Mountains, Dartmouth, Simon Ellis
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Casual Thursday

Aside from being a great play on the tradition of "Casual Friday," Casual Thursday is not just Dartmouth's short-form improv group, it's my improv group! I have had a great time getting to express myself theatrically and joke around with my fellow improvisers. I rehearse with Casual Thursday for about six hours every week, and we try to perform at least 3-4 times a term (so about every two weeks) somewhere on campus with other performance groups. Improv, dance, and a-capella groups are a great way to be involved with the arts on campus, but how do you get involved with them in the first place?

For most groups, there is an audition process to be accepted into a group. Luckily for me, the audition process for Casual Thursday was extremely easy and really fun (as you might imagine). All of the freshmen came into a large rented out classroom where auditions were taking place, and the audition just consisted of playing improv games with current members of the group. They taught us everything we needed to know in the moment, and there was no pressure to be funny or nervous, it was a very laid back experience that I think contributed to me feeling comfortable. They then woke me up at 6am the next morning to let me know I had made it in, and we went and had a breakfast together at a local diner.

Aside from helping me improve not only my comedic skills but also my communication skills, improv has just given me another community on campus. The people in Casual Thursday are all so unique and interesting, and we literally come from all over the country. I think our differences in comedy are a result of the differences of our personality and have not only made our group stronger and more welcoming, but make our comedy funnier and more interesting. I had never done improv before joining Casual Thursday, and the fact that I have been able to learn so much and develop such a strong community has made a huge difference in my overall experience at Dartmouth. 

However, if you're nervous about joining an improv group or a student performance group, don't worry! That is a totally valid feeling, and even though I am in Casual Thursday I have also faced some rejection when it comes to the arts on campus. I really wanted to be in an a-capella group my freshman year but didn't make the cut in the final round. Luckily, there are so many different ways to get involved and had I not found Casual Thursday, I could have looked forward to auditioning for the spring term musical or auditioning for a group over Sophomore Summer, both of which I ended up doing. In fact, even if you don't get in your Freshman year, four of our 12 members auditioned their Sophomore year and got in, just showcasing that if you are really interested in doing something related to the arts, there is no lack of opportunities for you to pursue. 

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