Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center

Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center

Officially Opened in October 2014!


Events at the Performing Arts and Recreation Center       


An original play written and directed by Bill Arthur, with a special appearance by the En Pointe Dance Team.

When: Saturday, December 20th, 2 PM and 7 PM showings

Where: Venice Island Performing Arts Center, 1 Cotton street (in Manayunk), 19127

Tickets: $10 in advance, $12 adults at the door, $8 children under 12

For tickets or information, call Bill Arthur at (215)685-2891 or email


FREE Citywide Programs

Beginning November 19 and for the rest of 2014, the Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center is offering FREE after-school and early-evening performing arts classes for children and adults.

Monday and Wednesday

  • 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm: After-School Performing Arts (children 8-12)
  • 5:30 pm - 6:15 pm: Performing Arts Intensive (children 13-15)
  • 6:30 pm: Venice Island Players (adults)


  • 5:00 pm: Vocal Lessons (children 8-12)
  • 6:00 pm: Vocal Lessons (adults)


  • 5:00 pm: Public Speaking - Emcee Program (children 8-12)
  • 6:00 pm: Public Speaking - Toastmasters Club Formation


  • 5:00 pm: Acting Class (children 12 and under)

To attend the classes, register in person at the Performing Arts Center (click for map) after 2:00 pm on Mondays through Fridays.  Children must be registered by parents or guardians.

Questions?  Contact the Venice Island Performing Arts Center at 215-685-3583 or email c/o


Stay tuned for information on our PLAY Manayunk event, which will be held in May of 2015.

Site History

The ribbon cutting at Venice Island, held in October 2014, marked more than ten years of planning and preparation for the Performing Arts and Recreation Center. The Philadelphia Water Department originally committed to building a sewage overflow tank on Lower Venice Island. In response, the community secured funding for planning and invited the City departments to participate in creating a concept that would address the City’s concerns. 

The result is a park, recreation, and performance center that is managed primarily by the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department. Designed by local landscape architecture firm Andropogon Associates, it is hoped that the park will become a recreational center in the neighborhood and region.

The new park includes state-of-the-art water features that demonstrate water retention in an urban environment, recreational facilities for basketball and outdoor performances, space for a dock, outdoor sculptures, a theater with 250 seats, and a parking lot with over 200 parking spaces. The site is accessed from both Cotton and Lock Streets.

Go to the Philadelphia Water Department website for more information on how the Performing Arts and Recreation Center was constructed.  Or read this great article by Hidden City Philadelphia on its development.