Shortlidge Road, University Park, PA, USA
Seats (approximate): 2489
The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State presents a diverse series of professional touring performances, organizes a broad program of educational activities, commissions works, manages two facilities, and provides production, ticketing, and audience services for the University Park campus and community organizations in numerous venues. Center for the Performing Arts programs incorporate a broad array of music, dance, and theatre presentations for all ages. Education programs that serve the University and community involve artist residencies, master classes, school-time matinees, workshops, symposiums, and publications. The Center for the Performing Arts, part of Penn States College of Arts and Architecture, has a distinguished history of commissioning works and hosting artists in creative residencies. The Center for the Performing Arts manages Eisenhower and Schwab auditoriums, using them for its own presentations and supporting the events of University and community organizations. Production and audience services support these and other University venues. The Arts Ticket Center operates locations at Eisenhower and HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus and at the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center in State College. The Center for the Performing Arts has its roots in the Artists Series, which began in 1957. Most presentations were in Schwab. Events that required more space took place in Recreation Building (Rec Hall). The first season, which began on September 20, 1957, with a performance by soprano Eleanor Steber, featured appearances by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theatre, and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. University Auditorium, which was later named for former Penn State President Milton S. Eisenhower, opened in May 1974. The new auditorium had the space and equipment to present a greater variety of performances, and seating for about 2,500almost three times as many patrons as could be accommodated at Schwab. Beginning in fall 1974, most Artists Series events took place in the new auditorium. Chamber music concerts continued to occur in Schwab. Eisenhower also became the venue of choice for a host of university and community events. The college hired a full-time staff, known as Auditorium Management, to handle administration of and production in the new facility. A decade later, in 1985, Penn State merged the facilities and program management into one group, and the Center for the Performing Arts was born. Today, the Center for the Performing Arts has twenty-eight full-time employees working in administration, production, audience services, ticketing, audience development, marketing and communications, finance, and development. One of Pennsylvanias major cultural resources, the Center for the Performing Arts is recognized among the top tier of university performing arts centers in the United States.