Theatre has always been a valuable field of study for University students because it fosters self-confidence and responsibility, teamwork, creative problem-solving, and numerous communication skills. Theatre is also important because its cultural and technical breadth encompasses many areas of human experience useful in the business world and the professions. GVSU's Theatre program permits students to concentrate solely upon dramatic art, to develop a combined program for additional work in the media industry, or to study in a generalist path suited to graduate work in corporate fields. Our graduates have an outstanding placement record, a partial history of which is found at the end of this booklet.
Some widely held misconceptions, however, regarding theatre careers need to be dispelled before students decide to study in the field. First, all professional careers in theatre or the entertainment industry now require postgraduate training. Like careers in medicine, law, teaching, or engineering, it is next-to-impossible to locate satisfying work of any permanent nature without advanced study, and lacking the contacts and credentials from a grad school or professional conservatory of some kind. Actors, stage managers, and production technicians-fully as much as designers, directors, and arts managers-are now professionally trained and certified in programs specifically geared to produce competent arts professionals. For this reason we place the heaviest emphasis at GVSU upon earning a high grade point average that will qualify our majors for graduate schools.
Second, Theatre Communications students should keep in mind that versatility is the single most important factor that will ensure success in locating satisfying work after graduation. Professional designers, directors, or actors today rarely work in only one medium (such as live stage, TV, or motion pictures); but they frequently cross over from one medium to another as their skills, interests, and opportunities develop. At GVSU we require that theatre students gain a broad understanding in four areas of their training: performance, literature & history, technical production, and communications. Additionally we try to guide our students into elective areas that will complement their drama studies: media, design & graphics, marketing, etc.
Together with the liberal arts "general education" core courses required of all University students, these theatre-related emphasis areas enhance our graduates' employability. In fact, a number of students who arrive at GVSU convinced they want to become actors or teachers or directors, discover after four years that many other satisfying career options are available to them.
Page last modified March 2, 2007