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Penn Live Arts Blog

Summer Hiatus

Posted June 15, 2022

Our 21/22 season has now come to a close. We were thrilled to welcome audiences back again this year and share in the joy of live performances together. There truly is nothing like the experience of gathering with your fellow audience members to enjoy live music, dance or theatre.

And now, we eagerly look ahead to next year when we will celebrate our 50th anniversary with a season of world and Philadelphia premieres, local debuts, commissioned works and a monumental line-up of amazing artists from around the globe. Read more...

Recent Highlights: Apr – Jun 2022

Posted June 8, 2022

This spring brought two of today’s best dance companies, a lovely mix of musical styles, film premieres, community connections and above all, happy audiences ready to embrace amazing performances. And, to cap it off, the announcement of our 50th anniversary season made it a spring to remember!

Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) and MOMIX both graced our Zellerbach stage, bringing works never before seen in Philadelphia. Read more...

Celebrating our 50th Anniversary – Announcing the 22/23 Season

Posted May 5, 2022

A Legacy of Innovation

In 1971, the Annenberg Center opened as a gift to Penn and Philadelphia, aiming to promote innovation in the performing arts. Now, over 50 years later, we joyously reflect on our legacy, the thousands of artists that enlivened our stages and the millions of people brought together by the transformational power of live performance. It’s a history we are incredibly proud of, one that championed icons and rising stars, amplified diverse voices and illuminated adventuresome perspectives on our world. As we celebrate, we look back and forward in the same moment, seeing our past reflected in the vision for our future, our next 50 years and beyond. Read more...

Recent Highlights: Jan – Mar 2022

Posted April 12, 2022

We kicked off the second half of the season, especially rich and robust in programs, with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. This impressive ensemble of all-male dancers wowed with their technical expertise and en pointe work, but also allowed us an opportunity to share collective laughs as they poked fun at some of ballet’s traditions. Both The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Gay News ran profiles of Trocks dancers with Philadelphia ties, and NBC10 picked up footage of the first performance for their 11 PM newscast. Read more...

5 Questions with Martin Luther McCoy

Posted March 22, 2022

We can’t wait for SFJAZZ Collective to return to our stage on April 3. The ensemble, hailed as “contemporary jazz's premier all-star band” by The New York Times, will debut new compositions and welcome several members to its fold, in a perfect kick-off to Jazz Appreciation Month. In anticipation of their upcoming performance, we caught up with vocalist Martin Luther McCoy to learn more about his process, influences and upcoming projects in just five questions. Read more...

Learn more about the Sachs Program

Posted March 21, 2022

Primary Prism by Philadelphia artist Isaac Tin Wei Lin
Hello Penn Live Arts patrons and blog followers! My name is John McInerney and I am the Executive Director of The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation. Our thanks to the team at Penn Live Arts for inviting us to contribute to the PLA Blog.

If you are a Penn Live Arts subscriber, you may not have heard of us before. The Sachs Program is a relatively new initiative at Penn, founded in 2017 with a gift by Penn alumni Keith and Kathy Sachs. Our mission is to support and inspire creative practice and practitioners across the University. We do that primarily through grantmaking and supporting faculty, staff, students, departments and cultural centers, and other arts advocates at Penn. Read more...

Some thoughts on In a House Besieged

Posted March 16, 2022

The front page of the morning newspaper features a photo of an elderly woman in Ukraine being helped across a pile of rubble by a middle-aged man.

Perhaps it is her son?
Or someone she doesn’t know?
Or someone related to her that she no longer remembers?
She looks confused.
The photo becomes music in our heads. It is brooding music. Cloudy. Prayerful. Read more...

5 Questions with Jarrod Takle

Posted March 2, 2022

Circa’s smash hit, Humans, had its U.S. premiere on our stage back in fall 2018, and we are thrilled to welcome this bold, Australian circus troupe back in March with its newest work, Humans 2.0. As we await this spectacular production, let’s get to know a bit more about longtime Circa ensemble member Jarrod Takle in just five questions!

1) What is your earliest memory of circus arts?
I remember seeing Cirque du Soleil on television as a child. I must have been about five years of age, and it stayed embedded in my brain for at least a year until my parents enrolled me in a local recreational youth circus program (probably an attempt to stop me cartwheeling into furniture). Read more...

Two years and tons of Annenberg Center upgrades

Posted February 22, 2022

Over the past two years, we’ve been very fortunate to embark on numerous projects to renovate and upgrade the Annenberg Center’s facilities and infrastructure. These major improvements, designed by VSBA Architects, were made possible by a gift from Keith L. and Katherine Sachs, which formed the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation in 2016.

On the Annenberg Center’s exterior, the hardscaped approach to the 37th Street entrance has been widened to better connect those doors to the 37th Street walkway. Read more...

5 Questions with Ali Doughty

Posted February 8, 2022

Ali Doughty grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, studying Irish dance at the McDade-Cara School of Irish Dance. She’s now a World Champion Irish dancer and will be gracing our stage with Chicago’s Trinity Irish Dance Company Feb 18-19. We were eager to connect with Doughty and learn more about this amazing local talent in just five questions.

1) What first got you into dance?
When I was eight years old, my mom signed me up for Irish dance summer camp at McDade (now McDade-Cara), our local Irish dancing school, as a way to learn more about my Irish heritage. Ever since then, my dancing shoes have followed me everywhere! I feel very grateful to my teachers Sheila Sweeney, Annmarie Sheehan, and Maureen Hegarty for giving me such a wonderful dance family to grow up in - who would have known that my first dance camp would eventually lead to dancing professionally with Trinity Irish Dance Company! Read more...

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