Kimmel Center Announces PIFA 2016, Plus Collaboration with New York’s Joe’s Pub


Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

At this afternoon’s first ever Kimmel Center Presidential Address, CEO and President Anne Ewers presented several new initiatives that the performing arts center will launch over the next several months, and emphasized the success of the Kimmel Center as a cultural venue for the city of Philadelphia.

“The Kimmel strives to inspire, to instigate, and to be a catalyst for conversation,” said Ewers to a crowd of several hundred at the Center’s Perelman Theatre, who emphasized that one of the Center’s main goals is to “conduct experiments and make bold bets” with their artistic programming. The Kimmel Center’s campus, which consists of the namesake building, the Academy of Music, Merriam Theatre, and, on occasion, the Forrest Theatre, makes it the second largest performing arts center in the country, second only to Lincoln Center in New York.

Speaking of New York, the address presented exciting news about a new Kimmel Center partnership with New York’s Joe’s Pub, part of The Public Theatre and one of the Big Apple’s premiere live showcase venues, which will present an incubator-like setting at the SEI Innovation Studio from June 21 to July 2 of this year. The partnership will consist of a two-week program that “will guide four world-class artists through the writing process and composition of four new works.” Philly’s own Dito Van Reigersberg (a.k.a. Martha Graham Cracker), Daniel Alexander Jones, Ethan Lipton, and Jamie Leonhart will take part in the program, which will feature free public readings on July 1 and July 2.

Additionally, dates for the next Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) were announced. The city-wide performing arts extravaganza will return April 8 to 23, 2016 with a theme of “Material Goods” and will feature a host of local and internationally-recognized artists. Opening the festivities will be a huge site-specific performance by Compagnie Carabosse and Teatro Linea de Sombra titled “Article 13,” which will feature fire and sand. Additional headline artists include a circus that features live knitting (Cirkcus Cirkor) and French band Aquacoustique who play works of musical art in fountains.

According to Ewers, these types of programs will continue to make the Kimmel the “Center City gathering place for social events.” This year alone, the Center increased their performance offerings by 18%, and held ten times as many wedding receptions¬†as last year. Also interesting was the fact that new audiences represent 50% of the Center’s annual attendees, which is why headliner events, like December’s Aretha Franklin concert, were so vital to bringing in fresh ticket buyers to the Center.