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Your Guide to Participating in the Performing Arts at American University

Showcase your talents and exercise your creative energies with performance opportunities in dance, music, and theatre/musical theatre.

There are many ways to get involved in the performing arts at American University! Showcase your talents and exercise your creative energies with performance opportunities in dance, music, and theatre/musical theatre. There is something for everyone, and we hope you will be a part of our lively arts community this year.  

Prefer to watch from the audience? Sign up for our mailing list for our upcoming performance lineup. Tickets are free for American University students!

For information about degree programs in the Department of Performing Arts in arts management, audio technology, dance, music, and theatre/musical theatre, visit the Department of Performing Arts online.  

Department of Performing Arts (DPA) — Welcome Back Night 
Wednesday, August 31, 8 p.m. 
Katzen Arts Center Rotunda

Meet with students and faculty and learn more about opportunities in the Department of Performing Arts including majors, minors, productions, and ensembles. All interested are welcome to attend!

Share your interest for DPA programs and opportunities to learn more.

Theatre/Musical Theatre

AU's production of Into the Woods
Into the Woods rehearsal, spring 2022. Photo: Dylan Singleton.


Auditions take place one semester in advance of all theatre and musical theatre program productions. For spring 2023 performances, auditions will take place in October, date and time to be announced. Our spring lineup will include Lost Girl and Once! Theatre opportunities are open to all American University students.


For those new to AU, the program offers a special new student production, Overture, each fall. This year’s performance will take place in Katzen’s Studio Theatre on September 30 and October 1 following rehearsals through September. No audition is required. Attend the DPA's Welcome Back Night on August 31 if you are interested in being part of this year's Overture production and to hear more about this season's productions, audition dates, student theatre organizations, and special classes being offered by the program. Participants in Overture are encouraged to register for PERF 065-002 or PERF-165-002.  

Sign up for theatre updates on auditions and opportunities or email Program Director Karl Kippola.   

Follow the Theatre/Musical Theatre program for more opportunities on Facebook (@theatreNmtATAU) and Instagram (@americanu_theatre).


DANCEWORKS performance
Photo by David Dowling. The American University Dance Company in Woman’s Work, Choreography by Ronya-Lee Anderson, 2022

Dance opportunities are open to all American University students. Sign up for updates on auditions and opportunities or contact the dance program directly.  

Dance at AU! 
Wednesday, August 24, 7-8 p.m.
Katzen Sculpture Garden (Rain location: Katzen 112)

Join AU dance program faculty to learn about dance classes, level placement, auditions, and performance opportunities in the dance program this fall. Thinking about taking a dance class? Not sure what level? Thinking about adding a dance major or minor? Wondering how to audition for fall performances? Come get all the info! 

Dance Level Placement  
Thursday, August 25, 4-5:30 p.m.
Katzen 152 (Katzen Dance Studio) 

To register for embodied knowledge (technique) courses at AU, join us for our level placements. We will be placing for African, ballet, contemporary dance, and jazz. It’s an opportunity to meet the dance faculty and to take four mini sample movement classes. 

Fall Dance Concert Audition  
Thursday, September 1, 6 p.m.
Katzen 152 (Katzen Dance Studio) 

Audition to perform in the Fall Dance Concert, a mainstage event featuring new faculty work and selected student-choreographed, faculty-mentored projects, held at the Greenberg Theatre. If this is your first semester at AU, or if you haven’t yet performed in an AU dance production, this is the audition to come to! New students, returning students, all students are welcome to audition!  

Gallery Senior Dance Capstone Audition  
Thursday, September 8, 6 p.m.
Katzen 152 (Katzen Dance Studio) 

Audition to perform in Gallery, senior dance capstone projects held annually at the American University Museum. All returning students are welcome to audition; transfer students by invitation. 

Learn more about opportunities in the Dance program on Facebook (@AUDances) and Instagram (@au_dances).


AU Symphony Orchestra performing
American University Symphony Orchestra Performs.

Music Ensemble Auditions  
August 29–September 3 

Ensembles perform throughout the academic year in Katzen’s Abramson Family Recital Hall. Ensembles are open to current American University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Sign up for Music Ensemble updates on auditions and opportunities.  

