The IHP programming of today and recent history is best known for its world-class international, avant-garde, and repertory cinema, as well as documentaries and lectures that seek to increase awareness on important global issues in the arts and humanities. The roots of this successful programming can be traced back to an opportunistic partnership born in 1976, which eventually led to city-wide events and initiatives that are still active today.
Looking back, the early 1970’s proved a tumultuous time in IHP’s past. Due to an inability to reach full occupancy of the 450 available rooms, the high cost of heating and cooling the enormous facilities of the new building, and a revolving door of administrative staff, it seemed as if IHP had overestimated its ability to fulfill the financial obligations of the new building. Fortunately, with an active, caring, and involved Board that refused to give up the nearly 75-year-old institution and the good fortune of having Program Director (and later President) Ellen Davis on staff, IHP was able to gain financial and public footing once again. In 1976, Ms. Davis made the bold move to donate IHP building space to the established Neighborhood Film Project (previously of the Christian Association) and the Folklife Center of Philadelphia, under the condition that they split the profits from ticket sales for events held in the International House facilities. This tactful decision allowed International House to develop unique public programming that engaged not only an international audience, but a community audience as well. The partnership helped to cultivate respect and reverence locally, and led to increased funding for further development and programming. Three years later, in 1979, the Neighborhood Film and Video Project and International House Philadelphia merged, preceding fantastically successful programs that allowed for greatly needed projects and facility upgrades. This newfound artistic identity within Greater Philadelphia, and expansion on a legacy of goodwill, is what continues to set IHP apart from other International Houses throughout the world.
The Ibrahim Theater is a fully-equipped, multi-purpose theater facility that seats up to 360 people. Featuring a state-of-the-art concert sound-system, the theater can accommodate a variety of music presentations from small acoustic ensembles to fully amplified 10+ piece bands. The Ibrahim Theater is also ideal for film and video screenings, with the capability to project 16mm and 35mm film as well as most video formats including DCP, Blu-ray, DVD, DigiBeta, BetaSP, MiniDV, and VHS video formats.
3701 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104