What can I do with a theatre major?

While it is true that a relatively small percentage of individuals who study theatre actually make a career out of it, the benefits of a theatre education are immeasurable. The skills and abilities one learns in the theatre can help you in any job profession you choose to pursue. You never know where your theatre skills may take you… just ask our current college president!

For anyone

Being involved in a theatre production means that you are part of team working toward a common goal. From the leads on stage to the stagehand who pulls the curtain, every individual has a specific role that contributes to the success or failure of the production as a whole. At the end of the performance, the applause and show of appreciation from the audience signals to the entire team that their hard work and dedication have created something wonderful. Understanding that sense of ownership, and what it takes to get there, will stay with you in whatever career path you choose.

For actors and actresses

Most individuals who perform on stage do it because it’s fun! But many are not aware that the skills that they are learning can be applied to almost any profession.

  • Performers must memorize t he script! Memorization skills come in handy all the time – remembering the name ofa  potential client or simply retelling a story to a classroom of kindergartners.
  • Actors and actresses come to understand the dramatic values of storytelling. In any presentation that you give, whether a sermon to your congregation or a business proposal to the board of directors, actor training helps you to read your audience, keep their interest and deliver your presentation in a creative and interesting way.
  • Finally, getting up in front of people requires confidence. Confidence and the ability to speak in front of people are key factors that potential employers value.

For technical designers

Anyone who designs for the stage – whether it is costumes, lighting, set or sound – must understand what it takes to create the mood and tone for any specific scene or production. That ability is carried with them into the workplace.

  • Being part of the production team means that you and your ideas must complement other areas of design. Designers learn to work as a team to produce the overall effect and mood. The ability to work enthusiastically and productively in a group setting makes you an asset to any company.
  • Being part of a production team also means that the individual designer is responsible for researching their own design element and making sure they are meeting deadlines. The ability to set a schedule for yourself and hand in projects in a timely manner is a necessity in any profession.
  • Designing for the stage takes creativity and artistry. Theatre is a visual art. The look of a production is as important as the acting. The first thing the audience sees is the visual spectacle. Learning to use color, light, lines and shape to draw attention to specific character, moments or areas of a stage can ultimately help you in any profession that uses the visual, from preparing a teacher’s bulletin board to creating a website.

For stage managers and directors

Stage management is one of the most difficult yet thankless jobs in theatre. Stage managers work behind the scenes to make sure that things go seamlessly during production. Luckily, the skills that they are learning make this demanding role worth the challenge.

  • Stage managers are responsible for the entire cast. They keep track of everyone’s schedule and are often responsible for communications between director, designers, cast and crew. With these skills in hand, you show potential employers that you are well organized and can communicate with your peers while still maintaining your professional demeanor.
  • The stage manager of a production has a huge responsibility on her or his shoulders. Should anything go wrong during a live performance, it is often the stage manager who must decide how to fix the problem immediately. The ability to handle what can be potentially a strenuous situation proves that you can perform under stress, think on your feet and that you are a remarkably responsible individual – all traits that potential employers seek.

For directors

Directors are part drill sergeant, part cheerleader, part counselor, part inspirational speaker and all organizer. Being a director takes preparedness, skill and lots of enthusiasm. Taking on this role can be intimidating, but completing the task is its own reward and ensures that you have learned and accomplished many skills that will be an asset to your career.

  • Ultimately, it is the director’s actions that will determine the success or failure of a production. From choosing the script to casting the show, the director’s vision and ideas are what the audience will see. The ability to create something and be responsible for the project from start to finish is a highly marketable skill that is useful in leadership roles.
  • The director’s vision shapes the production but the designers and actors contribute to the production as well. Directors must possess the ability to communicate with their team, stand their ground when necessary and recognize when a compromise is needed. A good director will also be open to other proposals and be able to look at the big picture as opposed to one person’s idea. These are all also qualities of a good leader.