Performing Arts Groups

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 collaborate!) with professionally-directed performance opportunities from Penn’s illustrious Theatre Arts Program and its comprehensive coursework, as well as the Department of Music’s courseworkprivate 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! Those marked with an icon are members of the Performing Arts Council (PAC) which 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. Beyond the Performing Arts Council, over 20 independently registered student performing arts clubs hold auditions, rehearsals, and performances using a melange of resources from across Penn campus.

If you are starting a group, we would love to support you! Reach out to schedule an introduction with the Platt House team, and find more from the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) on how to contact, register, and mange student groups.

A Cappella & Choral

A Cappella

Atma [ACK]

Atma is Penn’s all-female South Asian fusion group. Listen to some of their performances!

Counterparts [ACK]

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.

Dischord [ACK]

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!

Upstage [ACK]

Upstage is a co-ed, community service interest, musical a cappella group performing anything from any musical…think Broadway, movies, and TV shows!

Full Measure [ACK]

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.

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.

 

Off the Beat is a co-ed modern rock and pop a cappella group. Rooted in rock music, their repertoire now spans a range of genres from pop and R&B to electronic and funk.

Pennchants [ACK]

Pennchants is the university’s premier all-male a cappella group. More information can be found on their website!

PennSori is an a cappella group dedicated to serve as a cultural bridge between Korean and American cultures.

Pennsylvania Six-5000 [ACK]

Penn Six is Penn’s co-ed comedy a cappella group. 

PennYo [ACK]

PennYo is Penn’s premier Chinese a cappella group. More information about the group can be found on their website!

Penny Loafers [ACK]

The Penny Loafers, or Loaf, is Penn’s premier all-gender indie/pop a cappella group! Check out their website to learn more about their music and members! 

Founded in 2013, Penn Enchord is the premier Chinese-Western fusion a cappella singing group at the University of Pennsylvania. Its members come from student bodies of both the undergraduate and graduate schools of Penn and from beyond the Penn community. We host a concert every semester and sometimes are invited to perform at events held by other clubs and organizations. We make our original a cappella arrangements for most of the songs we sing and the audience have enjoyed them during the concert. We mostly sing in Chinese and English but sometimes we also sing songs in other languages such as Japanese and Spanish.

Penn Masala [ACK]

Penn Masala is the world’s first and premier South Asian a cappella group. Check out their website for more information.

Quaker Notes [ACK]

Quaker Notes is a nationally-acclaimed all-female a cappella group, and the first a cappella group established on Penn’s campus.

Shabbatones [ACK]

The Shabbatones are the student-run Jewish a cappella group of Penn.

The Inspiration [ACK]

The Inspiration serves as a musical outlet for individuals with a desire to celebrate the legacy of the African Diaspora.

Choral

Glee Club [SMAC]

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.

New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir [SMAC]

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.

See also...

Groups listed under Bands below, as well as Bloomers Comedy, Mask & Wig, and musical theatre clubs, also have vocalists in their organization. See their pages for more!

Bands & Instrumental Music

A student-run club for prospective and current Djs interested in sharing knowledge and collaborating around the University of Pennsylvania.

Fuerza is Penn’s first and only student-run Latinx music group. Founded in 2019, our mission is to provide a safe space for students at Penn and in the greater Philadelphia area to creatively explore Latinx culture through musical performance. We are Latinx inspired, not Latinx exclusive.

Kapacity is a undergrad student-led rock band that features electric guitars, bass, keyboard, drums, and vocals. We hold weekly practices and semesterly concerts, as well as performing on cultural events led by KAP and KSA. We feature genres such as but not limited to K-pop, British pop, Rock-Ballad, and Jazz.

Creating a network of Upenn students passionate about today’s leading genre of music, Hip-hop. If you like rap music, you’ll like us. Want to produce? Come produce with other passionate artists. Just want to vibe? Come to our events.

Penn Band [SMAC]

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 Beats is a student-led club at the University of Pennsylvania that provides individuals passionate about DJing with a single spot to learn, create, mix and perform together. 

