Anne Ewers talks momentum, PIFA 2016, and new residency at the Kimmel Center
The Kimmel Center’s Anne Ewers delivered Thursday the first ever presidential address at the performing arts center, shared some of the accomplishments and new initiatives, and announced the 2016 Philadelphia International Festival of Arts (PIFA).
PIFA will return April 8 to 23, with a theme of "Material Goods”, and more than 40 performances by local and international artists.
Opening the festival is “Article 13,” a collaboration between Compagnie Carabosse, from France, and Teatro Linea de Sombra, from Mexico, in a large-scale site specific performance featuring fire and sand.
“It takes two football fields, and 20,000 people can move through that performance,” Ewers said.
Aquacoustique, from France, will present “Concerto in Sea Major,” a concert and performance in water fountains throughout Philadelphia.
“They take recycled materials and turn them into instruments,” Ewers said. “They perform in and around and under water.”
Cirkcus Cirkör, from Sweden, will present “Knitting Peace,” a contemporary circus performance blending live knitting with aerial dance.
Ewers also announced a second theater residency, this time focused in cabaret, in partnership with Joe’s Pub at The Public in New York City. Participating artists include Philadelphia’s own Dito Van Reigersberg, a.k.a. Martha Graham Cracker.
As a result of a previous theatre residency with Dael Orlandersmith, the Kimmel produced “8 Stops”, a one person production by Deb Margolin, which is currently being presented at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City.
Through a partnership with Elephant Eye Theatrical and Five Cent Productions, the Kimmel Center is also one of the producers of Broadway’s “An American In Paris,” which was nominated this week to 12 Tony awards.
The 2015-2016 Broadway season at the Kimmel will have 11 productions, including Bullets over Broadway, Matilda The Musical, Pippin, The Sound of Music, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, If/Then, Book of Mormon, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, and Riverdance.
According to Ewers, more than one million patrons visit the Kimmel Center each season. Since last year the number of performances have increased 18 percent; facility rentals 8 percent; revenue from food and beverage services 15 percent, and the number of weddings at the Hamilton Rooftop Garden has increased 10 times since its renovation.
“Our financial foundation is strong.” Ewers said. The annual operating budget of $40 million is a 5 percent growth since fiscal year 2014, and 90 percent of that budget is earned.
“But that 10 percent of fundraising is critical.” Ewers said. “It’s critical for foundations, corporations and individuals to continue their support. It’s also important for every single one of you, each in your own way to continue to help the Kimmel Center transform lives daily through the arts.”