Fall 2020: A Virtual Semester with Real Impact

Department of Performing Arts Chair Prof. Derek Goldman notes, “While the pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for our students, the most gratifying part of Chairing this Department has been the ability to witness firsthand the vast range of innovative, vital, and timely work that our students and faculty in Music, Dance, Theater & Performance Studies have been creating.  

Both within our academic course offerings and Davis Center home season, as well as through our many student-led co-curricular student groups and signature initiatives like The Lab for Global Performance & Politics, our community is incredibly active with innumerable artistic projects and forums, many of which model how the arts can centrally engage the critical issues of our time—racial justice, polarization, human rights, climate, and the environment, and much more.” 

GU Music Program

Georgetown University Convocation Choir and Orchestra        

Right off the bat in August 2020, the GU Convocation Choir and Orchestra under conductor Prof. Frederick Binkholder managed to make music together even though splayed in many geographic areas. The students participated in the University’s online New Student Orientation, opening and closing the ceremony to welcome incoming freshmen and transfers.

GU Music Program

GU Chamber Singers 

GU Chamber Singers also released a performance of Eleanor Daley’s soothing “Set Me as a Seal,” set to some poignant footage of the ensemble. 

GU Theater & Performance Studies Program

Sí Se Puede: Puerto Rican Lighting Designers

Helen Hayes Award-winning lighting designer and Davis Performing Arts Center production manager Alberto Segarra convened fellow Puerto Rican lighting designers on September 28 to talk about their artistic processes and how the present moment informs the work they make. 

Georgetown College

Such a Time as This: Racial Justice and the Arts

Curated by Prof. Soyica Colbert
The second in a series of five weekly (Sept. 30-Oct. 28) conversations, titled “Such a Time as This: Racial Justice and the University” and curated by Prof. Soyica Colbert, now Interim Dean of Georgetown College, the Oct. 7 “Racial Justice and the Arts” discussion with Profs. Natsu Onoda Power and Carlos Simon, moderated by Colbert, explored how GU faculty research advances racial justice. 

View the full Such a Time as This series.

Co-sponsored by Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, Forum for Cultural Engagement, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, Center for Modern Drama, and Lubimovka Young Russian Playwrights Festival

Flash Acts

Co-produced by Department of Performing Arts Chair Prof. Derek Goldman and featuring newly commissioned short plays by 20 celebrated American and Russian playwrights, this first-of-its-kind festival (October 8-13) featured works by GU Theater & Performance Studies Program faculty member Prof. Christine Evans, Alumna Mary Kathryn Nagle (C’05), and Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics Think Tank member Heather Raffo, with direction by GU Theater & Performance Studies Program faculty members Prof. Maya E. Roth and Prof. Natsu Onoda Power, and Alumnus Isaiah Matthew Wooden (C’04). Students and alumni also participated in casts and crew.

View the festival website, on which you can see:

Read the review in the Washington Post. (new window)

GU Theater & Performance Studies Program

Letters & Poems Project 

Curated and Directed by Prof. Maya E. Roth with Olivia Martin (C’23)

Kicking off the Davis Performing Arts Center/GU Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 15th Anniversary Home Season, “Seeds of Change: Reimagining the World” and featuring an incredible range of students, alumni, faculty and staff from across the entire University, this inaugural event (October 16-17) in a series featured works by Lucille Clifton, Dorothy Parker, William Carlos Williams, Gil-Scott Heron, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, and more! 

Check out the Letters and Poems project website to learn more and to nominate material and/or participate this spring. 

The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, Georgetown University’s Theater & Performance Studies Program, and Sojourn Theatre

The Race 2020

“…This exercise in civic theater made its debut at Georgetown University a dozen years ago, on the eve of another catch-your-breath election.” On October 20, it opened “its virtual doors for free through the auspices of Georgetown’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics for 90 minutes of scripted and spontaneous commentary with an online audience. Not to replicate what’s on cable news, but to help to define, through theater, what democracy means today.” Read more in Peter Marks’ Washington Post article and on Sojourn Theatre’s project website.

