Yes, it’s possible to be creative on your own, or musical, or funny. But god dammit, it’s boring. At Wes, art, whatever that means, is a family affair, bringing students together to share, inspire, perform collectively and provide the support necessary for a vibrant creative environment. Whether you’re looking to put on a show, share your musical discoveries, or bounce around ideas, students groups are integral to making your dreams of artistic godhead a reality, and, for those of use more likely to observe, they can give you some pretty sweet things to do on a Saturday night. Thanks to these groups and more, you can check out classic theater, Brooklyn indie bands, or that kid in your Russian class dancing around with fire—all within blocks of each other, for free, for anyone. So audition, attend, ooh, ahhh, laugh, cry, whatever. Just don’t do it on your own.
Traditionally known as “The Singing College of New England”, Wesleyan’s a cappella scene continues to be a popular component of student life to this day. There are currently seven primary groups on campus: Wesleyan Spirits, Cardinal Sinners, Quasimodal, New Group, Vocal Debauchery, Onomatopoeia, Mixolydians, and Slavei. Each group has its own individual style, from mixed to single gender, from comedy to Slavic folk songs. Other groups have arose in recent years with even more diverse interests, like Queercappella and Slender James— have you ever thought what dubstep would sound like a cappella? We’ve got a group for that one too. Delightful.
You think you’re pretty funny right? Take it to the stage, kid, you’re gonna be a star. Much like a cappella, there are a variety of student comedy groups on campus, which range in style from improv to sketch comedy to standup. Groups have a tendency to come and go over the years, but all of them bring out the best in Wesleyan humor: quirky-awkward à la Michael Cera, deliriously surreal, and offensive to everyone (except you of course!) If you know what’s good for you, check out one of the four active groups—Gag Reflex, Desperate Measures, Lunchbox or Punchline—ASAP.
Young, friendly, and attractive since 1973! Second Stage is Wesleyan’s student theater group, and very possibly the oldest fully student-run theater group in the nation. Housed in and more or less responsible for the ’92 Patricelli Theater, Second Stage is an open organization committed to producing student theatre, everything from straight-faced dramas to heel-kicking musicals to interpretive dance and poetry performances. There’s usually some kind of show going up almost every weekend if you are interested in seeing theater, and a great resource if you’re interested in putting on your own show.
Wesleyan dancers have created a vibrant community on campus, performing everything from hip-hop, to k-pop, to Indian folk dance. Bolstered by the University’s stellar dance department, extracurricular and academic performances are numerous and consistently diverse—you can catch a FUSION show at Psi U one night, and traditional African dance and drumming on the CFA green the next day. Some groups are more selective, like the Precision and X-Tacy troups, while others, like Terpsichore, encourage students to audition regardless of experience. Others take traditional choreography even farther—like the indisputably badass Prometheus, Wes’s (wait for it) fire-spinning club.
With over 70 years of broadcasting behind them, WESU, the Wesleyan student radio station, has a reputation for excellence in musical and community radio programming. With a full weekly schedule of both professional and amateur programming, you can tune in at FM 88.1 to hear everything from NPR goddess Diane Rehm’s strangled mutter to the “Horizontal Power Hour” and maybe even something you’d consider music.
Free things are usually pretty good. Movies, of course, are no exception. Responsible for programming Wesleyan’s awesome weekly Film Series, the Film Board is comprised of the upper echelons of film buffs. Don’t fret their taste being too highbrow—“RoboCop” and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” balance out the Korean melodramas and postmodern German cinema. Offering films old and new every night Wednesday through Saturday, the film series tends to be one of the most popular facets of campus social life—and the film board keep it that way. Check your mailbox for the (excellent) fall schedule.
Do you relish namedropping experimental-neotropicália bands on your uncultured buddies? Just like sharing new music with your friends? Just like seeing it live? The concert committee gives all students the opportunity to bring their favorite rock gods and underground trendsetters to campus, providing guidance and funding. The process of securing funding can be complex and arduous, but with a little planning and independence, bringing bands can be made infinitely easier through the committee. Plus, with acts like Titus Andronicus, Dr. Dog, and Matisyahu rolling though last year, a little effort can bump your indie cred immensely.