Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts to Rebrand as Penn Live Arts

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Unveils New Name and Identity, Penn Live Arts

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia’s leading multidisciplinary arts presenter and one of the nation’s premier urban performing arts centers on a university campus, announced today a rebrand and name change to Penn Live Arts. The announcement serves as a redefining moment for the organization as it begins a multi-year 50th anniversary celebration.

The rebrand to Penn Live Arts honors the Annenberg Center’s long legacy of world-class quality and progressive artistry, while also positioning the organization for future growth. Penn Live Arts will serve as the cohesive brand experience in which the performing arts center’s diverse performance, event and University of Pennsylvania offerings will live. The change also heralds a wider variety of programming for audiences including early and new music, cirque, digital offerings, as well as presentations outside the physical Annenberg Center space and a deeper integration with the University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia communities.

A more interconnected arts culture at the University of Pennsylvania

The Annenberg Center has long served as a central asset to student life at the University of Pennsylvania, providing access to world-class artists and performances that bolster the overall student and faculty experience. Penn Live Arts embodies this deeper integration, as exemplified through thematic programming, artist residencies, masterclasses, workshops and by fostering professional development opportunities for Penn students. Additionally, Penn Live Arts will bridge campus and community by offering greater access to the world-class academic expertise and resources of an Ivy League University.

“Penn Live Arts is the culmination of the efforts and dedication over the last several years to continually innovate, connect and offer transformative artistic experiences. Our new name more accurately reflects our position as Philadelphia’s leading presenter of diverse and cutting-edge programming, along with a deeper integration with the University of Pennsylvania,” said Christopher Gruits, Executive and Artistic Director of Penn Live Arts. “It’s fitting to kick off our multi-year 50th anniversary celebration with the announcement of our new brand and identity and begin this exciting new chapter of progress. Our goal is that this rebrand serves as the catalyst for new performance works, new creativity and new connections both in and outside of the theatre.”

Penn Live Arts 21/22 Season

While there are still pandemic-related limitations for artists and touring, audiences will begin to experience the expanded benefits under Penn Live Arts in the upcoming 21/22 season. The 21/22 season reflects Penn Live Arts’ ambitious path with a wider variety of programming including the best artists, from iconic legends to rising stars, with many U.S. and Philadelphia premieres.

21/22 season audiences will also enjoy more innovative performances hosted outside the Annenberg Center walls including Alarm Will Sound at Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill and The Crossing at Church of the Holy Trinity in Rittenhouse, along with a broad range of beloved dance companies, jazz greats, a brand-new, family-friendly cirque series and a season-long film line-up to be announced this fall. 

“If there is anything the past year has reinforced, it is our passion for live performance, as it is core to our mission,” continued Gruits. “We are grateful and proud to have kept artists performing live on the virtual stage, bringing audiences numerous world premieres and debuts as one of the few arts organizations in the city to offer real-time, digital performances. As we safely return to the theatre for our 21/22 season, we eagerly look ahead to our commemorative 50th anniversary under our new brand, Penn Live Arts, as we have much to celebrate. We are thrilled to continue our partnerships with The Crossing, World Cafe Live and Penn’s Italian Studies department. The world-class and progressive artistry featured in our 21/22 season will inspire, challenge and excite both new and existing audiences.”

21/22 Season Dance Highlights

  • Dorrance Dance – In this Penn Live Arts debut and Philadelphia premiere, tap dance meets holiday favorites in The Nutcracker Suite, boasting boogies, slides, struts and dives into Duke Ellington’s intoxicating interpretation of the Tchaikovsky classic. (December 9-11, 2021)
  • Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – Savagely funny satire meets seriously stunning ballet in the gender-bending Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Dancing the fine line between high art and high camp, the Trocks, as they’re lovingly called, are an all-male ballet troupe that honors ballet classics. (January 20-22, 2022)
  • Trinity Irish Dance Company – The birthplace of progressive Irish dance, this troupe fuses Ireland’s vibrant tradition and legacy with ever-evolving, American innovation for an awe-inspiring performance. (February 18-19, 2022)
  • Rennie Harris: LIFTEDRennie Harris, “the most brilliant hip-hop choreographer in America,” (The New Yorker) returns with the Philadelphia premiere of LIFTED. This evening-length, hip-hop theatre production merges the rhythms of house music with the moving vocals of a live gospel choir to explore community and spirituality through dance. (March 18-19, 2022)
  • Mark Morris Dance Group, Pepperland – Mark Morris, “the most successful and influential choreographer alive,” (The New York Times) celebrates the Beatles’ groundbreaking album Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with his colorful and exuberant Pepperland. (May 5 -7, 2022)
  • MOMIX, Alice – Go down the rabbit hole with MOMIX! In the Philadelphia premiere of Alice, Moses Pendleton creates a uniquely MOMIX, fantastical Wonderland where the human body has no limits and nothing is what it appears. (June 2-4, 2022)