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BWW Blog: An Interview with the Annenberg Center's Rebecca Goering

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I got to chat with Rebecca Goering, the Senior Associate Director of Marketing & Communications at the Annenberg Center.

BWW Blog: An Interview with the Annenberg Center's Rebecca Goering

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is Penn's major presenter for professional and amateur artists in theatre, music, and dance. It has been my home for performing with my theatre groups and working at Penn as I have been a marketing assistant at the Annenberg Center since the fall of my freshman year. This position has exposed me to every attribute of marketing such as drafting and scheduling social media posts, designing subscriber emails, diving into budgets, and researching artists and trends in the industry. I have also worked with artists' agents to draft an entire season program book full of Grammy Award winners and world premiere works.

Although the Annenberg Center is only presenting a digital season this semester, I still have been working from my apartment to help promote professional and student artists. I recently had the opportunity to ask Rebecca Goering, the Senior Associate Director of Marketing & Communications at the Annenberg Center, some questions about her path in arts administration and her love of the Annenberg Center. If you aspire to work in arts administration, or just want to learn more about one of the best major university presenters, then read on!

What inspired you to pursue marketing for the performing arts, and what past experiences led you to the Annenberg Center?

I've always loved music and theatre. I started piano lessons early, then added on voice and trombone lessons. I had a blast in marching, concert and jazz bands, sang in numerous choirs at school and was on stage in all the school musicals and plays. I was your typical high-school theatre kid, and that continued through college as I pursued my dual degrees in music and theatre production. I didn't know much about arts administration at the time, but knew I needed to do something in the arts.

After college, I started in a customer service job and then transitioned to an entry-level marketing position for an online retailer. On the side, just for fun, I started a blog that gained significant monthly traction. These experiences led me to my initial role at the Annenberg Center, as its Manager of Digital Marketing & Social Media. Since then, my role has changed and expanded greatly, as I've now been here over 11 years!

What is your most memorable moment at the Annenberg Center?

Oh goodness, there are too many to choose just one... The first time I saw the remarkable Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, which remains my absolute favorite dance company despite enjoying countless groups over the years. Seeing the joy on children's faces as they watch a performance as part of our annual Children's Festival. Being captivated and awed by The Abbey Theatre's production of Terminus and its insanely fast and powerful rhyming monologues. I could go on and on with more memorable moments, but I'll leave it at this - my job helps encourage and enable people to experience the performing arts and I love witnessing that at every single performance.

What advice do you have for students interested in working on the business side of the performing arts?

Get involved with arts organizations and observe as much as possible in this field. Student jobs and internships are invaluable to learn about the varied paths within arts administration, beef up your resume, make connections and establish your knowledge base. Consider mixing in roles across the cultural spectrum to get a different perspective. Observe arts organizations, cultural research and consulting groups and knowledgeable figures in the field. Follow their social channels, sign up for their emails and just soak in as much as you can. Once you know your dream job, focus on some related organizations (or individuals) you admire and really watch what they're doing, how they communicate about it and the resulting public response. And last but definitely not least, attend lots of live performances - it's what you love, it will keep you inspired, and it will always be a learning opportunity.

How is the Annenberg Center taking on the challenge of presenting an entire virtual season? Which event are you most excited for?

The Annenberg Center is committed to keeping the performing arts in our patrons' lives while also supporting artists through these difficult times, so we were very quick to pivot to presenting live performances digitally this fall. It has been a huge undertaking as we re-focus our perspective and procedures for livestream shows. While challenging, particularly in how fast the change happened, it has been a great learning experience across the board and brought our staff together in a new way while we're forced to remain physically apart. It's also been very interesting to see new artistic possibilities develop as our team collaborates with the artists to create a performance experience specifically intended for the virtual stage.

Over half of our fall season has past by now, but I've honestly been excited for all of them. I always say that as a marketer, my job is to fall in love with all our artists and companies, and then use that feeling to craft messaging conveying why each performance will be amazing. But that said, I was excited to welcome tap star Caleb Teicher back to our stage. They joined world-champion beatboxer Chris Celiz for an interactive show - they literally weaved audience suggestions into their performance, and it was fascinating to watch! I was thrilled to have Pam Tanowitz' company here to perform in Philly for the first time and was captivated by her choreography and creative use of our space. And, I was enamored with the beautiful, rich tones of jazz saxophonist Tivon Pennicott. I could go on - I'm not good at narrowing down favorites!

What do you hope for the future of the performing arts and the Annenberg Center over the next few years?

Well, to start, I hope that artists and arts organizations can weather this pandemic and come out ok on the other side. The arts and entertainment industry has been hit so hard and I don't want to lose a single dance company or theatre group. That's a tall order, and it's going to be a while before we're able to return to our full theatres and "normal" operations, but I am eager for that day. As we know, the arts are vital to our lives. They can provide inspiration, unification and a restorative balm when we are weary or defeated. Never in our lifetimes has there been a moment when we are so broken, fractured and hurt, but that is precisely the time when we should turn to the arts. My hope is that all cultural organizations, and most certainly the Annenberg Center, will be there for our communities to embrace and celebrate diversity, bring people together, promote thoughtful exchange of ideas and work towards a better tomorrow, all the while ensuring everyone feels safe, represented, welcome and equal.


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