Thinking of joining a performing arts group?
Platt House provides advisory support, and programming to the wide array of performing arts groups operating on Penn campus. These student-run organizations operate in tandem (and sometimes side by side!) with professionally-directed performance opportunities from Penn’s illustrious Theatre Arts Program and its comprehensive coursework, as well as the Department of Music’s coursework, private lessons, and the orchestras, choirs and ensembles hosted under the umbrella of Music 007.
For undergraduates considering making a debut in the student performing arts, we encourage you to scroll through the listings, click around on Facebook and Youtube, and get to know as many of the 70+ groups as you can! The groups listed below offer hundreds of positions where you can hone your craft, find your creative voice, and gain practical experience – not only on stage, but in choreography, producing, music directing, stage managing, and designing for scenery, sound, costumes, props, and lights!
Check out our listing below or go directly to Penn Clubs for more information.
The Performing Arts Council Groups
The Performing Arts Council is organized by subcommittee: ACK, for a cappella groups; DAC, for dance groups; SMAC, a catch-all for accompanied singing, instrumental music, comedy, and spoken word; and TAC-e, for theatre groups.
A Cappella Council (ACK)
The Performing Arts Council includes 15 groups comprising its A Cappella Council subcommittee. A cappella is a genre of music performed without instruments where all parts are produced vocally. Penn’s dynamic and talented a cappella groups entertain audiences with repertoires including Pop, Rock, R&B, Jazz, Hindi, and Chinese songs. ACK is also the home of some of the nation’s most respected and award-winning groups that traditionally perform very well in forums like the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, are featured on the annual Best of Collegiate A Cappella album, and garner exceptional reviews from the Recorded A Cappella Review Board for the albums that they produce.
In addition to entering competitions, recording studio albums, and performing in about 2 large shows on campus each academic year, ACK groups use their talents to engage in community service projects and travel to venues around the world for performance opportunities. However, aside from the work that groups do individually, it is certainly a rarity to attend a University-sponsored event or a student-run fundraiser that does not include performances by multiple Penn a cappella groups. ACK has grown to become a staple of the Penn community and is representative of the University at large, with its commitment to both diversity and excellence.
For information on any of these groups, please contact the ACK Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All a cappella groups hold individual auditions at the beginning of the fall semester each year, though many groups do hold additional auditions later in the year. For information on who these groups are, contact the ACK Chair at email@example.com, or contact the groups that you’d like to join for more information!
Also, each year, you can see the a cappella groups in action at Student Performing Arts Night, which is normally held in early September. In the meantime, you can check out our groups’ websites and social media sites, as well as the ACK Facebook page!
Atma is Penn’s all-female South Asian fusion group. Listen to some of their performances!
Counterparts is Penn’s premier jazz and pop a cappella group, founded in 1981. Learn more about their music and upcoming performances on their website.
Founded in 1998, Dischord is the University of Pennsylvania’s premier Pop and R&B co-ed A Cappella group. Check out their website for more details!
Disney is a co-ed, community service interest, all-Disney-all-the-time a cappella group
Full Measure is constantly seeking to define what it means to be a “Christian” a cappella group. Learn more about their music and mission on their website.
Off the Beat
Off the Beat is a co-ed modern rock and pop group in their 30th year
Pennchants is the university’s premier all-male a cappella group. More information can be found on their website!
Penn Masala is the world’s first and premier South Asian a cappella group. Check out their website for more information.
PennYo is Penn’s premier Chinese a cappella group. More information about the group can be found on their website!
The Penny Loafers, or Loaf, is Penn’s premier co-ed indie/pop a cappella group! Check out their website to learn more about their music and members!
Penn Six is Penn’s co-ed comedy a cappella group
Penn Sori is an a cappella group dedicated to serve as a cultural bridge between Korean and American cultures.
Quaker Notes is a nationally-acclaimed all-female a cappella group, and the first a cappella group established on Penn’s campus.
The Shabbatones are the student-run Jewish a cappella group of Penn.
The Inspiration serves as a musical outlet for individuals with a desire to celebrate the legacy of the African Diaspora.
