Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Wise: Navigating the campus arts scene

As my friend and I came across a flyer-ridden bulletin board last spring, I asked him if he ever felt like he didn’t go to enough events on campus. Without any hesitation, he answered, “All the time.” At a school with such an arts presence, it’s easy to feel like you’re cheating yourself by not attending a show every weekend.

To begin with, we have entertainment options on campus, including A&O concerts, comedy shows, student theatre, a cappella and outstanding music school performances. These are then infinitely augmented by our proximity to Chicago. Pair this with the typical social calendar of frat parties and Keg nights, and you have a recipe for an overwhelmed undergrad.

My friends who are involved in the arts community seem to know their way around – which shows are good, who performs well, etc. But what about those of us on the outside, confused about how to navigate this world of what to see and when?

I don’t claim to have mastered the skill of attending the right number of campus shows, but I’ve been to enough to have at least a little experience in the picking-and-choosing process, so I thought I could offer some tips:

1. My first and most important piece of advice is to go watch your friends. At a school like Northwestern, it is virtually impossible for anyone not to have a friend in some sort of show. Ask them when they have a performance and put them on your calendar now. Not only will they be so grateful that you came, but your experience will be a lot more meaningful if you are supporting someone you care about.

2. Don’t pretend to be high-brow. Leave that to the theatre kids. As much as I appreciate the arts, I don’t care for a dark play or a strange interpretation. I’d much rather see something that will make me grin. Why go and pay if you’re not going to enjoy it? If you, like me, love cliché musicals, then see as many as you want.

3. Balance. Don’t let the flyers guilt you into overloading with shows. Luckily, most productions have multiple performances each evening, so if you need to get homework done first, go to the later show. Head to the earlier show if you want to go out after. But if you have too much going on, skip the show that weekend. Trust me, there will always be more.

Whether you’ve never been to a show before, or you’re a little disenchanted after seeing too many that you didn’t really like, I hope my guidelines give you a good place to start enjoying. Whatever performances you end up choosing, I hope that you do make it a priority to go to at least a couple before you end your time here. It’s not likely that you will ever again have such easy access to such great art.

Meredith Wise is a Weinberg junior. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Wise: Navigating the campus arts scene