More Money, Less Problems

Finding entertainment at Mason for free


Fourth Estate/Billy Ferguson

To me, entertainment is essential. We should all set a few of our dollars aside to make ourselves happy. Being strategic about doing that is one of the more challenging things for all of us college students to do. But, if you really pay attention to the resources around you, you’ll find more than enough to do for cheap.

One vastly underused example is the access that we have as Mason students to a wide variety of performing arts events that we can attend for free at our campus venues. Our College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) runs a program that allows students to attend nearly all of the events held at the Center for the Performing Arts here in Fairfax and the Hylton Performing Arts Center, located on our Science and Technology campus. 

Doing almost anything fun costs money. Usually, there is a strong correlation between the amount of money that you spend having fun and the amount of fun that you have. But, here at Mason, you can see a Broadway show, a regional orchestra and various student performances for literally nothing. 

On a regular basis, in addition to the wealth of student events, fantastic professional organizations including the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Opera Company visit our campus and deliver epic performances that you otherwise might not be able to afford. In February, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra will be performing “The Four Seasons” and Virginia Opera will be doing “Cinderella,” a comical opera written by Gioachino Rossini.

Last semester, I attended Virginia Opera’s performance of Giacamo Puccini’s “Tosca” and was totally blown out of the water. It was the most immersive entertainment experience that I’ve had in my entire life. If it weren’t for the program, I never would’ve attended the event or learned that opera might be something that I like. 

Minimal effort is required to secure your seat. All you have to do is find out what performance you want to attend and, two weeks in advance, visit the box office in the Center for the Performing Arts. Make sure that you have student I.D. and someone friendly will quickly get you all set up for the upcoming show.

What really makes this program an unbelievable entertainment value is the fact that you can get two tickets for most of the events. So, not only can you go to an amazing performance, you can bring a friend, coworker or family member along too. 

When you leave Mason, these opportunities quickly become very expensive. Tickets for events at performing arts venues are not cheap. Just take a look at the prices for upcoming shows at Wolftrap and the Kennedy Center. Now, while we are students, is the time to tap into the vibrant music culture that we have here on campus and in the surrounding area.

While going to see the newest hit movie or spending time with a friend is great, you can also (for free) go see professionals of the highest level do what they do best. All of the performances also have a real educational benefit that can’t really be replicated. Engaging with live performers is an experience all its own.So, instead of spending money on entertainment, just hop over to our CVPA website and pick out your next entertainment adventure at one of our incredible venues.