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Shining a Spotlight on the Performing Arts in Indianapolis

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Indy chapter.

When we think of Broadway, we imagine shows that are big, bold, and beautiful! But, can one still be a part of this animated creativity while residing in the Midwest? Well, of course! Indianapolis is a growing city with many spectacular venues for professional shows you can attend and sign up for auditions. If you are currently aiming to earn a bachelor’s degree in the performing arts or just love the idea of being a triple threat, then no fear, the performing opportunities are here!

The University of Indianapolis offers many wonderful performance opportunities for emerging entertainers. Several theatrical shows are performed throughout the school year, including student-directed productions, famous plays and musicals performed by the students at the Ransburg Auditorium, and black-box contemporary shows that are performed in the intimate Studio Theatre. UIndy also includes about 25 ensembles you can audition for at the start of the semester. Concert Choir is a mixed chorus featuring SATB voices, Treble Choir focuses on repertoire for the treble range, Schola is a smaller ensemble specializing in early music, and Crimson Express is a vocal jazz and pop ensemble that often performs with a professional jazz band. The UIndy Choirs welcome people in all levels of music to sing with their fellow peers. Here is also a list of several UIndy instrumental ensembles which deserve acknowledgement: Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Pep Band, and Wind Ensemble, as well as chamber groups like the African Drum Ensemble, Baroque Ensemble, Brass Quintet, Collaborative Piano, Flute Choir, Handbell Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Percussion Ensemble, and Piano Ensemble. A majority of the concerts are free to attend for the public at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center (CDFAC). You can support student performers plus attend professional performances from the Faculty Artist Concert Series and guest concerts. At the CDFAC, you can expose yourself to music unfamiliar to your modern ears when you hear The Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra perform music from the 17th and 18th centuries with instruments that were used in those historical periods.

If you’re interested in a variety of musical events, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, also referred to as the ISO, is located in the historic Hilbert Circle Theatre building in the center of Monument Circle. Built in 1916, with a gorgeous Neoclassical style, the auditorium remains as a prestigious performance venue with beautiful acoustics. While it is known for orchestra concerts in its Classical Series, there are plenty of other programs that can draw in a crowd. The Pops series is a fan favorite because it includes lively music that audiences may be familiar with in pop culture like contemporary pop, rock n’ roll, Broadway, and Disney hits! If you enjoy music as much as movies, then the Film Series might be a must-see event for a combination of live and recorded entertainment! The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra provides a unique experience by performing the music live on stage along with the movie playing on screen. Throughout the year, they play the classics as well as musicals and favorite Disney films. Although tickets can be a bit pricey, you can sometimes take advantage of your student discount to support talented local musicians and see incredible performances by guest artists. There is always an event going on at the ISO!

We have the IBO, the ISO, now what about the ICO? The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra is another professional ensemble that promotes music performed by a small orchestra, creating a much more intimate experience. Another way to encounter more of the arts community is by attending a show from the Indianapolis Opera. They perform at a variety of venues, including an engaging event called Opera in the Park at the MacAllister Amphitheater at Garfield Park. You can listen to opera while enjoying a relaxing picnic with your date, friends, or family for free!

Indianapolis has grown to be a significant city for live music from local and international artists. The Old National Centre, formerly known as the Murat Shrine Temple and the Murat Shrine Center, is an entertainment venue that has been around since 1910. Many bands, comedians, solo acts, and productions have performances at the Murat Theatre. Do ya like jazz? Well, The Jazz Kitchen is a prominent cozy music club and restaurant that features popular jazz artists and a Cajun-Creole menu. The establishment offers quality entertainment in a chill, intimate setting that is perfect for a romantic date night! 

Performing on campus is great to develop some skills as a musician or an actor, but what about after graduation? Footlite Musicals is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that offers the best of Broadway. Each year, they present seven productions so there are many chances to audition for a show that involves singing, acting, and dancing, not to mention incredible costumes and stage production! There is a lot of work that happens behind the scenes before and during the final product, which is presented to the audience.

The performing arts bring people together with visual expression that allows us to share stories, emotionally connect with others, and inspire change. Just like authors have to keep reading books in order to write great books, performers should learn from other entertainers and take their observations into practice. What are you still doing reading this article? Explore what Indy’s fine arts have to offer and break a leg!

I am a singer, writer, content creator, and a senior creative writing major and music minor attending the University of Indianapolis. I love expressing myself on the internet through performance, song, and fashion. You can follow my creative journey on social media as Sierrallstar! ⭐ Stars cannot shine without darkness ⭐