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Articles on Theatre:
   Major in Theatre
   A future in Theatre

Major in Theatre

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“God wants you to use your gifts for his glory…to benefit those around you and to bring him honor. He wants you to steward your gifts, not waste them.”  ~Stephen Altrogge

The word theater stems from the Greek root word theatron which means “a place for seeing.” People attend the theater in order to experience a real or imagined story or event “come alive” before their eyes. A collaborative dramatic performance has the ability to draw an audience in and to provide inspiration, humor, escape, reflection and healing to those who watch with engagement. Theater delights our senses, opens our mind, engages our emotions and influences our beliefs. As a theater major, you will develop practical skills in acting and performing. Whether learning on stage, backstage or in the classroom, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of theater and production. You will receive instruction in dramatic reading, acting, directing, technical work, and drama theory. You may build a set, design a costume or write an original script. You’ll learn about various acting methods and techniques and study famous playwrights such as Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and Thornton Wilder.

Chances are, if you are considering a major in theater you have gained some amount of experience on the stage and possess a love for the performing arts. In addition to a passion for storytelling and the ability to express yourself dramatically with strong stage presence, there are other traits that are highly desirable for a theater major. One is creativity and the ability to authentically enter into character and engage an audience. Second is the ability to accept criticism which is one of the primary ways we grow as performers. Another necessary skill is attentiveness to detail which allows you to keenly observe and fine tune your work with precision so it moves from an amateur to professional level. Individuals who can easily memorize, thrive under pressure, work independently as well as in groups and possess resilience do well as theater majors.

As a theater major you will watch and critique live acting and film production. You may take voice or dance lessons, and participate in department performances, drama club or poetry readings. It’s possible you will complete a theater internship or senior project that is either research-based or an original creative work. You may take classes that focus on theater from a specific geographic location or historic time period. Types of classes you’ll take might include:

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Survey of dramatic literature
  • Topics in musical theater
  • Oral interpretation
  • History of theater  
  • Modern Asian performance
  • Stage design and movement
  • Western theater traditions
  • Lighting design

Theater majors end up in a wide-range of fields including the arts, business, education, publishing and performance. If you dream of acting, directing or producing on Broadway or the silver screen you may be disappointed that the competition for such careers is fierce. However, you will never achieve what you never pursue! If you are willing to display dedicated persistence it’s possible to find a theater career that is fulfilling and meaningful. Those who make it in acting are those who are willing to take small and seemingly insignificant roles as “extras” or to do ads and voiceovers before landing bigger roles. Other theater-related careers include:

  • Community art worker
  • High school drama teacher
  • Screenwriter/playwright  
  • Dance teacher  
  • Stage manager
  • Costume designer  
  • Recreational or drama therapist

If you find pleasure in the creative process and desire to impact others through the aesthetic experience of quality theatrical performance, then allow God to use you by choosing a major in theater!