By: Emily (an actual Theatre major!)
So, you’re pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre? Guess what? Congratulations! Whether you went through the qualification process or not, I commend you for following your passion for the performing arts, it is not a journey for the weak of heart.
If you are a Theatre student currently deciding which program to pursue, I hope this post find it’s way to you. As a student that went through the qualification process and experienced the BFA as well as BA program, I feel not only passionate, but also obligated to write about this commonly misunderstood topic.
The downside of a BA degree in Theatre is that you do not have access to formal acting training and the classes available for those with a BFA degree. This does not mean you cannot pursue acting; in fact, there are many opportunities to act in community productions as well as in the Mainstage and Stage 2 shows at the University. In the real world, your degree matters very little in comparison to your talent and theatrical experience.
Benefits of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre:
A true Liberal Arts Degree
As we are exposed to new experiences, we uncover parts of ourselves we never knew existed. Sometimes we find something we are passionate about and it becomes our identity and we don’t bother venture around the next bend. If you are pursuing a BA, you have the luxury of expanding your identity and finding more passion in unexpected places. Unlike many BFA students, you have the freedom to commit yourself to volunteering, studying abroad, joining student groups, attending campus and community events and seeking internships. If you are interested in acting, directing, playwriting or designing, these new experiences will increase your repertoire of ideas to draw upon and will only enrich your work. In fact, many graduate programs for directing, dramaturgy and playwriting prefer Bachelor of Arts students who have a broader liberal arts degree.
Make your own opportunities
The Bachelor of Arts program leaves you with a lot of freedom and that can be a little intimidating for those who are unsure of their direction and want more guidance. I promise that taking charge of your own education will benefit you in the long run. Bachelor of Arts students often have to make their own opportunities. Those who learn to be assertive and self-motivated can make the most out of the BA program and gain of level of independence critical for venturing into the theater world as well as other job markets after graduation.
So if you’re pursuing a BA and you’re not sure of your direction, here are some questions to consider:
Are you interested in pursuing Theatre professionally, or are you curious about other career paths? As a BA student, you will be graduating with a variety of different skills that are transferable to other fields. Many students are doing things other than theatre with their BA Theatre degrees, Chancellor Black is a great example of this!
Do you see yourself working for an art-based nonprofit organization, art camp or self-advocacy theatre? If so, is there a specific population that you’d like to work with (kids, adults with disabilities, teens, ex-offenders)?
Do you like the idea of teaching? Many people in the theatre world are educators at some point in their careers and many find this work artistically and personally rewarding.
Have you considered art or drama therapy? Although there are only a few credited graduate programs for this type of work, drama and other art therapies are becoming more commonly practiced.
How big of a role do you want theatre to play in your life (pun intended)? Would you be content participating in community theatre or will you live in a state of constant regret, wondering if you could have made it big time?
Is there a way to combine your various interests? If you do your research, you may be surprised what’s out there!
As always, please come visit Career & Internship Services if you need help brainstorming possibilities, securing an internship, checking out graduate schools, applying for jobs and deciding your major. We are here to be a resource to you!