THEARC is home to the only community theater in its area, which hosts the I Can summer program, an internship that teaches area young people ages 14–24 about technical-theater management. The eight-week paid internship will invite 10 new interns beginning this June for an introduction to the creative and practical skills required to produce and design plays. Interns also receive training in life skills such as resume writing, setting long-term goals, public speaking, and financial literacy. I Can aims to empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the skills they need to achieve academic and career success. THEARC relies on the help of donations to provide each intern with the basic supplies they need to participate in the program.
The Metropolitan School of the Arts - formerly the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center - was founded more than 14 years ago. This multidisciplinary performing-arts organization takes a holistic approach to teaching and encouraging performance-arts skills, creating performance opportunities in dance, music, and theater for a diverse population of students of all ages and abilities. Its students have gone to perform on Broadway, at The Juilliard School, and in highly esteemed companies, such as the Mark Morris Dance Company, The Washington Ballet, and Ford's Theater and Signature Theater. Youth programs include year-round programs in dance, theater, music, music-theater, and acting, as well as a performing-arts program in the summer, all for children as young as 2. Adult classes range from basic to advanced, including ballet, jazz, and tap lessons, plus yoga and ballet-barre fitness workouts.
When Kim Allen Kluge took over as music director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in 1987, the outfit was made up of a small but enthusiastic group of community musicians. Sensing the potential of the orchestra, Kluge augmented the ensemble with freelancer virtuosos, quickly establishing the ASO as the premier professional symphony in northern Virginia. Today, the collective performs in the elegant Schlesinger Concert Hall on the Northern Virginia Community College campus, which makes for an acoustically friendly venue and a convenient base of operations for pranks on the Dean.
Walking into The Carlyle Club isn't quite time-travel, but it's not far off. Evoking both the look and feel of a swank, 1930s New York nightclub, the lounge and supper club combines swirling wallpaper, gilded mirrors, and lamp-lit tables
with a robust entertainment calendar that encourages guests to strap on their dancing shoes and their singing-along snorkels.
Converted from a historic 1930s art-deco theater, the modern iteration of the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse is a combination restaurant, movie theater, and performance space. Besides screening blockbusters, the venue also hosts regular comedy shows featuring standups who have shared their skills on The Tonight Show, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien. Between laughs, audience members can take bites from a complete menu or sips of selections from a full-service bar.
To showcase the work of its young scribes, once a year Young Playwrights’ Theater hosts its New Play Festival, providing an opportunity for budding playwrights to see the fruits of their creative labor flourish on stage. Watching their work as it's performed for an appreciative audience may be a student's first taste of artistic accomplishment, substantiating in them a desire to expand their horizons academically and creatively. The students collaborate with professional actors, dramaturges, and directors to produce 15 student-written plays during three nights. In addition to its benefits to the writers as individuals, the festival—which audiences attend free of charge—enhances public regard for young artists and fosters a dialogue regarding matters of vital importance to the community.