Events By Genre

ARTS FIRST 2017, April 27-30: All of Harvard is a stage!

From side-splitting comedy to kitchen-sink realism, Harvard’s annual festival of student and faculty creativity offers a range of theater and dance productions at venues throughout the campus, a wide range of visual arts including public art installations and a plethora of musical genres and stylings. Click on the tabs below to discover all the Festival has in store for you!

Read the ARTS FIRST Festival guide online
View the Map of ARTS FIRST locations online


Saturday 3-5 PM
Plaza Tent

Click here for list of groups and performance order
Part of the Performance Fair

Emerging Choreographers Showcase
Friday April 28, 5 PM & 7 PM
Saturday April 29, 8 PM & 11 PM

Four female student choreographers present interdisciplinary dance installations addressing social issues, cultural identity, and gender identity after a semester-long residency and mentorship program hosted by the OFA Dance Program and Arts@29 Garden.
Suggested donation of $5
Arts@29 Garden, 29 Garden St. at Chauncy St.

Student Public Art Projects in Harvard Yard

Art of Residue
April 27-30
Artist talk Saturday 4 pm

Recycled frames of wood, plexiglass and paper board left over from the laser cutting process are reborn as art.
by Yaqing Cai GSD ’17 & Haoxiang Yang GSD ’17
Next to The Memorial Church, on the Tercentenary Theatre side

What's Hanging Over Your Head?
April 27-30
A constructed canopy prompts examination of the lived oppressions of everyday life.
by GSD African American Student Union
Harvard Yard, in front of Holworthy and Stoughton

I Want to Say I'm Sorry Pt. 2
April 27-30
Artist talk Saturday 2 pm

This archival and devotional memorial remembers Nanjing and challenges the homogenization of public memorials that blunts the intensity of grief.
by Nina Luo ’17
Tercentenary Theatre

OFA Public Art Program presents Impulse

Wednesday, April 26-Thursday, May 4, Noon-10 pm (closes at 8 pm on April 26)
An interactive experience of light and sound. More information​​​​​​​
Harvard Yard, south end of Old Yard

April 27-28
Thursday-Friday 8 PM

Driven by pumping bass, glitter, dance heroism and feats of endurance, this 90-minute, energy-busting experience is part dance, part video installation, part DJ set and part concert.
Tickets starting at $25 available online and at Oberon. 617-547-8300. 

April 27-28, 30
Thursday-Friday, 7 PM; Sunday, 2 PM 

Written by Aislinn Brophy and composed by Eden Girma, this TDM senior thesis production tells the story of two interracial couples fighting to survive in a city devastated by global climate change. Forced to confront their own powerlessness to help the people around them, they search for what it means to make a difference in this chaotic world.
Tickets: Harvard Box Office, $5 student tickets, $12 general public.
Loeb Mainstage

April 26-30
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 7:30 PM; Friday 7 PM; Sunday 2 PM 

Theater, Dance & Media (TDM) presents this drama by Caryl Churchill examining the effects of war, punishment and retribution when a government seeks to manipulate its citizens through fear, distrust and corruption. In war, what is ultimately good and what is right, and can we tell the difference through our bias?
Tickets: Harvard Box Office. $10 General Admission, $5 Students/Seniors
Farkas Hall

Ammunition: The Musical
April 27-30
Thursday-Saturday 7 PM; Sunday 2 PM 

The First Year Musical is a long-standing tradition of creating an original show. "Ammunition: The Musical" takes place in the American home front during WWII, where women go to work in an ammunition factory as the men fight overseas, following a dynamic group of characters as they enjoy their newfound independence and relationships formed by working at the factory.Tickets: Harvard Box Office, $10 for non-Harvard attendees, $8 for students with HUID.
Agassiz Theater

Twelfth Night
April 28-29

Friday-Saturday 2 PM
A rollicking fun time, this FREE outdoor production of Twelfth Night will be staged in Lowell’s small courtyard. A play rife with drunken misrule! Transformative experiences! Sound a bit like college? A bit like Harvard, even? That’s what this cheeky modern-dress production suggests. After all, the perpetually inebriated Sir Toby Belch would fit in pretty well at the Fly Club for Gentlemen.
Free. Email to reserve.
Lowell House Small Courtyard, 10 Holyoke Pl.