Penn Busk & Jam (PB&J)

A student group at the University of Pennsylvania exploring the city of Philadelphia through bar/ restaurant gigs and street performance. A fun way to travel, play music and (hopefully) earn enough doing gigs to grab dinner in the city at the end of the day.

Welcome to Penn Compose – Penn’s very own student-led club bent around musical composition. Our club seeks to help cultivate and expand music’s composing scene through fostering a strong, interconnected community of composers. Be it through virtual gatherings or in-person performances, Penn Compose strives to provide opportunities for Penn’s budding musicians to brainstorm, discuss, and showcase their musical ideas and works.

Penn Dure is a group dedicated to poongmul, which is traditional Korean percussion music practiced originally by the agrarian society. For information about joining Penn Dure, please contact Platt House staff at platthouse@pobox.upenn.edu.

Penn Jazz Ensemble [SMAC]

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 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. 

Penn Sargam & Alaap [SMAC]

Penn Sargam is the USA’s very first student-groups dedicated to promoting South Asian fusion and classical music. Sargam collaborates closely with Penn Alaap, agraduate & professional student branch of the group.

Polyphonia is Penn’s first student-led joint Orchestra and Choir, performing works from early music to the modern day. We welcome all musicans; though we primarily are composed of those instruments that make up a classical symphonic orchestra and choir, we look to find creative ways to include nontraditional instruments into our repertoire as well.

Students of Hip Hop Legacy (SOHHL)

The Students of Hip Hop Legacy (SOHHL) club at the University of Pennsylvania is a vibrant and inclusive community dedicated to celebrating and exploring the cultural significance of hip hop. Through workshops, performances, and community engagement, we foster understanding, creativity, and social impact. Join us to honor the past, embrace the present, and shape the future of hip hop at Penn. All are welcome to be part of our diverse and passionate community.

The Songwriters Collective

A diverse group of Penn students whose meetings are a fusion of spiritual gathering and songwriting lab. We support and challenge each other to write songs under strict time conditions to learn to trust and develop our musical instincts.

See also...

Choral groups  and Musical & Sketch Comedy groups also have instrumental bands in their organizations. See their pages for more!

Dance Groups

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. African Rhythms holds a weekly open class series open to all members of the Penn Community.

Arts House Dance Company [DAC]

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.

We are the only student group focused on breaking at the University of Pennsylvania. We believe that Hip-hop, Breaking/Bboying, and dance are something that can be shared by all. We seek to share this vision with the Penn and Philadelphia community by developing our members individual skills through training, performing at on and off campus events, and by entering competitions to represent the University of Pennsylvania.

MMDC (Miss May Dance Crew) x B&G (Bounce & Groove)

MMDC aims to provide a recreational environment where the members can demonstrate their talents and improve their skills in dancing through routine practices and performances and can show their enthusiasm in life.

Onda Latina is the University of Pennsylvania’s premier Latin Dance troupe.

Pan-Asian Dance Troupe [DAC]

Pan-Asian Dance Troupe is University of Pennsylvania’s premier Asian fusion dance group.

PENNaach is Penn’s only all-female South Asian fusion dance troupe, and has exposed members to various styles of South Asian dance since 1997.

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.

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 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.

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.

Penn Hype Dance Crew is a SAC-sponsored, co-ed, hip hop fusion student dance team at the University of Pennsylvania that creatively and uniquely explores various styles of traditional and modern dance. Established in 2005, Hype is comprised of members from various backgrounds, and aims to bridge cultural divides through the fusion of diverse dance styles. Each year, Hype participates in various types of performances, collaborative events with other organizations, and instructional workshops both on campus and in the community. Additionally, Hype presents a full-company show during the spring semester.

k-Beats is the only official undergraduate student dance group on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania that specializes in K-Pop dance. We aim to promote K-Pop culture through various performances on and off campus, on multiple social media channels, as well as through our annual show held on campus. Do you love dancing or jamming to K-Pop 🎧? If so, k-Beats is what you’ve been looking for. Come dance with us!

