Unlike a concert hall, which serves a single purpose, a performing arts center serves multiple purposes. Performing arts centers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Public institutions, such as cities or universities, usually own centers that are nonprofit or not-for-profit, but others are privately owned for-profit companies. A performing arts center (PAC) is a multi-purpose venue that offers a wide range of entertainment to its visitors. While not all centers can accommodate all types of events, many can accommodate music, dance, and theater.
Large stage areas are available in performing arts centers that host musicals, dance companies, and theatrical performances. Because some centers lack large stage areas, they are better suited to film screenings, seminars, and lectures. To accommodate all types of entertainment, many centers have multiple rooms or buildings.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., is one notable American performing arts center with multiple facilities. The Eisenhower Theatre, Concert Hall, and Opera House are the three main sections of this center, which also includes five smaller venues. As a result, the center is extremely adaptable. The Kennedy Center, as it is affectionately known its patrons, is a public-private hybrid of ownership.
Although the majority of performing arts centers are located within a structure, some are located outdoors in amphitheaters. The same types of entertainment are typically offered at these open-air venues as in traditional centers. The Saratoga PAC, located in the state of New York, hosts dance performances such as ballet and modern compositions, as well as musical concerts ranging from classical to rock, and festivals promoting food and wine. This type of entertainment is available at many performing arts centers.
Permanent exhibits, such as an art gallery or a similar exhibit, are available at some performing arts centers. Other centers have a dance company, orchestra, or theater company that is affiliated with it and performs there on a regular basis. These groups frequently rehearse at the center, and the center may partially or fully fund them.
Musical and theatrical performances are usually not extravagant at centers with smaller stages. These centers usually have screens for showing movies, such as independent films, or giving presentations, such as seminars or lectures. Local schools and colleges, like many other performing arts centers, may use the facilities for graduations and other award presentations.
The performances can be managed in three ways. The first step is for center staff to locate and schedule entertainers. The second option is to rent the space to touring artists, as well as local, national, and international entertainers and educators. The third option is to rent out the facility while also handling the entertainment in-house. This is the management method used the majority of centers.