IGP Dinner Party
April 28

Friday 7 PM
The Immediate Gratification Players are Harvard's premiere improv troupe - and we're putting on a dinner party show, with real dinner included!
Free. Email to reserve.
SOCH Penthouse

April 28-29
Friday 7 PM; Saturday-Sunday, 2 PM and 7 PM

A play, written by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, set in a parallel near-future in which Guantanamo has been shut down. Fifteen years later, a former prisoner finds his interrogator and confronts her.
Reserve free tickets here.
Loeb Experimental Theater

Sunken Garden Children's Theater
April 29-30
Saturday 11 AM and 12 AM; Sunday 12 PM and 1 PM 

A fun and original adaptation of a classic fairy tale for kids! Includes singing, dancing, and lots of laughing. Fun for the whole family, especially young children.
Sunken Garden at Radcliffe Yard

The Donkey Show
April 29
Saturday 10:30 PM

Directed by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus ’88, this celebrated smash hit brings you the ultimate disco experience—a crazy circus of mirror balls and feathered divas, of roller skaters and hustle queens inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Come party on the dance floor to all the ’70s disco hits you
know by heart as the show unfolds around you. After the show, the party continues into the night so you can live out your own fantasy of disco fever!
Oberon, 2 Arrow St.



Dudley World Music Ensemble Spring Concert
Friday 7:30 PM
The Dudley World Music Ensemble is Harvard's only student-run world music ensemble, consisting primarily of Harvard graduate student musicians, both local and international. The Ensemble performs a diverse selection of music from all over the world.
Yenching Auditorium


Haydn's "The Creation"
Saturday 7:30 PM
the Harvard University Choir and orchestra Grand Harmonie present Josef Haydn's oratorio "The Creation."
Memorial Church

Kuumba Singers 47th Annual Dean Archie C. Epps Spring Concert 
Saturday 8 PM 
Join the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College (the oldest continuous Black organization at Harvard) for a night of fulfillment and fun as we celebrate our 47th Annual Dean Archie C. Epps Spring Concert with song, dance, poetry, and more.
Tickets: Harvard Box Office
First Parish in Cambridge (1446 Massachusetts Ave.)

Festival Highlight: Sunday

Jazz on the Plaza, featuring the Harvard Monday Jazz Band and Yosvany Terry Quintet
Sunday 2-4 PM

¡Festejemos jazz! April 30 is International Jazz Day—join us for this free concert featuring Grammy Award-nominated saxophonist/composer Yosvany Terry, Harvard’s Director of Jazz Ensembles, Senior Lecturer on Music and ”a leader among the current generation of Afro-Carribean jazz musicians in the United States” according to The New York Times. Terry conducts the student Monday Jazz Band in a program featuring compositions of such celebrated jazz masters as Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, and George Cables and showcases his Grammy-nominated quintet from New York: Yosvany Terry, alto & soprano saxophones, chekeré Michael Rodriquez, trumpet | Osmany Paredes, piano | Yunior Terry Cabrera, bass | Ludwig Afonso, drums
Presented by the Office for the Arts at Harvard.
Plaza Tent

Other Sunday Events

The Magic of Java
Sunday 2 PM 
Shadow theater and live music, popular highlights of the Javanese village at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, come to the galleries of the Peabody Museum! Enjoy a contemporary performance based on The Magic Flute, featuring intricate leather puppets and the sonorous gong-chime instruments of Harvard's Javanese-style gamelan orchestra, led by Jody Diamond with Hayley Fenn, PhD student in Historical Musicology, and theater director Mitchell Polonsky. Touch beautiful hand-painted puppets, play the instruments, and sample coffee from the islands of Indonesia. Special Event (all ages). Free and open to the public. Small suggested donation for coffee tasting. 
Peabody Museum

Harvard Choruses Spring Voice Recital
Sunday 2 PM
Students from the Harvard Choruses's Holden Voice Program present solos from varied genres, including art song, opera, musical theatre, and jazz.
Holden Chapel

