Prefrosh Preview: Arts at Georgetown
As a famous breeding ground for future politicians, lawyers, and activists, Georgetown isn’t exactly the most welcoming place for the artistically inclined. You’re far more likely to come across the next Secretary of State than the next Tina Fey.
Creative types shouldn’t feel like they need to slink away to have solitary sob sessions while listening to Fiona Apple, however. Despite the university’s pre-professional bent, there are still a number of activities and organizations for the dreamy thespians, comedians, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, artists, and writers among you. Just don’t be surprised if the phrase “social justice” somehow creeps into a brainstorming session for the next experimental play.
Any discussion about arts on campus has to begin with the theater program, which was recently ranked the second best outside of New York. One of the only universities in the nation with a Theater & Performance Studies major for undergrads, Georgetown has made a name for itself by taking an interdisciplinary approach to teaching drama and taking on an excellent faculty to do so.
Outside of the department, student-run organizations include Mask & Bauble, the country’s oldest running collegiate troupe. Its 161st season was particularly noteworthy, featuring productions beyond the garden variety Shakespeare like the Tony-award-winning Spring Awakening and The History Boys.
For less mainstream material, there’s Nomadic Theater, whose greatest claim to fame has to be that The Hangover heartthrob Bradley Cooper once acted with them. Original plays from students are more rare, though there are opportunities like the Donn B. Murphy One Acts Festival for aspiring playwrights to get their work up on stage. All in all, it should be enough to get anyone with the slightest itch for the dramatic running to these tables at SAC Fair.
Comedians, look no further than Georgetown Improv. The only campus comedy troupe, Improv performs several weekend shows per semester in addition to hosting Improvfest, one of the oldest improv festivals in the country. The group boasts a host of famously funny alumni, including Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk with Me), John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live), and Nick Kroll (The League). There have also been vague rustlings about starting a sketch comedy troupe, so hopefully that will become a reality soon enough.
For the musically inclined, there’s your classic range of competitive a cappella groups, including the coed Phantoms, Saxatones, and Superfood. There are also ensemble groups like the Concert Choir, Orchestra, and Jazz Band. While the student band scene is fairly small (but check out the comments below, where someone has kindly posted links to student bands!), there are occasional concerts (like WGTB’s “Battle of the Bands”) and regular open mics—hosted by both WGTB and the Corp—where you can belt out your heartbreak ballads. Dancers, GU Dance Company does a range of dance styles and is probably the greatest time commitment. If your secret talent is breakdancing, though, your best bet is probably Groove Theory.
Future Picassos and Spielbergs, your offerings are fairly limited to the programs within existing academic departments. Student groups for artists and filmmakers are basically nonexistent, so you need to put a little extra effort into finding like-minded individuals to embark on grand projects with. Vox recommends getting involved with the Film & Media Studies program for anyone hoping to make a film on campus, as they make it a lot easier for you (providing equipment, etc.) and host some cool events that allow you to meet badass alumni like Brit Marling (COL ’05) and Zal Batmanglij (COL ’02). The Georgetown Film Festival was also recently revived this year, so that’s the best place for you to showcase your work.
Finally, something—ahem—you probably haven’t heard of is the Corpus Collective, which is a group of some really talented slam poets. If you have the slightest inclination for reciting poetry in a way that sounds vaguely like Jay-Z, then Vox recommends you check them out.
Editor’s Note: Vox has taken the feedback into consideration and made appropriate changes. Incoming frosh—make sure you check out SAC fair in the beginning of the year! That’s where you’re meant to get a comprehensive list of all the student groups at Georgetown, and the place for every group to promote their own goals and activities.
Photo: Audrey Wilson/Georgetown Voice