Co-sponsored by the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, the Medical Humanities Initiative, Georgetown Humanities Initiative, LGBTQ Center, Georgetown University School of Medicine (Literature and Medicine Track and Office of Diversity and Inclusion), and the Department of Performing Arts

The Great Work Begins: Revisiting Angels in America During a Pandemic

Curated and introduced by Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics Co-Director Prof. Derek Goldman and Georgetown Medical Humanities Initiative Director Prof. Lakshmi Krishnan, MD, Ph.D., this special Oct. 27 performance and discussion combined scenes performed by leading professional actors from Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning two-part epic play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes with insights from experts from the medical, political, and artistic communities. The conversations explored the legacy and continued resonance of the play’s portrayal of the AIDS Epidemic in the context of the current moment.

Nomadic Theatre

Love and Information

By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Paul James (SFS ’23)
Produced by Madison Carter (COL ’21)

Student-run Nomadic Theatre presented selected scenes from this fast-moving kaleidoscope November 7-13, exploring what happens when a burning desire for knowledge collides with our relationships with one another, and moments where not knowing can be just as bewildering as knowing too much.

Sponsored by the One Flea Spare Project Co-Partners: Fordham University, Princeton, SUNY Purchase, UMass Amherst and Georgetown University’s Theater & Performance Studies Program and Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics

One Flea Spare and the Works of Naomi Wallace in the Time of COVID-19

This Nov. 13 conversation between MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient and playwright Naomi Wallace, designer Riccardo Hernández, historian Robin D. G. Kelley, theatre director and Princeton faculty member Elena Araoz, and Georgetown Distinguished Della Rosa Associate Professor Maya E. Roth included insights on the timely nature of Wallace’s play One Flea Spare, set during the Black Plague, in context of the current pandemic.

Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society


By Sophocles
Translation by F. Storr
Directed by Nick Giotis (COL ’23) 
Produced by Fiona Breslin (SFS ’21)
Student-run Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society tackled Sophocles’s nuanced characters and vibrant plot with a November 14-15 online production, exploring themes of loss, justice, growth, and responsibility—a story as powerful today as almost 3000 years ago.

GU Music Program

GU Chamber Music Ensembles Program

Prof. Netanel Draiblate, Director
Profs. Netanel Draiblate and Grace E. Kim, Coaches
Continents apart in their respective homes, GU Chamber Music Ensembles Program students performed a digital concert under the coaching of Prof. Netanel Draiblate (Director) and Prof. Grace E. Kim.  The students rehearsed and recorded online in different time zones, culminating in the Nov. 18 Chamber @ Home event broadcast featuring Beethoven, Cras, and Franck.

GU Music Program

Music Policy Forum Intensive

Prof. Anna Celenza helped bring together a Nov. 19-20 online conference of musicians, public officials, activists, industry leaders, researchers and non-profit leaders to explore “Rebuilding and Reimagining Music Ecosystems” in these Music Policy Forum keynote presentations, interviews, conversations, workshops, and roundtables. Learn more about the schedule and event archive.

GU Theater & Performance Studies Program

Letters and Poems Project: Alumni Share, Episode 2

Curated by Prof. Maya E. Roth

Presenting a series of devised performances across the year, the Letters and Poems Project continued with a Nov. 19 episode featuring alumni reading great letters and poems aloud, sourced from nominations across campus. The program, including poems by Shakespeare, Adrienne Rich, Mahmoud Darwish, Langston Hughes, Susan Leslie Moore, Naomi Shihab Nye, and original works, was part of the Davis Performing Arts Center/GU Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 15th Anniversary Home Season, “Seeds of Change: Reimagining the World,” programmed by Prof. Maya E. Roth, Artistic Director. 

Check out the Letters and Poems project website (new window) to learn more and to nominate material and/or participate this spring. 

