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Designing A Performing Arts Season: Enriching Lives Through Inspiring Experiences (Essay Sample)


Designing a Performing Arts Season
Penn State's Center for the Performing Arts has been a staple of the university and surrounding community since its official founding in 1985. Each season, CPA presentations include a wide range of performing arts genres with a focus on touring Broadway, classics, jazz, chamber music, dance, theatre, world music, and family presentations that engage the students, faculty, staff, and residents of central Pennsylvania. The Center for the Performing Arts lists their “vision” and “mission” as follows:
Vision: Enriching lives through inspiring experiences
Mission: The Center for the Performing Arts provides a context, through artistic connections, to the human experience. By bringing artists and audiences together we spark discovery of passion, inspiration, and inner truths. We are a motivator for creative thinking and examination of our relationship with the world.
Throughout the semester, INART 005 students have been exposed to a variety of the performances that the Center for the Performing Arts has to offer. These performances have ranged from musical theatre and modern dance to classical music and jazz singers. Students have had the opportunity to choose performances that they wish to attend and learn about. The people responsible for planning a season at the Center for the Performing Arts are faced with even greater options as they plan each new season. While there are many elements that factor into planning a performing arts season, this assignment will focus on the following: audience demographics, venue, educational value, entertainment value, and variety.
Audience Demographics
When planning a performing arts season, it's important to take into account the demographics of a performing arts institution's potential audience. In other words: how many people are in the community, and what is their likelihood of being an audience member? According to 2017 census estimates, Centre County, Pennsylvania has a current population of 162,660 residents. According to the Center for the Performing Arts 2017-2018 Annual Report (available on the CPA website: the CPA sold or distributed 35,647 tickets over the course of 28 performances last season. Of that amount, 31% (roughly 11,051) are noted as being Penn State student attendees. These statistics make it clear that the Center for the Performing Arts relies heavily on both the Penn State student population as well as other members of the community to make up their audience. Moving forward, what kind of audience should the Center for the Performing Arts be attempting to appeal to most? Can a reasonable balance be struck?
Another important aspect to consider while programming a performing arts season is venue. This semester, the majority of INART 005 performances were held in Eisenhower Auditorium. This venue is the main performance venue for the Center for the Performing Arts and has a seating capacity of 2,500. Two of our performances have taken place at Schwab Auditorium, which has a smaller stage and a seating capacity of 900. When choosing a venue for a performance, there are two main factors to consider. The appropriateness of the venue for the performance itself (can the event be performed successfully within the space?) and the anticipated audience size (can an appropriate number of tickets be sold?). Note that some types of performances require more seating and/or space than even Eisenhower Auditorium can provide (large concerts or similar). These types of performances would most likely be held in the Bryce Jordan Center on campus and would not be appropriate selections for a Center for the Performing Arts season.
Educational Value
Educational value is one of the main priorities of the Center for the Performing Arts. According to their mission statement, the Center for the Performing Arts strives to be “a motivator for creative thinking and examination of our relationship with the world.” Students in INART 005 have had the opportunity to directly engage with the educational aspects of the performing arts. The performances presented this semester ranged from world music to modern dance, and each of these performances has an opportunity to be educational. However, it is certainly possible that some performances lend themselves more directly to educational experiences. Whether they are historical, artistic, or cultural experiences (or, likely, a combination of these things), each performance has a different ability to instruct audiences, whether they are students or non-students, and this must be taken into consideration while planning for a season at a university like Penn State.
Entertainment Value
While education is an important mission of a performing arts venue, it is also important to present performances that are high in entertainment value. Some performances this semester may have been more widely appealing to audiences as a form of entertainment than others. A performing arts center should strive for a balance between education and entertainment both within each performance and within the season as a whole. If audiences are not entertained in some fashion, they might not return for another show.
Each season the Center for the Performing Arts presents a wide variety of performance types. This semester, students have had the opportunity to explore jazz music, musical theatre, world music, rock musicals, and more. In the performing arts, variety is essential, because a season should appeal to as many potential subscribers and ticket purchasers as possible. It's also important to offer a variety of ticket price points for those performances. For example, musical theatre performances will usually cost more money per ticket than a modern dance performance. This would make it unwise to schedule too many of any one type of performance within a season.

Your Assignment
Design a mini-season for Penn State's Center for the Performing Arts. Select three productions (that were not part of this semester) to bring to Penn State based on the above considerations (venue, educational value, entertainment value, variety, and demographics). Then, write a five-paragraph proposal that presents these performances as being strong options for the CPA's consideration.
Personal preferences should certainly inform the proposal, for example if you thought Dreamers’ Circus was a highlight of this season, you could propose a performance by a different world music group. However, your three chosen performances should be the best fit for this particular institution. It might be helpful to research the types of performances that the Center for the Performing Arts has presented in the past as well as the types of performances that similar performing arts centers have presented. The arguments for each chosen performance should be persuasive.
As with review assignments, your proposal should adhere to a five-paragraph structure including an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs that each discuss one of your chosen performances, and an effective conclusion.
This assignment must be a minimum of 1000 words in length and is due no later than 11:59 PM on Friday, April 12, 2019.


Cultural vision, dialogue and artistic production influence the performances and art productions. The theater musical reproductions have been performed over decades, and require more elaborate preparation because they combine acting, dance and musical performances. The notion that creativity and artistic performances ought to be accessible helps to increase awareness about the role of art in societies. The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State has organized diverse Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, The Broadway’s performance ‘Chicago’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird', and performance of the ‘National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba’ are considered when designing the performance arts season and require different elements to be successful performances.
The Broadway musical ‘Chicago’ would be performed at the Eisenhower Auditorium like in the previous performance on April 2016. Presentation of the musical Chicago by musical theater performances is one of the most popular Broadway performances. Set in the Chicago of the 1920s, the musical tells the story of Roxie Hart, a seemingly innocent actress who dreams that dance and song allow her to leave her humble life. Roxie's biggest wish is to follow the golden steps of artist Velma Kelly (Mordden, 2018). Roxie’s a dream comes true but she murders her lover when he threatened to leave her. Under the care of the guardian Morton, Roxie manages to meet the renowned lawyer Billy Flynn, who accepts the case of Roxie in exchange for a large fee. Roxie's career takes off, but the mentor is not pleased. Hart deceives the public and her rival Miss Velma Kelly and the lawyer turns the story into sensationalist headlines. Even though, performances are culturally recognizable, the audience internet these performances differently, but prior planning goes into making the performance successful. The differences in the performances are considered when designing the arts performance. The script, great live voices, spectacular choreographies, and songs of the musical make the musical theatre dynamic and one of the most popular performances. The musical is a form of theater that combines music, song, dialogue and dance suitable on large stages. The performance does not conform and is not monotonous making it one of musicals that attracts diverse audiences The musical focuses on crimes, comedy, humor, and romance making it appropriate for adults, but an also be attended by those below 18.
Like the other two performances, To Kill a Mockingbird ought to be performed at the Eisenhower Auditorium, which is large enough for the targeted audience, and is appropriate for large audiences. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has also been adapted in stage performances, but unlike Chicago, dancing is not a prominent feature. The story of the novel focuses on a community dominated by racial prejudice, distrust of wh

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