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Theatre Careers

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What can I do with this degree?

(Adapted from "A Philosophy for Concordia Theatre Folk" by Jim Cermak, Concordia College-Moorhead, MN)

FSU's Theatre program seeks to provide students with a variety of experiences in and around the theatre - both in classroom and production settings - to equip students to be able members of the workforce, extremely marketable, inclined to leadership, and all around engaged citizens.

Does study in Theatre involve only those skills needed for a job in the theatre or in a theatre building?

NO.

Theatre at FSU seeks to develop life skills for majors and non-majors alike. FSU Theatre approaches work in both classroom and co-curricular activities as challenges that are valuable in every vocation or avocation a person chooses: teaching, music, educational administration, preaching, management, leadership, service, law, business, church administration, marketing, mass media, public speaking, politics, as well as more traditional roles in the fine and performing arts.

How can study in Theatre Arts help you in YOUR vocation (even if you don't know what your vocation will be)?

Often considered to be a "first" cooperative learning, service learning, or community-building project, theatre productions teach ideas and skills while providing opportunities for students to be life-long learners. How? Students learn to creatively manage limited yet valuable resources of time, money, people, space, equipment, supplies, and texts. For example, majors and minors in Business, Religion, Communications, Education, Wellness, etc. have found theatre courses to be valuable learning opportunities for preparation in THEIR respective fields. Students develop writing skills through script analysis, playwriting, dramaturgy, reviews, resumes, and journaling. Students engage in practical application of time management, budgeting, interpersonal communication, organizational communication, design, and leadership styles and learning in theatre classes like Scene Technology, Costuming, Design, Directing, Production Seminar, Acting, etc. Students undertake "creative problem solving" within the context of theatre production, and experience hands-on work with tools and materials such as wood, plastic, paper, metal, foam, hot melt glue, sewing machines, PVC and metal pipe, table saw, radial arm saw, miter box, band saw, power drills, electric tools, hammers, wrenches, electrical lighting, sound, paint, etc. Students explore human nature, human experience, and truth in each production. They engage in exploration of intercultural understanding, personal tragedy, love, laughter, hope, fear, social acceptance, etc. FSU graduates involved in the theatre (majors and non-majors alike) move on to do great work across many diverse disciplines.

Careers

With drive, initiative and ability, a degree in Theatre prepares you for numerous career choices and possibilities.  Practical skills in performance, communication, education, management, design, and production prepare you for careers in:

  • Professional Theatre                                        Arts Administration
  • Non-profit Management                                   Design
  • Education                                                       General Business
  • Communication                                               Media
  • Psychology and Counseling                               Law
  • Therapy                                                          Music
  • Community & Organizational Leadership

Not everyone wants to be on stage and that's okay. Theatre is an excellent major for developing job-related skills, and employers seeks skills developed in theatre classes and productions-skills such as building teamwork, communication and commitment.   

20 Special Advantages the Theatre Major Has (and may not even know!)

Here is a list of twenty skills, traits, and qualities of personality that are well-developed in individuals who complete four years of undergraduate theatre study.  Consider how many of these are unique to theatre majors -- and provide far more advantages than majors in most other disciplines.

  • Oral communication                                                     Creative problem solving abilities
  • More than a "get it done" mentality                               Motivation and commitment
  • Willingness to work cooperatively yet independently       Initiative
  • Time-budgeting skills and respect for deadlines              Ability to learn quickly - AND correctly
  • Respect for colleagues and authority                             Adaptability and flexibility
  • Ability to work under pressure                                      A healthy self-image
  • Creative engagement with the world
  • Self-discipline                                                              A goal-oriented approach to work
  • Concentration and focus                                               Dedication
  • Leadership skills                                                          Self-confidence
  • Acceptance of disappointment - and a built-in ability to bounce back

What about a JOB? Contrary to popular misconception, theatre is a highly valued degree that provides skills for a wide-variety of employment, both in the field and in other fields. Theatre Job Areas

  • Direction                                                                      Design
  • Technical Theatre & Production                                       Management
  • Acting                                                                          Education & Instruction
  • Theatre History                                                             Theatre/Film Criticism
  • Writing                                                                         Criticism

Related Job Areas

  • Talent Representation (i.e., agents)                                Labor Relations
  • Producing                                                                     Advertising/Marketing
  • Radio/TV                                                                      Voice Work
  • Training & Development                                                Public Affairs
  • Box Office                                                                    Public Relations

Sample Careers in Theatre

  • Actor                                                                           Stand-in (film work)
  • Theme Park Entertainment                                            Comedian/Impersonator
  • Stunt Coordinator                                                         Technical Director
  • Scenic Painter                                                               Costumer/Draper/Dresser
  • Sound Board Operator                                                   Light Board Operator  
  • Stage Hand                                                                  Properties Coordinator
  • Dramaturge                                                                 Playwright
  • Theatre/Film Critic                                                        Broadcast journalist
  • Entertainment writer/editor                                           Screenwriter
  • Comedy writer                                                              Artistic Director
  • Company Manager                                                        Theatre Manager
  • Box Office Manager                                                       House Manager
  • Production Manager                                                      Event Coordinator       
  • Acting/Script Coach                                                      Arts & Education Coordinator
  • Theatre Historian                                                          High School Drama Teacher
  • College Professor (with advanced degree)                       Author
  • Scenic Designer                                                            Lighting Designer
  • Sound Designer                                                            Costume Designer
  • Themed Entertainment Designer                                    Makeup Designer
  • Director                                                                       Casting Director
  • Assistant Director                                                         Musical Director
  • Stage Manager                                                             Choreographer

Sample jobs in related areas

  • Radio/TV announcer                                                    Tourism Director/Guide
  • Ticket Sales Coordination                                            Media Salesperson
  • Art Director                                                                  Mediator
  • Sales Representative                                                   Advertising/Marketing
  • Public Relations Specialist                                           Public Affairs Officer
  • Student Affairs Specialist                                             Recruiter
  • Customer Service Manager                                          Development Officer
  • Special Events Coordinator                                          Wedding Planner
  • Admissions Director                                                     Labor Relations
  • Human Resource Specialist                                         Training & Development Specialist
  • Fashion Designer                                                         Architecture ( with advanced training)
  • Engineer (with advanced training)                                Lawyer
  • Counselor/Therapist                                                    Politician

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