Black Theatre Ensemble

Inside Look: Ole White Sugah Daddy

Alumna playwright and actor Obehi Janice (SFS ’09) led a Nov. 20 Black Theatre Ensemble event, sharing clips from her play “Ole White Sugah Daddy,” which is now in development as a TV show for Amazon Studios. Janice will write and co-executive produce the show with Emmy Award winner Lena Waithe, whose Hillman Grad Productions (“The Forty Year-Old Version,” “Queen and Slim,” “The Chi”) is co-producing alongside Big Beach (“What the Constitution Means to Me,” “The Farewell,” “Little Miss Sunshine”).

Read about the recent announcement in Deadline.

GU Dance Program

Georgetown University Dance Company

Raina Lucas, Faculty Artistic Director
Lydia Good, Student Artistic Director

From Dec. 2-6, the GU Dance Company’s extensive virtual dance gallery “Sharing Screens: The Times in Which We Find Ourselves” showcased works created remotely by student choreographers and professional guest choreographer, Sarah Ewing, alongside behind-the-scenes interviews about the pieces. Watch selected works from the gallery on our YouTube channel.

Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics

Bearing Witness: The Legacy of Jan Karski Today

The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics launched a new course, “Bearing Witness: The Legacy of Jan Karski Today,” and the semester ended with a special virtual event on Dec. 3, seen by more than 1,500 people. The evening included a compelling 20-minute conversation about the legacy of Jan Karski—Holocaust witness, Polish World War II hero, spy, diplomat, and one of the most influential Professors ever to teach at Georgetown University—between Hon. Nancy Pelosi (H’02), Speaker of the House of Representatives and Oscar-Nominated actor David Strathairn.

The event also featured performances from Strathairn, deeply moving insights from students in the Bearing Witness course on Karski, and a sneak peek of “Remember This,” the forthcoming feature film based on the stage production, to be released in 2021. Also participating were additional members of the creative team of the original Lab production “Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski”: director and co-author Prof. Derek Goldman and co-author Clark Young (C’09)Ambassador Cynthia Schneider (Lab co-director); and Ijeoma Njaka (co-professor of the “Bearing Witness” course).

GU Theater & Performance Studies Program

Guerrilla Costuming

In Guerrilla Costuming, Georgetown costume shop manager and Prof. Dorothy Barnes Driggers‘ three brave students with little to no prior experience explored the process of creating costumes, in a pinch, on a budget, without sacrificing design.

The community also had the opportunity Dec. 4-7 to participate in the Guerrilla Costuming At Home Challenge, won by GU alum Caolan Eder (C’17) who submitted a spot-on realization of student Katie Randolph’s design for the lover Helena in a New Orleans-inspired production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (above left, Katie’s rendering and above right, Caolan’s realization of that design). Guerrilla Costuming was part of the Davis Performing Arts Center/Theater & Performance Studies Program’s 15th Anniversary Home Season, “Seeds of Change: Reimagining the World.”

GU Dance Program

Black Movements Dance Theatre

Prof. Alfreda Davis, Artistic Director
Premiering Dec. 5, this new film short “Finding the Antidote” featured dance performance, poetry and prose, confronting the effects of a global pandemic, racial injustice, and political reckoning. The production featured works by faculty, student, and guest artists.

GU Music Program

Guild of Bands

Prof. David Murray, Director
In lieu of their usual culminating live concert, students of the Guild of Bands who compose original music or cover popular songs, created final video projects to share with audiences.

Georgetown University Virtual Tree Lighting

The December 9 virtual tree lighting hosted by President DeGioia also featured Christmas carols from Georgetown University’s Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, a cappella groups, and Mask and Bauble’s reading of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Prof. Angel Gil-Ordonez conducts a pre-pandemic GU Orchestra rehearsal.

GU Music Program

GU Orchestra

Under the direction of Prof. Angel Gil-Ordóñez, the GU Orchestra recorded fall 2020 virtual performances of Grieg’s Holberg Suite; Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”; the ballad from Jupiter, from Holst’s “The Planets”; and Beethoven’s Octet.

Audio Mixing and Video Editing by Jaron Berman.