage, walls, and floor to accommodate a range of entertainment needs. The addition will also feature The Green Room, a large rehearsal room and performance space.

Beyond presenting performances, the arts center includes administrative offices, rehearsal rooms, and spaces for the Florida Hospital School of the Arts, which hosts classes, educator workshops, master classes, summer programs, training seminars, and school-day performances.

“We’re excited to become IAAPA members—with the Dr. Phillips Center as a destination for international, national, and local artists, it only makes sense to connect with Orlando’s 72 million annual visitors,” says ­Barbara Drahl, vice president of marketing at Dr. Phillips Center.


Fast facts:

  • Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was designed by Barton Myers Associates Inc., HKS Architects Inc., and Baker Barrios Architects Inc. Architect Barton Myers designed the facility with a modern aesthetic that pays homage to the Florida community and environment, which can be seen in the arts center’s roof and glass panels.
  • The Dr. Phillips Center logo is made up of an abstract symbol inspired by the four-beat motion of a conductor’s baton with an orange color scheme evoking Florida’s warm hues.
  • Guests visiting Dr. Phillips Center’s two, soon to be three, theaters enter the facility from the same lobby so no matter which theater they’re visiting, they’ll get the same Dr. Phillips Center experience from the beginning.
  • With an events team and on-site catering, the facility offers a number of special event rental spaces to host banquets, conferences, corporate meetings, weddings, and more.
  • Dr. Phillips Center strives to play an active role in the Central Florida region through community partnerships and outreach programs.