New Frontiers: Launch, Explore, Discover



Festival Artistic Director / CEO of NEWorks Productions, Collaborative Artistic Partner

Festival Overview Events | Multimedia | Sponsors


Festival Overview

The Mann will mount its fourth consecutive festival this Spring titled New Frontiers: Launch, Explore, Discover. The festival, which was announced during a Black History Month celebration, will feature an inspiring collection of original, artistic programming linking the arts and sciences. New Frontiers is a six-month festival inspired by the 75th birthday of Colonel Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr., a pioneering NASA astronaut, Philadelphia native, and the first African American in space.



Upcoming Events*
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 // Doors: 6:00PM, Show: 8:00PM
A Space Odyssey
The Heavens are Telling: Bernstein, Haydn, Holst, & Williams with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Mann Festival Choir
Signature Festival Concert in tribute to Colonel Guion Bluford, Jr.
This Mann main stage concert will feature the world-class Philadelphia Orchestra performing a mixed program of space-themed and space-inspired music. The concert will be highlighted with the world premiere of Nolan Williams, Jr.’s Hold Fast to Dreams, a commissioned work honoring the legacy of Col. Guion Bluford, composed for orchestra, choir, soloists and spoken word. Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director for The Franklin Institute, will narrate. The Mann Center Festival Choir will be comprised of participants from Intermezzo Choir Ministry, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Sounds of Joy, and The St. Thomas Chancel Choir of the historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
5201 Parkside Ave
Philadelphia, PA

 Saturday, August 19, 2017 // Doors: 12:30PM, Performances: 1:00PM
Super Solar Saturday: Family, Friends & Art Day
Hidden Figures screening: 7:00PM
Re-entry is permitted throughout the day!
Rain Date: August 20
Don’t miss this FREE community and family day at the Mann Center! For one day, The Mann campus will be transformed into a space-themed park with space-inspired face painting, hands on science experiments, global performances roving life-sized Star Wars characters and more! 

The Space Shuttle/Please Touch Museum Traveling Exhibition
The Please Touch’s Museum Imagination Playground is an innovative exhibition that encourages learning, social development, movement, and above all fun.  Imagination Playground blocks combine all of the benefits of block play on a larger-than-life-size scale that encourages kids to play together in groups and have more fun. Using a portable set of blocks, big and small, PTM Museum Educators and staff will facilitate guided play to encourage families to imagine and build vehicles and tools needed for space travel at the Mann Center’s Super Solar Saturday Festival.
Science 2 the Max Audience Engagement Presentations
This is your chance to participate in interactive science experiments related to matter, static electricity, Newton’s three laws of motion, chemical reactions and forensic science. Led by Science 2 the Max, an educational organization that specializes in teaching science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) through exciting interactive play, science experiments, and child-friendly entertainment.
The Science 2 the Max presentations are all aligned with Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

Live Global Performances
Local artists will be presented on three performance stages throughout the Mann’s campus, continuing the Mann’s commitment to identifying and providing performance opportunities for burgeoning young talent!
Garrison Carida® is a chapter of the 501st Legion serving Pennsylvania and Delaware that participates in a wide array of charity and non-profit events throughout the community. The 501st Legion consists of Star Wars re-enactors who freely volunteer their time to help others while celebrating the exciting world of Star Wars. Attendees to our festival will be able to interact directly with their favorite iconic figure from the popular film series, as ten fully costumed characters will be moving about the Mann Center campus throughout the festival day! 

The day will conclude with a FREE community screening of HIDDEN FIGURES
This Golden Globe®-winner and Academy Award®-nominated film reveals the untold story of NASA mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, three ingenious African American women who worked behind the scenes to help launch astronaut John Glenn into outer space.
Super Solar Saturday is a prelude to the Great American Eclipse scheduled for Monday, August 21.
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
5201 Parkside Ave
Philadelphia, PA

Super Solar Saturday is presented in partnership with The Franklin Institute

Click here for event information, venue information and FAQ’s

Past Events
Tuesday, June 6 and Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Star Rhapsody
Mann-curated musical performances at The Franklin Institute Fels Planetarium featuring the Clef Club Ambassadors Big Band and Philadelphia Performing Arts: A String Theory Charter School Concert Choir
Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute is renowned for its cutting-edge astronomical presentations on the planetarium’s immersive dome, measuring 60 feet in diameter. The Mann takes the FI planetarium experience to another level with two days of live music programming featuring Philadelphia Performing Arts: A String Theory Charter School Concert Choir on June 6th and the Clef Club Ambassadors Big Band on June 7th. Each will perform curated musical sets synced with breathtaking visuals, immersing attending students in an out-of-this-world experience!

Star Rhapsody is presented in partnership with The Franklin Institute, The Clef Club of Jazz and String Theory Charter School

The Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute
222 N. 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, May 3 and Thursday, May 4, 2017
Gravity Gabbing and Grooving
Connecting Arts-N-Schools (CANS) Series featuring NASA Astronauts and the Festival commissioned dance work by Rock School for Dance Education
The Mann is delighted to announce that we are bringing our Connecting Arts-N-Schools (CANS) initiative to our festival partner schools. To date, CANS has reached more than 60,000 students citywide through a series of multidisciplinary programs in music, dance, and theater. The New Frontiers CANS assembly will feature a NASA astronaut as guest speaker and the performance of a commissioned festival dance work by The Rock School for Dance Education honoring Col. Bluford and celebrating the themes of ambitious exploration and discovery. 
Connecting Arts and Schools is presented in cooperation with NASA and in partnership with The Rock School for Dance Education.

 Friday, April 28, 2017 // 7:30PM - 10:30 PM
Star Party
An evening of live music and stargazing presented in partnership with The Franklin Institute at Global Leadership Academy
Think you can’t see the stars of the night sky in the city? Think again! Join the biggest star party in the region as local astronomers bring their gear for a spectacular tour of the cosmos. Stargazing isn’t the only item on the agenda; you’ll also have a chance to launch an alka-rocket and to participate in a cool citizen science project! The night will include continuous hands-on telescopic observing all evening, lots of fun activities, and special music by students of Global Leadership Academy and KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy.
Global Leadership Academy
4601 W Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA
This Star Party is open to the public and is presented in partnership with The Franklin Institute and Global Leadership Academy.

Spring / Summer 2017
Official Festival Song: "Anything!"
Festival Artistic Director Nolan Williams, Jr. has composed an inspirational song that embodies the spirit of daring achievement. Beginning with the KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy, another Mann relationship that spans three years, young people from around the city will be taught this motivational song with performances at festival events!.

Summer 2017
Col. Guion Bluford, Jr. "Philly's Native Son in Space" Art Exhibition
Our festival partner schools will develop artwork in tribute to Col. Bluford. This work will employ multiple art mediums and will be exhibited at The Franklin Institute, and in the Mann’s Welcome Center throughout the summer of 2017. 
*Event schedule subject to change.



Coming Soon



New Frontiers: Launch, Explore, Discover is presented in partnership with:








New Frontiers: Launch, Explore, Discover has been sponsored by:






Louis N. Cassett Foundation

The Anne M. and Phillip H. Glatfelter, III Family Foundation


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts



 The Mann Center Festival Team 

Catherine Cahill, President & CEO

Toby Blumenthal, Vice President of Artistic Programming and Chief Innovation Officer

Rhoda Blount, Vice President of Education and Community Engagement

Maggie Bond, Festival Project Manager

Caitlin Mongan, Education Associate

Donald Hunt - Assistant Education Associate

Dorothy Funderwhite, Festival Graphic Design Partner


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