Dance Arts Council
The Dance Arts Council is an umbrella organization that supports 12 student-run dance groups. Ranging in styles from Bellydance to Ballet to Bollywood, our groups are active, collaborative, and passionate about sharing their art on campus and beyond. As part of DAC, these groups rehearse weekly, take classes, teach workshops, collaborate across styles and mediums, design full shows, and work with other student groups on campus. Groups rehearse in beautiful spaces such as Platt Performing Arts House, Annenberg Dance Studio, Emily Sachs Dance Studio, and Harnwell Dance Gallery, and perform in the Iron Gate Theater and the Annenberg Center. With opportunities to perform, lead, and connect, DAC fosters an inclusive and supportive community of talented students who shape the university each day.
Each year, the 12 DAC groups participate in the annual Emily Sachs Dance Benefit, a meaningful service project designed to celebrate dance and raise money in memory of Emily Sachs. Emily was a beloved member of Arts House Dance Company who passed during her time at Penn due to asthma complications, and the Emily Sachs Dance Benefit has been produced for twenty-one years in her honor. All DAC groups perform in the benefit each January, and proceeds go to the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania’s Asthma Program. In 2017, DAC was able to donate over $4,000 to the program.
To get involved, visit “Who is DAC?” for more information about our 12 DAC groups. Auditions for each group normally take place at the beginning of each semester. For further information, contact the DAC Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our Facebook page, and follow DAC on Instagram!
Welcome to Penn, Class of 2025! We are so excited to have you on campus and cannot wait to start dancing with you. Below is a complete list of the workshops and auditions for each of our 12 DAC groups. Workshops are usually classes to explore the groups and their styles, then auditions serve as your opportunity to become a member of one or several of these groups. If a group has more than one audition, you are only required to attend one. Workshops and auditions are also open to all undergraduate and graduate students.
African Rhythms is Penn’s premiere African Drum and Dance troupe. Since 1993, they have been educating the Philadelphia community about West African and Afro-Cuban drum and dance styles.
Arts House Dance Company
AHDC is a student-run group dedicated to presenting the highest level of performance and technique. We produce full shows and collaborative projects in styles including contemporary, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop.
Penn Dhamaka is Penn’s first and only all-male dance troupe. We combine Western and South Asian dance styles, aspiring to present fresh, unique, and innovative fusion of these cultures.
Onda Latina is the University of Pennsylvania’s premier Latin Dance troupe.
Onda Latina is the University of Pennsylvania’s premier Latin Dance troupe.
Pan-Asian Dance Troupe
Onda Latina is the University of Pennsylvania’s premier Latin Dance troupe.
PENNaach is Penn’s only all-female South Asian fusion dance troupe, and has exposed members to various styles of South Asian dance for almost 19 years.
Penn Dance Company
Penn Dance is a co-ed, student-run, modern dance company that prides itself on innovative and expressive choreography. We have the privilege of working with a professional artistic director.
Soundworks Tap Factory
Founded in 2001, Soundworks Tap Factory is University of Pennsylvania’s one and only strictly tap dancing group. We are a completely student-choreographed team that produces shows throughout the year.
Sparks Dance Company
Sparks Dance Company, founded in 1989, is Penn’s premiere dance company dedicated to both performing and community service. The company maintains a high technical level of many styles of dance.
Strictly Funk Dance Company
Started in 1997, Strictly Funk has become Penn’s premiere hip-hop and contemporary dance company. We take talent from all over Philly; you think you can Funk with us?
West Philly Swingers
The West Philly Swingers is UPenn’s premiere swing-dancing troupe. Our mission is to foster enthusiasm for swing dance styles including Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, Blues, and more.
Yalla is the University of Pennsylvania’s premier Middle Eastern dance & drum troupe.
Singers, Spoken Word, Musicians, and Comedians (SMAC)
Out of the four subdivisions of PAC, SMAC is probably the most diverse in genre, medium, and style. Consisting of 13 unique groups, this subcommittee provides various opportunities to express yourself, whether through vocal performance, instrumentation, comedic repartee, or spoken word. This hodgepodge of groups creates an extraordinary community, providing a chance to learn about groups that are different from your own and perhaps become involved in new creative outlets.
