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Story Time with Stim Returns

Posted November 25, 2020

Family

Penn’s student-led Stimulus Children’s Theatre Company, or Stim, for short, is known for taking their theatrical productions into schools and hospitals to inspire youth through the performing arts. When the pandemic hit, and all in-person events ceased, we partnered with Stim to help bring stories to life in a virtual format. That summer-time series of read-aloud videos was a hit, and we’re happy to kick off a new set of four books read by members of Stim! Check back each week for a story time video featuring the following children’s books:

11/11: Tiara's Hat Parade by Kelly Starling Lyons and Nicole Tadgell
11/18: Leila in Saffron by Rukhsanna Guidroz and Dinara Mirtalipova
11/25: Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller and Jen Hill
12/2: Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen, Heidi Y. Stemple and Anne-Sophie Lanquetin

Read more...

Dance, Romance, and Gender Fluidity: Aviva Film Discussion

Deborah A. Thomas  ·  Posted November 23, 2020

Film

“Sometimes you’re interested in a film because it’s trying to do something, even if it doesn’t quite work.” This was Maori Holmes’ rationale for selecting Aviva, an experimental dance film directed by Boaz Yakin (2020) for the Annenberg Center’s Homecoming @ Home programming. Holmes, Artistic Director and CEO of BlackStar Film Festival, is the newly appointed Curator-at-Large for Film at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School for Communication. Aviva chronicles the long-distance romance between Eden (a New Yorker) and Aviva (a Parisian videographer), as they attempt to merge their lives in New York City. The pair ultimately marry, then split, all the while confronting the ghosts of relationships past and charting new futures, professionally and romantically. Read more...

Our 2019-20 Impact Report

Rachel Messeck  ·  Posted November 10, 2020

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak; we write; we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” – Toni Morrison

Last season, the Annenberg Center connected our audiences with visionary artists from across the globe, presenting groundbreaking work and sustaining a thriving performing arts community in Philadelphia. We championed performance at Penn, collaborating throughout the University and providing students with meaningful exposure to the professional performing arts. We served as a bridge between Penn and our surrounding community, welcoming our youngest neighbors to professional dance, music and theatre performances. And amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we built on the resilience and adaptability of the arts, pivoting to a digital platform to uphold and uplift music, dance and theatre during extraordinary times. Please join us in reflecting on this exceptional year of programming as detailed in our 2019-20 Impact Report. Designed as an academic year calendar, we invite you to explore our impact from last season, whether you read the report in one sitting, come back to it over time, or even print a copy to hang on the wall as a source of inspiration throughout the months ahead. Read more...

5 Questions with Veronica Swift

Posted November 5, 2020

Jazz Annenberg Center Recommends Annenberg Center Debuts

With expansive musical influences, a commanding stage presence and a renowned jazz lineage, vocalist Veronica Swift is carving out her own identity in the world of jazz and beyond, and she’s just getting started. She’s making her Annenberg Center debut on November 12 but let’s get to know her a bit better through our 5 Questions series.

1. Talk about your background.

As many of your subscribers may know, I grew up in a touring jazz musician family. This means I grew up on the road, sleeping in the back seat of a car with my head propped up against a JBL speaker, stopping at drive-thrus, sitting at the bar or in the green room with my sketchbook while my parents gigged with some of the great jazz legends. You know those old MGM movies about the vaudeville family on the road together? Well, once I turned nine years old and started to sing, that was my life. Learning this music and also the way of the road from the greatest of examples in jazz. Read more...

Discussion: Medieval Poet Dante Alighieri

Eva Del Soldato and Mauro Calcagno  ·  Posted October 26, 2020

Theatre

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 and Purgatorio 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...

Caution! Beware! Haunting Halloween Fun Ahead

Rebecca Goering  ·  Posted October 22, 2020

Family

No tricks here! We’ve got a bunch of frightfully delightful treats for you and your monstrous crew. Halloween may look a bit different this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t concoct a wickedly good time. Gather your goblins and ghouls for some spooky decorating tutorials, an audio drama of the classic Dracula, a Danse Macabre dance party, scary ghost light stories, and much more. Happy Halloween friends and fiends!