Music Ensemble Open House
Thursday, August 25, 6 p.m.
Katzen Rotunda

Join music faculty and other students for an overview of music ensemble activities and opportunities for the year. Learn more about private lessons, group classes, and all the outlets for your music interests. Attend this open house for a complete overview of music at AU. 

Vocal Ensembles


The AU Chorus has a tradition of performing a wide range of choral repertoire ranging from masterworks of choral literature to small octavos, to newly composed choral works. 

Chamber Singers 

The AU Chamber Singers ensemble is highly selective and generally limited to between 26 and 32 members. Repertoire includes works drawn from all periods of music and varies greatly from early music masterworks with ensemble, to contemporary a cappella literature. 

Gospel Choir 

  • Sylstea Sledge, Gospel Director 
  • Rehearsals: Wednesdays 8:10-10:40 p.m., Kay Spiritual Life Center. 
  • PERF-161-001, PERF-561-001 
  • No audition: attend first class meeting.

Instrumental Ensembles

AU Symphony Orchestra 

The AU Symphony Orchestra's repertoire consists of major masterworks from the Baroque through the twentieth century and beyond, featuring more than 60 accomplished members including strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. 

AU Symphonic Band 

The Symphonic Band is an ensemble for woodwind, brass, and percussion players that performs the highest quality wind repertoire. 

  • Matthew Brown, Symphonic Band Director 
  • Rehearsals: Monday evenings, 5:30-7:45 p.m. 
  • PERF-047-001, PERF-147-001 
  • Audition required. Contact Matthew Brown for sign up details.

AU Jazz Orchestra 

The AU Jazz Orchestra is a classic ensemble that prepares and performs selected jazz works including standards, traditional big band era arrangements, and charts of more progressive, international, and fusion styles.  

  • Joshua Bayer, Director of Jazz Studies 
  • Rehearsals: Wednesdays, 5:30-8 p.m. 
  • PERF-046,001, PERF-146-001  
  • Audition required: attend the first class meeting  

AU Jazz Combo 

  • Jazz Combo is a smaller ensemble for the study and performance of jazz music in a more intimate setting. The Combo performs jazz standards as well as original compositions. There is a focus on improvisation while also exploring swing, bebop, hard bop, jazz fusion, funk, blues, and R&B styles 
  • Joshua Bayer, Director of Jazz Studies 
  • Rehearsals: Wednesdays 10-11 a.m., Katzen Arts Center 144 
  • Audition required: attend AU Jazz Orchestra first meeting to be considered for the AU Jazz Combo. 

Chamber Music 

Students are placed in small chamber groups (2-5 players) with weekly coaching sessions and rehearsals. For most instrumentalists, an audition and participation in orchestra or band is required.  

  • Ann Kang, Music Program Director 
  • Meets Tuesdays or Fridays, 2:30–3:45pm. Contact  
  • Audition for AU Symphony Orchestra or AU Symphonic Band to be considered for the Chamber Music Ensemble. 

West African Drumming

Ensemble members will learn and perform traditional drumming techniques and rhythms of West Africa on hand-crafted instruments such as djembe and dunun while also learning about the history and social context of the art form. 

  • Amadou Kouyate, West African Drumming Director  
  • Meets Tuesdays, 5:30–7:30 p.m.  
  • PERF-145-03, PERF-045-04  
  • No audition required 

Singer-Songwriter's Hub

Do you write and perform original music? Are you interested in helping others perform, record, produce or promote their music?

The Music program at AU announces this new collective to enable and empower students in their efforts in pop, rock, hip-hop, bluegrass, etc. Meet and work with like-minded musicians, gain access to instruments and equipment, rehearse in a classroom instead of the hallway, and record in a studio instead of your dorm!

We are looking for songwriters, singers, instrumentalists, sound engineers, and even bands that have already been formed. Take your music to the next level!

Contact Prof. Matthew Brown for more information.

Learn more about opportunities in the Music program on Facebook (@AUMusicProgram) and Instagram (@aumusicprogram).