While Penn Band, Penn Jazz Ensemble and Penn Sargam specialize in instrumental music, you can also find various playing opportunities in several other SMAC groups who either have their own band or require accompaniment. These groups include Mask & Wig, Bloomers, Glee Club, Penn Singers and the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir. If it is comedy that sparks your interest, you can perform stand-up with Simply Chaos, improv in Without a Net, or sketch with Mask & Wig or Bloomers. The Glee Club, Penn Singers, and Penn Sirens specialize in vocal theatrical performance while the New Spirit of Gospel Choir provides a more spiritual expression of vocal talent. If you still haven’t found your niche, take a look at the Excelano Project, Penn’s only spoken word group. If you’re looking to be a part involved backstage, Mask & Wig, Bloomers, Glee Club, Penn Singers, and Penn Sirens all have an assortment of tech staffs. For more information on any of these groups, please contact the SMAC Chair at email@example.com, and visit our Facebook page.
Welcome to Penn, Class of 2025! We are so excited to have you on campus and cannot wait to see all of your talents! Stay tuned for a complete list of auditions and first open rehearsals for our 13 SMAC groups. Please note that some of our groups do not have auditions, and but operate on an open membership model – meaning if you’re interested, you’re in!
The nation’s first and only collegiate all-female musical sketch comedy troupe, formed in 1978
The Excelano Project is the University of Pennsylvania’s first and premier spoken word group. This group is about finding voice and breaking down barriers. It’s about holding a speaker up to life’s white noise, to find that every one of us can be heard
The Penn Glee Club is the nation’s longest continually running Glee Club. They perform musical repertoire of all genres in addition to writing and producing two original musicals each year.
Mask & Wig
Mask and Wig is the nations oldest collegiate all-male musical comedy group. Every year, they write and produce a sketch show in the fall, and an all-original musical comedy in the spring
New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir
As a group focused on ministry, the New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir shall spread the word of the Lord through song and help to serve as a catalyst for change in the spiritual lives of their audience
The Penn Band, the largest performing arts group at Penn, performs 100+ times a year at athletic and other events on campus and across the region
Penn Dure is a group dedicated to poongmul, which is traditional Korean percussion music practiced originally by the agrarian society
Penn Jazz Ensemble
The University of Pennsylvania Jazz Ensemble is an 18-piece jazz big band and smaller accompanying ensembles that plays songs from a variety of styles and backgrounds.
Penn Sargam is the USA’s very first student-groups dedicated to promoting Indian Classical Music
Penn Singers Light Opera Co. is a close-knit company that produces a Broadway-style musical in the fall semester and a Gilbert and Sullivan light opera in the spring semester
Penn Sirens is Penn’s premiere all-female vocal ensemble that enjoys performing an eclectic mix of songs in a full musical-style show each semester
Simply Chaos is Penn’s only student-run stand-up comedy group. We perform at open-mics as well as two SAC funded shows per semester
Without a Net
Without a Net is Penn’s oldest and only comedy improv group.
Theatre Arts Council
The Theatre Arts Council (abbreviated and often referred to as TAC-e) is one of the four subcommittees under the Performing Arts Council (PAC). PAC is an umbrella organization that helps to organize 40+ student performing arts groups. Each TAC-e group is made up of an administrative board that runs their auditions, production staffs, and manages each show they produce (normally between 2 and 4 each academic year). Every TAC-e show has a unique cast and production staff and students are welcome to work with as many or as few groups as they like.
All seven groups have a unique mission, though their styles or genres do overlap sometimes. Missions are based on cultural and ethnic relevance, social relevance, dedication to community service, experimental forms of expression, student vs. professional direction, Penn traditions and history, target audience, and more. These missions guide show choice and the overall culture of each group and are not meant as exclusionary boundaries. Visit each group’s website (available here) in order to learn more about each group’s mission and culture as well as what shows and events they will be producing this year.
All seven TAC-e groups participate in one collaborative production each school year: the One Acts Festival. One Acts is a collection of short one act plays organized in between fall and spring semesters and performed in late January or early February. This production provides great opportunities to experience Penn student theatre as an audience member or for any student to try a new aspect of theatre themselves, either in the spotlight or behind the scenes.
Learn more about TAC-e by reviewing the TAC-e Handbook.
Please contact the TAC-e Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about TAC-e as a whole, about any of the seven individual groups, or for specific details about upcoming shows and events.
African American Arts Alliance
The African American Arts Alliance (4A) serves as one of the premier performing arts organizations on Penn’s campus. Our mission is to promote an awareness of Black culture through the arts, specifically focusing on theatre.
