The JHU Barnstormers

Student Organization Name: The JHU Barnstormers, founded in 1919

Category of Group: Performing Art Organizations

Name: Victoria Schroeter, Class of 2014

Hometown: Wayside, NJ

Position: Vice-President of Studio Productions

Contact the group: jhubarnstormers@gmail.com / thejhubarnstormers.org

My freshman year at Hopkins, I was walking around campus when I saw a flyer for auditions for a play. I remember thinking, why not? I was lucky enough to get cast in the show, which was Arsenic and Old Lace. From that moment on, I was a Barnstormer.

The Barnstormers is the oldest and largest theater group at Johns Hopkins. Founded in 1919, we put on six shows throughout the year, four Studio Shows and two Mainstages. We are a completely student-run group, with students doing everything from props, costumes, acting, and building sets to hanging lights, directing, and more!

Our four Studio Shows are all student-directed. The Orientation Show is rehearsed and produced over the summer, and performed the first weekend of the fall semester. The Freshman One Acts also goes up during the fall semester. This collection of One-Acts are all directed by upperclassmen, and all of the actors are freshmen. It’s an amazing way to get involved in theater on campus, and to meet upperclassmen in the theater family! The Intersession Show is rehearsed over Intersession and is performed the first weekend of the spring semester. The final Studio Show is the Spring Shakespeare, a public domain show (usually a Shakespeare play) that is performed outside in the Mattin Center Courtyard or on the steps of the Library towards the end of the spring semester.

Our two Mainstages are both performed in the Swirnow Theater in the Mattin Center. In the fall, we put on a full-length play, and we hire a Director from the local area. Our recent Fall Mainstages include A Piece of my Heart, Arsenic and Old Lace, and The Cocktail Party. Every Spring, we put on a full-scale musical! We hire a professional Director and Musical Director from the local area, anywhere from Baltimore to New York City! We’ve recently put up The Drowsy Chaperone, Evita, and Once Upon a Mattress.

To me, the best part of the Barnstormers by far the second family I’ve found through the group. Yes, I love to act and produce. But I can honestly say that I’ve met most of my closest friends at Hopkins through working on a Barnstormers show. It’s such a diverse group, with people from all over the country, and across all majors at Hopkins. There are Barnstormers majoring in everything from Writing Seminars to Biology, even Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering! For many of us, theater is a creative balance to the difficult academic work we do at Hopkins. I can’t imagine my life here without the Barnstormers.

How can you get involved? You can stop by our desk at the SAC fair and sign up to get emails; you can look out for flyers and Facebook events about auditions for our shows. You can email us anytime at jhubarnstormers@gmail.com about wanting to get involved; we’ll put you on our email list and keep you posted! Freshmen can get involved at any time, and you can be as involved as you want!

I hope you’ll think about trying theater here at Hopkins, and consider joining the Barnstormers. From meeting new people, working with professional directors, or even being on stage for the first time, I can guarantee that you will have great experiences and make priceless memories with the Barnstormers!