Looking Back at Vessels
Photos by Kielinski Photography
On March 7, 2019 – one year before the coronavirus pandemic hit – we presented the world premiere of Vessels
. An Annenberg Center co-commission, this poignant work centered on the question, “What does freedom sound like in a space of confinement?” Set on an abstraction of a slave ship with neither spoken words nor instrumental music, Vessels
explored the journey of African women across the Middle Passage through sound and movement.
Inspiration struck Vessels co-creator Rebecca Mwase when she heard a talk about how millions of enslaved people arrived on these shores with their sanity intact. She immediately thought that song and dance must have played a crucial role. Mwase partnered with Ron Ragin, a singer and composer who focuses on interdisciplinary performance art and music of the African Diaspora, and the two embarked on a four-year journey studying traditional song and dance to create this important work. Read more...
Checking in with some family favorites
Photo of MUMMENSCHANZ by Marco Hartmann
For decades, our family programming, Student Discovery Series and annual Philadelphia Children’s Festival have featured artists from around the world for performances that are at once entertaining and educational. As we miss hearing the delighted giggles and exuberant applause from our youngest audience members, we thought we’d check in with a few family favorites from the past two years and bring the show to you virtually. Enjoy a mesmerizing swing act in the Las Vegas desert by Cirque Mechanics
; a vibrant exploration of Mexican music, dance and costuming by Mexico Beyond Mariachi
; or a classic appearance by MUMMENSCHANZ
from The Muppet Show
in 1976. We can’t wait to see bright, smiling faces of all ages in our theatres again soon! Read more...
Discussion: Medieval Poet Dante Alighieri
Florentine Dante Alighieri is the author of the immortal poem Divine Comedy
, a spiritual journey from hell - through purgatory - to paradise, in which religion, politics, and love intertwine. Arguably the greatest and most famous Italian poet, Dante died in exile in Ravenna in 1321. Now, 700 years later, Ravenna's Teatro delle Albe
, one of the most important experimental theatre companies in the world, celebrates Dante in its show fedeli d’Amore
(Love’s Faithful). The show is one of the numerous projects generated by the Teatro delle Albe’s Cantiere Dante (Dante Workshop), which includes the performance of the entire Divine Comedy
in Ravenna with the participatory support of its citizens: Inferno
were presented in 2017 and 2019, Paradiso is expected to be performed in summer 2021. The Teatro delle Albe brought the Dante project in various geographical locations (such as Matera), organized workshops (Timisoara), and produced a film
about their experience of staging Dante with school children and teenagers in Kibera (Kenya). Read more...
From London to your couch: enjoy National Theatre plays at home
London’s National Theatre
is known for its excellent theatrical productions, ranging from classics to cutting-edge new works. No stranger to world-wide broadcasts, the National has been producing high-quality live recordings of its performances and sharing them globally for over a decade through its National Theatre Live initiative. Now, as no one is able to gather in front of a stage or large-scale screen, the National has captivated the world again with over 12 million views of its National Theatre at Home performances, streamed free each week. Make a date on Thursdays for the next five weeks to enjoy the following productions via the National’s YouTube channel
Small Island - The epic stage version of Andrea Levy's prize-winning novel, directed by Rufus Norris
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Gwendoline Christie plays Titania in the Bridge Theatre's immersive production, directed by Nicholas Hytner
Les Blancs - An African country teeters on the edge of civil war in Lorraine Hansberry’s epic, directed by Yaël Farber Read more...
Artists lead a national conversation in the Abbey Theatre's Dear Ireland video series
The Abbey Theatre's Two Pints sold out the Blarney Stone last season.
Dublin’s historic Abbey Theatre
is an Annenberg Center favorite that we have welcomed to our stages on multiple occasions. Most recently we presented the sold-out Philadelphia premiere of the Abbey’s hilarious Two Pints
at our local pub, the Blarney Stone. Now, in spite of theatre closures and cancelled performances across the globe, the Abbey stands fast by its mission to tell the Irish story through art with its candid new video series, Dear Ireland
The Abbey is widely recognized for its transformative artistry, creating works that are provocative and reflect many different facets of Irish society. Dear Ireland was created with the Irish theatre arts community in mind, employing 50 Irish playwrights to each write a monologue and then nominate an actor to video-record it at home in social isolation. Read more...
Enjoy Enchantment Theatre Company's Peter Rabbit™ Tales with the family
If you’ve ever been to our annual, three-day Philadelphia Children’s Festival, you might have seen a delightful performance by Enchantment Theatre Company
, who we have welcomed at our festival for numerous seasons. In 2017, Enchantment put on three sold-out performances of its charming Peter Rabbit™ Tales
. Now, as an extension of its Enchantment Everywhere outreach initiative, the festival favorite has made the full-length video of Peter Rabbit™ Tales
available for streaming on YouTube (see below). Read more...
Watch Einstein on the Beach through Apr 19
We can’t get enough Philip Glass these days following our memorable #GLASSFEST this past winter. Through April 19, the Grand Théâtre de Genève has provided free viewing access to its full-length production of Einstein on the Beach. Glass and Robert Wilson's groundbreaking opera "has no narration, no plot and follows no biographical intention" (Broadway World), yet draws the viewer in with its poetic, signature Glass progression through time. Co-produced and performed by Swiss theatre group Compagnia Finzi Pasca, Einstein on the Beach opened the Grand Théâtre's 19/20 season.
Virtual Tour of In the Company of Harold Prince: Broadway Producer, Director, Collaborator
In the Company of Harold Prince was a free exhibit at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts that explored the creative trajectory of the late Harold Prince. "Hal," as he was known to those close to him, was a famed Broadway contributor and an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania. Highlights from his career as a Broadway producer and director include West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Company, Sweeney Todd, and Phantom of the Opera.
The exhibit was originally scheduled to run through Mar 31, but was cut short when the museum closed due to COVID-19 precautions. In an effort to make sure the exhibit is still seen, curator Doug Reside created a virtual tour for all to enjoy.