Front Row Theatre Company
Front Row Theatre Company (FTC) is the University of Pennsylvania’s only student theatre group dedicated to performing socially relevant theatre.
iNtuitons Experimental Theatre
iNtuitons Experimental Theatre is the University of Pennsylvania’s only student-run experimental theatre group. iNtuitons comes from two words: intuition and automaton. The group was chartered to “attract people with diverse artistic interests and in order to provide an outlet for creative people whose ideas are too Classical or Avant-Garde to be supported by existing groups.”
Penn Chinese Theatre
Penn Chinese Theatre, founded in 2012, is the University of Pennsylvania’s only Chinese drama troupe. Their productions, mounted each semester, mark bold experiments in genre and style.
The University of Pennsylvania’s only professionally-directed student theatre group! Performing a musical in the fall and a play in the spring, we aim to hire talented directors from the Philadelphia area to give our students the opportunity to learn from the pros
Quadramics Theatre Co.
Quadramics is a student theatre company at the glorious University of Pennsylvan-i-a. Students are our directors, producers, actors, singers, band members and board. Quadramics is also the theatre group focused on enjoying life and getting the best experience possible out of running and working on a production. We are fun-loving, hardworking-more-often-than-not, ridiculous, zany people who share a passion for good times and great theatre, so come join us for the fun, madness, and, as always, the drama!
Stimulus Children’s Theatre
Stimulus Children’s Theatre Company is the University of Pennsylvania’s premier children-oriented theatre group. We perform for elementary schools, community centers, day care centers, hospitals, and elderly care facilities. We supplement our program with classroom workshops before and after each performance, in which we teach our audiences about theater.
Beyond the Performing Arts Council, 22 independently registered student performing arts clubs hold auditions, rehearsals, and performances using a melange of resources from across Penn campus. Find more from the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) on how to contact, register, and manage student groups here.
Keynotes A Cappella
We’re a co-ed student a cappella group under the University of Pennsylvania that performs music spanning across a variety of genres, including pop, indie, alt, and rock. The Keynotes mission is to foster musical talent and creativity, particularly by exclusively using arrangements created by its own members. Keynotes aims to share this creativity with others through performances.
Penn Enchord A Cappella
Penn Records is a student-run club focused on fostering the live music scene at Penn by functioning as an artist and event promoter. Penn Records provides students with the necessary resources for performing their original music and succeeding in the music industry. Penn Records hosts monthly concerts, open mics, and charity events.
Freaks of the Beat
MMDC (Miss May Dance Crew)
Penn Ballet was created to allow ballet dancers of any level at the University of Pennsylvania to continue their classical ballet education through classes with professional ballet teachers from the Philadelphia area. The group is dedicated to helping dancers at Penn continue doing what they love despite the stress and time constraints of a rigorous academic environment. Classes are FREE and open to all Penn students looking to maintain or improve their skills, try their hand at choreography, or simply get some exercise without running and crunching for hours on end.
Penn Ballet is also a student-run company. Advanced and committed dancers may audition for our shows to learn and perform challenging repertoire. As Penn’s ONLY student group devoted to ballet, we are committed to improving as ballerinas in technique as well as performance.
Penn Chinese Dance Club
The Penn Chinese Dance Club (PCDC) is a student-run, non-profit dance group dedicated to practicing classical and folk chinese dance. Founded in May 2006 as a self-organized group of dance lovers at the University of Pennsylvania, we have flourished into a major performing arts troupe in philadelphia. PCDC’s mission is the enrichment and promotion of traditional chinese arts and culture through dance exercises, instructions, and collaborations.
Penn Hype Dance Crew
Penn Latin Ballroom Dance (PLBD)
WAVe (West African Vibe)
Theatre, Magic, and Comedy
Penn V-Day Campaign
Penn Improv Society
Visual Arts Groups
Platt House provides support and guidance to Penn’s student visual art organizations, which host regular art-making and art appreciation events and programs benefiting the Penn Community.
Penn Art Club
Art-making events, speaker events, public arts initiatives, community outreach, and a studio space make the Penn Art Club the go-to student organization for those interested in visual arts at Penn.
Women in Art Initiative
Community Service Groups
The Performing Arts Council is committed to engaging and interacting with the Philadelphia community at large, and particularly with West Philadelphia and University City neighborhoods. To that end, we support a number of organizations committed to encouraging community participation in the arts, particularly for youth. Below are three PAC organizations dedicated to community service: