The arts center that presents music, dance, film, and more at the University of Pennsylvania has changed its name.
Penn Live Arts is the new moniker for the group and series long known as the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
The switch comes as the major arts presenter evolves to become more closely integrated with Penn students, faculty, and curriculum, and as it plans to increase the number of presentations it does in locations beyond its campus at 36th and Walnut Streets.
“As we have programmed outside of the four walls of the Annenberg Center, we really needed a brand more reflective of how we are presenting programs,” said Christopher Gruits, executive and artistic director.
The complex of buildings comprising the center will continue to be known as the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and its three halls — the Harold L. Zellerbach Theatre, Harold Prince Theatre, and Bruce Montgomery Theatre — will retain their current names.
Another major Philadelphia arts group preparing to reunite with live audiences post-pandemic also announced a name change recently. Pennsylvania Ballet became Philadelphia Ballet this month.
Gruits said that the series will host performances beyond the center more often in the future. The arts series recently helped to bring The Crossing choir to the Woodlands cemetery to perform we got time by sound artist Matana Roberts.
At the same time, Gruits said, the series is undertaking a “deeper integration at Penn, to better support students involved in the performing arts and to make sure when we bring artists to campus the students have the opportunity to work with them.”
The series has presented performances online during the pandemic and plans to bring back live audiences in the fall. The 2021-22 season has 22 productions lined up (with more to be added for the children’s festival in the spring), including appearances by vocalist Lila Downs, mandolin player Chris Thile, and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. New music group Alarm Will Sound will visit with the local premiere of Ten Thousand Birds by contemporary composer John Luther Adams. Montreal-based African dance and music group Kalabanté will make its Philadelphia debut. Information: pennlivearts.org.