the mann center

The Mann Center for Performing Arts

Media Relations

The Challenge

How does a performing arts center and concert venue pivot when a pandemic threatens its ability to operate? The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia certainly faced this challenge, as the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020 forced the Mann to cancel its summer season.

D+P not only managed the complex communications of a suspended season, but also shifted to storytelling focused on how the Mann quickly pivoted to provide creative alternatives to continue serving the Philadelphia community – specifically through one of its most popular education and community engagement initiatives.

The Approach

D+P executed a strategy in the summer of 2020 around promotion of the Mann’s second-annual All City Orchestra Summer Academy (ACOSA) for middle-grade students of the School District of Philadelphia. The Mann, under the direction of Naomi Gonzalez, Chief Education Community Engagement Officer, shifted the two-week program to a virtual landscape so that students could still receive world-class music instruction, while social distancing at home. D+P pitched key consumer media in Philadelphia, as well as arts and entertainment outlets, with information on how the Mann, in collaboration with organizations like The Philadelphia Orchestra, WRTI Radio and Project 400, made free, at-home summer learning possible during the pandemic through master classes in music, music production, self care, and more. D+P pitched specific dates where media could visit The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Zoom rooms with students and interview instructors before or after sessions. D+P also shared with media the culminating virtual performance of 100 students performing Farandole from Georges Bizet’s L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2, virtually conducted by none other than The Philadelphia Orchestra’s acclaimed music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

The Results 

The media campaign resulted in a variety of print, online, TV and radio hits. Most notably among the hits were a Sunday print (and online) piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as a nearly two-minute segment for CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell. ACOSA was also featured in WHYY’s You Oughta Know program and an online and radio piece for WRTI Radio.