Organ Recital: Mark Dwyer
Sunday 4 PM
Mark Dwyer, Organist and Choirmaster, The Church of the Advent, Boston, MA.
The Memorial Church Sanctuary

Mather Chamber Music Program
Sunday 3 PM
Duos, trios and quartets for diverse instruments and voices.
Mather House Senior Common Room

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with kazoos, cannons, bells 
Sunday 3 PM
Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture as you’ve never heard it! Led by conductor Ed Jones, this pick-up version features the Lowell House bells and simulated cannon fire. Open to everyone to participate. If you don't have an instrument, grab a kazoo and join the kazoo section!
Lowell House Courtyard

Dudley House Orchestra Spring Concert 
Sunday 7:30 PM 
Debussy’s Rondes de Printemps, Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 23 and Schumann’s Symphony no. 1.
Sanders Theatre

Many more music events can be found in the Performance Fair, Saturday 1-5 PM! 

Visual & Environmental Studies Department (VES)

Film/Video & Animation Screenings
Thursday & Saturday 7-10 PM

Harvard Film Archive, Level 0, Carpenter Center, 24 Quincy St

Harvard College Film Festival

Representation Matters: Film Screening
2-4 PM
Join the Harvard Art Museums and Harvard College Film Festival for a special screening of Menashe, a film produced by award-winning studio A24. Menashe, directed by Joshua Weinsten and starring Alex Lipschultz and Musa Syeed, earned rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival for its immersive world-building and first-person perspective into a rarely-explored community of ultra-orthodox Judaism.
About Menashe: Within Brooklyn's ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a widower battles for custody of his son. A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood.
Menschel Hall, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St.

Social Activism Through Film
Saturday 2-5 PM
Join the Harvard College Film Festival for a screening of the documentary 13 Million Voices, followed by a discussion on social activism in film with director and producer Janelle Gueits. 
About 13 Million Voices: Set against the musical backdrop of the historic Peace Without Borders concert in Havana, ​13 Million Voices traces the personal ten-year (2004-2014) journey of its protagonists to illuminate the stories of Cuba’s forgotten youth. As the path of the biggest international names in Latin music, youth protagonists, and the 1.3 million in attendance intersect, a concert is transformed into the voice of a generation. Janelle Gueits’ film captures the essence of the struggle between modern day Cuba and the outside world. Her film presents the viewer with a unique glimpse of the way the system in Cuba works and how it clashes with anything foreign to their own agenda. The concert features performances by Juanes, Miguel Bosé, Orishas, Olga Tañón, Carlos Varela, X Alfonso, and many others.
Harvard Hall 104

Harvard College Film Festival Closing Ceremony
Sunday 12-4 PM
Screenings of this year's award-winning film submissions selected by judges, followed by a keynote address by Susanne Daniels '87, Global Head of Content, YouTube.
Menschel Hall, Harvard Art Museums

At the Harvard Film Archive

Sunday 4:30 PM
This collaborative project with Fugazi documents the seminal “post-hardcore” band from 1987 to 1996 as they explode in popularity without breaking with their strict codes of ethics and independence. Featuring punk icon Ian MacKaye—who is credited with coining the term “straight-edge,” a movement that rejected drugs and alcohol, among other excesses of Western Civilization—Fugazi live their songs’ lyrics, playing and producing music cheaply. No merchandise, no corporate label, not even set lists, prevent them from being an instrument of any greater force than that of their own creation. Cohen’s patchwork of Super 8, 16mm and video footage fits the rebellious function in this mesmerizing diary that drifts on and off stage, in and out of sync, from electric performances to the mundane reality of being a band—all of whose members seem sweeter, funnier and less dramatic than their onstage presences would suggest. Directed by Jem Cohen and Fugazi.
Tickets for all regular screenings are available 45 minutes before show time at the cinematheque on the lower level of the Carpenter Center. The HFA does not sell tickets in advance, and a separate admission fee is charged for each screening. Only HFA members may reserve tickets in advance for special event screenings. $9 - Regular Admission $7 - Non-Harvard Students, Harvard Faculty and Staff, and Senior Citizens Regular HFA screenings are free for all Harvard students with a valid photo ID. 
Harvard Film Archive