Penn Latin Ballroom Dance (PLBD)

We are a Student organization at the University of Pennsylvania. Our goal is to teach and promote Latin and Ballroom dance to students, faculty, staff, and members of the Philadelphia community. No partner needed. We welcome beginners! In fact, most students currently on the team had no prior dance experience. We compete at collegiate competitions in the Northeast and put together performances throughout the year
Penn Lions is the Philadelphia region’s premier collegiate lion dance troupe. The troupe was formed in 2007 as a branch of Chinese Students Association and has since evolved into its own entity. Since then, this student group has performed across the East Coast for weddings, a countless number of colleges, festivals, TV stations like NBC and ABC, Philadelphia’s mayor Michael Nutter, the USMNT, and more.
Penn’s Premiere South Asian Co-Ed Fusion Dance Team.
Garba Raas is an energetic Indian folk dance originating in Gujarat that has now evolved into a full-fledged competitive dance circuit in America. Formed in 2007, Penn Raas is UPenn’s very own garba/raas team composed of both undergraduate and graduate students and is an official SAC funded University of Pennsylvania club. In addition to performing in front of our hometown crowd at Penn, we have traveled across the country competing in several competitions such as Raas Chaos in Washington D.C., Maryland Masti, and Dandia on Fire at Penn State, even qualifying to compete at the Raas-All Stars National Championship in Dallas, TX in 2010. Each year, we hope to spread the passion of this dance form with traditional music mixed with upbeat tunes, a wildly vibrant choreographed dance piece, and strong facial energy that reflects the pure joy and fun of dancing with your friends that become family on stage.
Our team is Penn’s ~premier~ classical Indian dance team. Created in 2005, Thillana is a student group at the University of Pennsylvania that aims to provide a space for people trained or interested in classical dance (ranging from Bharatantyam to Kathak to Kuchipudi) to come together and learn from each other’s varied experiences. While staying true to our dance forms, we add a modern twist through messaging, storylines, and music. Thillana is a new take on a fusion dance team!

Yalla is the University of Pennsylvania’s premier Middle Eastern dance & drum troupe. For information about joining Yalla, please contact Platt House Staff at platthouse@pobox.upenn.edu.

Rueda Penn Casino

Rueda Penn Casino (RpC) is a Cuban Salsa student dance group of the University of Pennsylvania. RpC offers free, open dance lessons every week. We welcome beginners who have never dance before just the same as experienced dancers. We provide an avenue for students to constructively de-stress, stay active, and learn by participating in our lessons. Above all else, because switching partners is an integral part of Rueda de Casino, students are encouraged to connect with new members of the Penn community, as well as with dancers from the greater Philadelphia area.

Soundworks Tap Factory [DAC]

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, 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 [DAC]

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?

WAVe (West African Vibe)

Founded by five undergraduate first-year students at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in 2013, West African Vibe (WAVe), a student group at Penn, performs more modern and contemporary forms of African Dance in an effort to contribute to the Penn community’s perspective of African culture.

West Philly Swingers [DAC]

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.

Sketch & Musical Comedy

Bloomers Comedy [SMAC]

Bloomers is Penn’s musical sketch comedy troupe for underrepresented gender identities in comedy. It was founded in 1978 as the nation’s first and only collegiate all-female musical sketch comedy troupe.

The Mask and Wig Club

Mask and Wig is one of the nation’s oldest musical comedy groups. Every year, they write and produce a sketch show in the fall, and an all-original musical comedy in the spring

Penn Improv Society

Penn Improv Society (PIS) is Penn’s only comedy group open to all students of any skill level with no applications or try-outs. We are a friendly, creative group of people who are passionate about learning, practicing, and teaching improv games and skills. Our goal is to provide a space for students to de-stress and have a good laugh. If you want to perform, attend shows or just mess around, we are open to all ideas. We are a student group.

Without a Net [SMAC]

Without a Net is Penn’s oldest and only comedy improv group. 

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

See also...

Penn Six-5000 A Cappella also centers comedy in their mission. See their page for more!

