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The Mann Center for the Performing Arts

Philadelphia , PA         

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts is one of Philadelphia’s leading cultural and civic assets—presenting a world-class performing arts series that reflects the region’s diversity, providing broad access to and an educational context for its presentations, and serving as a community anchor for its surrounding neighborhood and the city. Founded in 1935 as the summer home of The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Mann has evolved to become the premier summer outdoor cultural performing arts center for residents of the Greater Philadelphia region. With its informal, welcoming, accessible, and flexible outdoor setting, the Mann is situated to embrace the changing expectations of 21st-century audiences, who are seeking more than a passive listening experience, no matter how exceptional the music.

The Mann serves nearly 200,000 patrons annually in its 14,000-seat venue, presenting diverse musical genres including classical, pops, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, indie, and country. The Mann has always focused on bringing world-class artists and touring companies to the community, building a distinguished history of landmark performances that have included Mikhail Baryshnikov; Leonard Bernstein; Ray Charles; Ben Folds, Wynton Marsalis; The Metropolitan Opera; Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and The Philadelphia Orchestra with soloists Itzhak Perlman, Lang Lang, and Yo-Yo Ma. Located in Philadelphia’s West Parkside neighborhood, the Mann also takes seriously its role in this predominantly low-income, African American community. The Mann’s free educational programs serve nearly 30,000 economically disadvantaged children annually through young people’s concerts, school presentations, workshops, master classes, and artist residencies.

Under the leadership of Catherine M. Cahill, who joined the Mann as President & CEO in 2008, the Mann has developed its audience base through capital improvements and strategic programming and outreach that engage 21st-century audiences. The Mann has raised and invested nearly $25 million in facility renovations, technology upgrades, and improvements that better serve the needs of artists, audiences, and the community; established a long-term partnership with internationally recognized promoter AEG Live; worked to present innovative orchestral programming that draws new audiences; committed to developing cultural programming that is relevant to minority and underserved audiences; and dedicated staff to engaging audiences through digital media. Over the past five years, total show attendance has increased by 48%, and ticket sales have grown by 41%. The Mann’s website and social media channels have logged year-over-year increases in the numbers of unique web visitors, page views, “likes,” and followers, and the Mann is successfully drawing new and younger audiences to both its orchestral and popular programming. The Mann has been nominated three times in five years as “Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue” by the premier national entertainment publication “Pollstar.”




The Mann Center co-commissioned and premiered a daring new puppet production of Stravinsky’s classic ballet “The Firebird.” In an extraordinary dialogue between Russian and South African artistic traditions, the 2016 world premiere performance featured The Philadelphia Orchestra, Grammy Award-winning South African vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and larger-than-life-sized puppets inspired by the artistry of the Broadway sensation “War Horse” and created by Janni Younge of South Africa’s renowned Handspring Puppet Company.

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Mann Center in 2016: A 40th Anniversary Season

The legacy of artistic excellence that has been the hallmark of the Mann these past 40 years is carried on in this season’s varied and accessible orchestral programs. From the beloved music of Tchaikovsky, the powerful works of Stravinsky, to the magical film score of John Williams’ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ and Howard Shore’s iconic film score in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers™, this year’s Classics Series promises to offer a rich and dynamic orchestral program for every taste and preference.

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The Mann Center for the Performing Arts is committed to increasing opportunities for all children to participate in and understand the arts, providing occasions to experience sights, sounds, and rhythms that celebrate the magic and richness of the performing arts from around the world–often for the very first time. Since its inception in 1997, the Mann’s Education Department has provided a wide array of quality multicultural educational programs for students, teachers, and the community and has directly impacted over 600,000 students.

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