Theater Explores Social Issues
Life in Art

In high school, I didn’t really see myself going to college. Instead, I wanted to work at an elephant orphanage in Kenya. But when I got my acceptance letter to Georgetown, my parents made me go to a Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program weekend.

Luckily, I met Brendan Quinn (COL ’13) that weekend. He gave me a private tour of the Davis Performing Arts Center (a building that I’ve come to know better than my own apartment) and explained that theater at Georgetown is unlike theatre anywhere else. He was right– we have the luxury of being able to study everything else that Georgetown has to offer, and then we use theater to express the issues that we learn in a more formal class setting.

As a women and gender studies minor, a lot of my classes are cross-listed with theater and performance studies courses. In this way, I’m not just studying how to become an actor, but I’m finding different ways to talk about, express and relate to a lot of really important social issues.

I’ve loved theater and storytelling for as long as I can remember, so I needed Georgetown to have a theater program that interested and challenged me. Brendan completely sold me on the program here, and my professors have sold me on it every day since. As a result, I’ve introduced myself as a theater and performance studies major since freshman year (even though I didn’t actually declare until the last possible second because I was too lazy to walk to the dean’s office).

If you saw O-Show during New Student Orientation, you’d recognize me as Cindy. But before that I’d been a dramaturge, an assistant director, a director, an assistant hair and makeup designer, Jo in “Boom” and Dottie in “Killer Joe.”

“Killer Joe” was the most terrifying and cathartic piece I’ve ever worked on. We collaborated with Sexual Assault Peer Educators to talk about sexual assault in a safe space, which prompted me to declare my minor in women and gender studies. I seriously cannot thank student theater enough for how much it has shaped my life here at Georgetown. I’m now very excited to be working on drama group Nomadic Theatre’s “Afterlife: A Ghost Story,” because I can’t wait to see where it leads me next.

Nomadic Theatre is my home at Georgetown. Some of my best friends and favorite people are nomads, and I am constantly amazed and inspired by everyone’s passion for art and social issues. I was initially drawn to Nomadic because it’s a club that appreciates contemporary theatre and fosters community dialogue (we’ve worked on pieces that address drug addiction, sexual assault, mental illness, grief, etc.), so I am proud to be a part of that kind of change on campus.

I hope that we continue to foster community outreach in the future, and that we continue to inspire students at Georgetown to use the arts as a way to empathize with and understand social issues. If I can inspire someone to join theater on campus the way that Brendan inspired me in high school, it might honestly be the highlight of my entire time here at Georgetown.

It’s really easy to get involved with student theater on campus, too. To audition, you don’t have to prepare anything. Each audition will have different scenes or monologues that you can choose from. And if you don’t want to act, you can reach out to anyone who does theater and ask to join their production staff. There will always be a place for you.

A big part of student theater is the emphasis on learning — even if you’ve never hung a light before, someone will always be willing to teach you about lighting design. Or sound design. Or directing. Or producing. Or stage-managing. Just give it a go.

Emily Lett is a junior in the College. LIFE IN ART appears every Friday, written by different members of campus performing arts groups.

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