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The Breakdown

It doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest black box space or a stage equipped with the most ornate proscenium arches.  The floor could be littered with the remnants of gaffers tape, the velour curtain worn and the acoustics appalling, yet excitement ripples through your body.  The sense of gliding across the stage, commanding the audience’s attention, the dialogue that perfectly captures a moment or emotion–these aspects enthrall you.  To you, the theater feels like home, a place of worship of sorts.  You love its power to delight, entertain and amaze.  And that’s why it’s a pretty safe bet that you’d enjoy being a theater major!  

Most undergraduate theater programs offer a relatively broad curriculum.  Indeed, to ensure you learn how to properly analyze and interpret texts, many departments will have you touch upon everything from the history of theater to the elements of sound design.  No doubt you’ll become well versed in a variety of plays, playwrights and genres as well as the vernacular of the theater (hint: you’ll learn terms like clap-trap and denouement).  Some programs will have you choose a concentration in acting/directing, design/technical, playwriting, dramaturgy or literature/criticism.  And you’ll likely be expected to participate in campus productions, be it in a performance, design or directing capacity.

Undoubtedly creative types, theater majors have a penchant for storytelling and a strong understanding of what makes for a good tale.  Moreover, they have a great appreciation for language and are sensitive to the nuances of human emotion and interaction.  They also have solid skills in teamwork.  And, of course, they know how to keep their composure under the intense glare of stage lights.   


Nuts and Bolts

As a theater major, you’ll receive a very comprehensive education in your chosen discipline with courses like: Modern British Drama, Beginning Acting, The Speaking Voice, Playwriting, Theater for Social Change, Lighting Design, Scene Design, Speaking Shakespeare, Asian Performance Traditions, The Tragedy and Comedy of Greece and Rome, Acting for Film and Television, Movement for the Performer, Plays in Performance: Perception and Analysis, and Twentieth Century American Drama.

Decisions, Decisions

Theater majors are clearly passionate about the arts, performance and self-expression. Therefore, they might also be attracted to dance, musical theater, creative writing, English, technical theater, film, television/radio studies, communications, art history, digital media, music, costume design, acting, psychology, studio art and art therapy.

What's Next

Sure, a life in the theater might not always be easy, but with a combination of tenacity and talent, it’s possible.  Indeed, many majors pursue a theater career right out of the proverbial gate.  Naturally, a number of grads look to become actors, on stage, in film, or both.  Others hope to establish a toehold in costume, lighting, set or sound design.  Still others might look to become a dramaturge, stage manager or stagehand.   Arts administration is another popular route as are talent agencies.  Beyond the theater, some grads seek to exercise their creative spirit in the advertising/copywriting world.  Many also choose to focus in media, be it working in art direction, media planning or production coordinating.  And a handful of graduates also find their skills are well suited towards public relations, event planning, marketing and education.



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Don Munce