(May-September) Founded in 1935 as the home for summer performances by the famed Philadelphia Orchestra, the Mann Center is a summer institution in the Philadelphia area. It was known as the Robin Hood Dell Concert series until 1976, after which its name changed to honor the support of Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist Frederic R. Mann. In 1998 the venue officially became the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, to reflect the growing diversity of its programming.
The city-owned venue is located in Fairmount Park, and comprises a stage with covered seating for almost 5,000, plus 4,000 uncovered seats and a lawn with a capacity of over 4,000. Presentations at the Mann Center have expanded over the decades to include the finest classical and popular music from around the world. In addition to the Philadelphia Orchestra, major events have included the Philadelphia premieres of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kirov Ballet, CATS, the Metropolitan Opera, Riverdance, the international debut of violinist Midori, and the American Ballet Theatre with Mikhail Baryshnikov. More recent offerings include a four concert Pops series and ‘Jazz @ The Mann’ series (both of which have attracted larger and younger crowds to the Mann than in previous seasons), and the Arts in the Park series (begun in 2000) that included presentations of opera and Shakespeare.
Educational and outreach programs are also an important part of the Mann’s operations. Its “Access the Arts” program, with a number of other initiatives, has given 50,000 area youth the opportunity to experience the arts at no cost. The Young People’s Concert Series includes five concerts each season, having grown from just one concert in a few years, with more than a twentyfold increase in attendance.
Mann Center for the Performing Arts Information
- Public Transportation: Good (a short walk from SEPTA buses 40 and 52 at Parkside Avenue/52nd Street; a 5-minute walk from bus 43 at Parkside Avenue/50th Street; and a 6-minute walk from Trolley line 10 at Lancaster Avenue/52nd Street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Approximately 30 performances annually
- Ticket Prices: Vary ($19–$90) depending on event and seating. Discounts for students available at select events
- Group Discounts: Discounts of 10% available to groups of 20 or more
- Subscriptions/Membership: Various ticket packages available. See website as season approaches for more details. ‘Friends of the Mann’ (donors of $150 or more annually) receive benefits such as parking upgrades, VIP seating, discounts to select performances, and more.