Spoken Word

Excelano Project [SMAC]

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

Theatre & Musicals

African American Arts Alliance [TAC-e]

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 [TAC-e]

Front Row Theatre Company (FTC) is the University of Pennsylvania’s only student theatre group dedicated to performing socially relevant theatre.

iNtuitons Experimental Theatre [TAC-e]

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 [TAC-e]

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.

Penn Illusionist

We are a student group at the University of Pennsylvania that was created to promote the art of magic on campus and to provide a space for experienced magicians to share their ideas and for new and aspiring magicians to learn more about magic and sleight-of-hand.

Penn Monologues

Penn Monologues, born out of the Penn V-Day Campaign, is a social justice movement launching panel discussions, workshops, local events, and educational marketing campaigns on campus and online. Penn Monologues has become the catalyst for mobilizing people to heighten awareness of violence against female-identifying and non-binary people of all ages, as well as the force that empowers individuals and the public-at-large to bring that violence to an end. Each year, a diverse community of warriors help spread the message to thousands more throughout the greater Penn community.

Over its history, Penn Monologues has raised money for Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) and strives to motivate Penn students, faculty and staff to find their collective voice and demand an end to the violence.

Penn Players [TAC-e]

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. 

Penn Singers [SMAC]

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.

Quadramics Theatre Co. [TAC-e]

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! Quadramics performs one play and one musical each academic year.

Stimulus Children’s Theatre [TAC-e]

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. Stimulus performs a mix of plays and musicals.

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.

Penn Create

Penn Create is a supportive environment for aspiring artists to experiment with new materials and interesting ideas. Our club provides benefits including collaboration, feedback, and community. We also provide opportunities for artists to share and display their work.
 

Monolith

Monolith is a Black visual arts collective that works to showcase and uplift Black visual art by cultivating galleries, markets, and spaces in which Black art can be appreciated and exchanged.

Women in Art Initiative

Addressing gender imbalance in the presentation of, bringing recognition to women artists, and advocating for gender equality in the visual arts.

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:

After School Arts @ Penn

ASAP is a free program led by Penn volunteers, benefiting 10-15 year old students from West Philadelphia. Interested in being an arts mentor? 
Originally founded at Harvard University in 1983, CityStep came to Penn’s campus in 2004 and has thrived since. The organization allows University of Pennsylvania undergraduates the opportunity to become mentors in elementary as well as middle schools throughout the local Philadelphia community. As an arts outreach initiative, we allow an outlet for creativity through dance for all of our students. Our annual show in late April is never one to miss: our kids tear up the stage!

Emily Sachs Dance Benefit Show

The Penn dance community gathers to celebrate the legacy of Emily Sachs–an amazing dancer and human being–and the spirit of community among dancers and choreographers at Penn. Proceeds from the show support asthma research, the disease that took Emily from us.  For more information, contact the DAC Chair at dacchair@gmail.com.

Penn MINHUET

Penn MINHUET is a community service student group at the University of Pennsylvania that brings live performances from Penn’s music and arts community into West Philadelphia’s nursing homes and hospitals. Our organization’s main focus is to construct meaningful and positive relationships between Penn students and the elderly or ill with the power of music and the arts.

Penn Music Mentoring Program

PMMP is a group of undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to enriching the lives of local K-12 students through weekly music education and mentorship. We partner with several community organizations and local schools to offer free private music lessons (in piano, percussion, strings, brass, and more), field trips, and performance opportunities to students in the wider West Philadelphia area. We are always in need of dynamic and inspiring music mentors.

Songwriting for Smiles

If you enjoy music, enjoy songwriting, and enjoy working with and listening to kids whose voices aren’t heard nearly enough, this is the club for you! As a student-run group at Penn, our goal is to utilize music therapy in a group setting, particularly among marginalized youth, in order to elevate their moods, promote healthy dialogue, and help foster group communication and cohesion.

See also...

Many performing groups also have a community service or teaching component to their work. Check out our list of recipients of the Francis Johnson Baton community Service award to learn about them!

Didn’t find what you were looking for?
Browse the full list of registered student clubs (performing arts and otherwise) on Penn Clubs.

Or, look for the groups associated with academic departments and schools: