Penn Live Arts Blog

New Student Performing Arts Center Takes Shape

Posted June 21, 2023

Recently, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania reviewed and advanced the design plans for a new Student Performing Arts Center. The trapezoidal-shaped building will be located within a prominent triangular site at 33rd and Chestnut Streets.

The new center, along with the planned Stuart Weitzman Theatre, are the biggest investments in performing arts at Penn since the Annenberg Center opened its doors over 50 years ago.

Working in collaboration with the Office of the University Architect, Platt Student Performing Arts House, University Life and others, Penn Live Arts has helped guide the work by Steven Holl Architects. Penn Live Arts’ Executive & Artistic Director Christopher Gruits said, "We are thrilled to participate in the planning of the new Student Performing Arts Center and consider how it best integrates with other campus resources to enhance the broader arts ecosystem at Penn.”

The new building includes plans for a 300-seat proscenium theatre with full fly tower and orchestra pit, a 125-seat studio theatre with flexible performance and rehearsal capabilities, five rehearsal studios, as well as performance support spaces and a loading dock. Penn Live Arts will manage building operations in collaboration with the Office of the Provost, University Life, and Platt Student Performing Arts House when the center opens, currently planned for the fall 2027.

Gruits added, “It is such an exciting time for the performing arts at Penn. The new Student Performing Arts Center, along with the Stuart Weitzman Theatre, will give our talented Quakers increased access to state-of-the-art facilities, sparking more creativity, innovation and inclusion.”

The future of the performing arts at Penn looks brighter than ever.