The Question: What Kinds of Art and Performances Can I See At Brown?


Curious about every day life at Brown?  The Question aims to answer all the questions you have and didn’t know you had about Brown!  Here you get to read about everything from study spaces to Spring Weekend from a student’s point of view.  Follow sophomore Hannah Liu as she brings you The Answer each week.

The weekends just before Thanksgiving are the some of best times to see a show on campus.  Brown is practically exploding with talent in arts of all kinds!  On a given weekend here it is possible to see a theater production, a dance show, an A Capella concert, and an art exhibition.

The Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) Department here shows quite a few productions each semester.  The first one this semester went up three weeks after the first day of school.  Water by the Spoonful is a Pulitzer Prize winning play written by Quiara Alegria Hudes, a Brown Alumna who actually attended the first performance of the play here this semester.  More recently, TAPS put up A Streetcar Named Desire under the direction of Brown professor Lowry Marshall.  The play was fantastic, and I wish that I had a chance to see it.  I heard specifically that the set design was absolutely amazing!  Tickets to see these shows are less than half price for Brown students, and many students take advantage.  When we return from Thanksgiving Break, I am going to see Mary Stuart, a Historical Play about Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England.  A Brown student is directing this one and I can’t wait to see it!

This semester there have been three dance concerts.  I have seen two of them and they were great!  The first was toward the beginning of the year and the admission fee ($2) went to support education for deaf children. Many groups performed there, and they also performed for parents and students during Family Weekend!  Finally, last weekend was the Fall Dance Concert, an entirely student-choreographed show.  There are solo performances and group performances, high-energy hip-hop, tap dance, belly dance, and everything in between!  The studio in which it is presented is so great – there are several rows of stadium seating, but it is also possible to sit on cushions on the floor right up close to the stage.

A Capella is in a league of its own here, and what an exciting league it is!  Most A Capella concerts in the first semester take place during Family Weekend, and then in December.  These are the times when the concerts cost a few bucks, and you can see entire repertoires of groups that you love!  On the other hand, little “arch sings” take place throughout the semester, particularly at the beginning of the semester when the groups have just accepted new members.  There, students gather under one of two arches on campus, and an A Capella group will come and informally sing a few songs for them there where the acoustics are fantastic!  These are great, and individual to Brown. They happen often, because Brown has 17 A Capella groups – nearly the most A Capella groups per capita of any University worldwide.

Finally, there are so many art exhibitions all over campus that it is hard to visit them all.  This is not to mention the great exhibitions and resources at RISD, our partner campus (they have an art museum!).  Currently in the Rock (Brown’s Humanities Library) is an exhibit commemorating the 175th birthday anniversary of Edwin A. Abbott, the writer of Flatland.  The David Winston Bell Gallery at the List Art Center is presenting an exhibition called The Strangest Fruit related to issues of Latino violence and oppression in America. Also in List are ongoing exhibitions of the work of Fine Arts concentrators.  Those are great especially if you know the students putting the exhibitions up! Also there are always interesting exhibitions at the Sarah Doyle Gallery (in the women’s center), and Hillel (the center for Jewish life).  Finally, the Haffenreffer Anthropology Museum has three exhibitions up right now that combine anthropology, history and art.  The Haffenreffer is always open for free and takes about an hour to look through fully.  It’s a great resource on campus for students (undergraduates!) who want to curate and participate in the running of a museum.  I stop by all the time to see the great things that students have coordinated!

I highly recommend taking advantage of all the shows and exhibits here on campus.  Brown is such a wonderfully artistic community, and there is always something to see!  To those of you reading in the US, have a great Thanksgiving, and those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, happy Hanukkah!  And, as always, best of luck with your applications to all of you!

What are some questions that you have about Brown?  Is there anything specific that you would like to read about in The Question?  Please email me at with any suggestions, comments, questions, or concerns!


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