Brooklyn - Gusinje (Bruklin – Gusinje)
Sunday 7 PM
Upon Zilnik’s return to Yugoslavia after his German exile, he directed a series of cooperative television and cinema works for TV Belgrade and TV Novi Sad. These progressive films foreshadowed the growing tensions and sociopolitical upheaval that would soon forever change the social order throughout the Balkans. In Brooklyn – Gusinje, a young seamstress is lured to a bordering mountain town between Yugoslavia and Albania to wait tables in a cafe with the promise of freedom and more money. She falls in love a man—recently returned from New York—who she hopes will rescue her from the drudgery of her everyday life and bring her back to the States. Zilnik uses this love story as the pretext for examining Albanian family values and traditions, particularly the strained relationship between the younger and older generations. The result is a uniquely intimate study of integration, tradition and culture in the Balkans that attempts to mitigate ethnic ignorance and the increasing hostility toward the Albanians. Directed by Zelimir Zilnik. With Ivana Zigon, Skeljzen Ujevic, Lidija Stevanovic
Tickets for all regular screenings are available 45 minutes before show time at the cinematheque on the lower level of the Carpenter Center. The HFA does not sell tickets in advance, and a separate admission fee is charged for each screening. Only HFA members may reserve tickets in advance for special event screenings. $9 - Regular Admission $7 - Non-Harvard Students, Harvard Faculty and Staff, and Senior Citizens Regular HFA screenings are free for all Harvard students with a valid photo ID.
Harvard Film Archive 

Dudley Short Film Festival

Sunday 2-6 PM
A series of short films (15 minutes maximum) made by Harvard graduate students. Popcorn and drinks provided!
Dudley House Common Room, Harvard Yard


Intersections: Understanding Urbanism in the Global Age
Friday 9 AM-5 PM
Urbanism is a global phenomenon, presenting us with a range of pressing issues to consider—economic, political, and material, but most of all human. This conference is designed to stimulate a broad-based discussion about the complicated concept of “the urban” in the 21st century, a much broader construct and reality than that of 19th- and 20th-century cities. This transition has been much studied by social scientists, but often overlooked is how these new urban centers are being experienced by their inhabitants. Our discussions will explore post-industrial and globalizing perspectives, as well as the challenges and tensions that people in urban communities face today with changes in density, diversity, and demographics. We will take a multidisciplinary and international approach to explore the complex set of interrelationships, identities, agents, and environments of modern and future urban landscapes.
Knafel Center, Radcliffe Yard, 10 Garden St.

Harvardwood ARTS FIRST Mixer
Friday 5-7 PM 
Members of the Harvardwood Boston/On-Campus chapter are invited to help us celebrate the 25th anniversary of Arts First Weekend at Harvard and the students who make it happen!
John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House, 33 Dunster St

Japanese Tea Ceremony 
Saturday & Sunday, 10 AM-2 PM
The Harvard-Radcliffe Chado Society demonstrates one of Japan's most traditional arts: the Tea Ceremony. Green matcha tea and delicate sweets will be shared with all!
5 Bryant Street, Cambridge

22nd Annual Harvard University Powwow 
Saturday 1-5:30 PM 
Annual celebration of indigenous culture, featuring singers, artists and dancers from the Harvard community, the greater Boston area, and from Native tribes across the U.S. and Canada. Free and open to the public.
Radcliffe Quad (Outside. Cross streets are Garden St. & Shepard St.)

The Actor and the Audience: Video Games and the Art of Avatars: A Talk by Aaron Suduiko ’17
Performance Fair, Saturday 4:15 pm
Philosophy concentrator Aaron Suduiko ’17 explores a distinctive artistic feature of video games: the relationship between the player of a video game and the avatar, the character within the game that the player controls. He will explore a variety of games that use avatars to challenge belief in free will, assumptions about self-knowledge, personal identity and much more. Come find out how the art of controlling a character can make you see yourself differently. Suduiko is the founder of, a website for the academic analysis of video games.
Dudley House Common Room, Harvard Yard