Creepy Crafts and Spooktacular Stories
Our friends at People’s Light are sharing several tutorials to help amp up your decorating. From monster window silhouettes, papier-mâché pumpkins and yarn spider nests, your Halloween décor will be the best on the block. And next week, check out the company’s seasonal campfire tales via ZooOOooOom. 

Dracula Radio Drama
A love story, mystery and globe-trotting adventure! The University of Delaware’s Resident Ensemble Players (REP) bring the classic gothic horror story Dracula to life. Take a trip back to the days of radio plays as the REP partners with WVUD 91.3 FM for a five-part audio drama series. Listen now to episodes 1-3 and then catch the remaining two live presentations on-air at 7 PM on Oct 23 and 30.  Read more...

5 Questions with Meg Bragle

Posted October 20, 2020

Special Features Early Music Annenberg Center Recommends


Photo by Tatiana Daubek
Discover more about Annenberg Center artists and others whom we find interesting in only five questions. Mezzo-soprano Meg Bragle returns to our stage on November 15 alongside lutenist Richard Stone, co-director of Philadelphia’s Tempesta di Mare. Meg also happens to be a Penn Department of Music Artist-in-Residence and we are thrilled to welcome her to our stage for an evening of music by Purcell, Dowland, Encina and other beloved early music composers. But first, read on to learn more about Meg and how she grew up with impactful music experiences. Read more...

#BecauseOfArtsEd amidst a pandemic

Caroline Leipf  ·  Posted October 15, 2020

Annenberg Center Recommends

While we greatly miss seeing all of you in our theatres this fall, we particularly feel the absence of our youth audiences at our weekday Student Discovery matinees. We continually witness the impact of arts education, and while access to these wonderful programs already had barriers, the pandemic has doubled down on those challenges. Class trips are cancelled, teaching artists and programs are reduced or nonexistent and theatre doors are indefinitely closed.

Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts (AFTA) said during National Arts in Education Week this September, “2020 is unlike any other year. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has threatened the traditional delivery of education and, with it, arts education. With 63 percent of community arts organizations having severe financial loss and 90 percent have cancelled events, and most schools currently pursuing a virtual learning environment, there is an immediate challenge to ensuring that the arts can maintain their valued place in the school day and after school as well.” Read more...

Families can get up and moving with 5 easy arts activities

Posted October 13, 2020

Family

Do some ridiculous magic, learn the samba or make a puppet! With days spent on zoom classes and doing virtual learning, we know families need engaging, hands-on activities to get children moving and having fun. Enter New York’s New Victory Theater and these five, easy arts activities. Your child can clown it up with silly magic tricks, learn to juggle, make household objects come to life or samba across the living room, all with little to no materials or set-up from you (parenting win!).

Looking for even more arts activities? We shared about New Victory’s Art Breaks before as there are tons of great opportunities for kids to try acrobatics, tap dance, prop making, and so much more. Check out the full series here.

Hopefully these quick and simple arts activities help you create some family fun sometime soon!

5 Questions with Tivon Pennicott

Posted October 6, 2020

Special Features Jazz Annenberg Center Debuts

Let’s learn more about tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott in just five questions! This three-time Grammy® Award-winner is making his Annenberg Center debut on October 22 as part of our fall 2020 season. We know he’s in-demand, as the go-to tenor player for Stevie Wonder, Jon Batiste, Gregory Porter, Esperanza Spalding and more, but we’re eager to discover more about this rising jazz star.

1. Talk about your background.

During the American civil rights movement, my parents were listening in a small town in Jamaica from a choppy radio signal on all the happenings. As the early beginnings of positive change came to be, the Land of Liberty became more enticing to my folks. They decided to move to North Carolina in the mid 70's. They eventually moved to Marietta, Georgia where my sister and I were born. Needless to say, our way of living remains deeply rooted within our Jamaican heritage. Read more...

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