Theater classes are beneficial to all students, regardless of degree

October 03, 2016

Eleanor Sturt

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     When students at main campus hear I am a theater student, they are generally surprised that I succeed in other classes.

     What some students do not realize is that theater is applicable to every degree, which helps make other classes easy to pass.

     But theater is a broad degree.

     Majoring in theater is not the same as majoring in acting. Acting is merely one aspect of the business. A theater major has to study multiple areas in the field, including technical theater, directing and acting.

     Opportunities to develop different skills and techniques taught in theater classes are beneficial to all degrees, not just theater majors.

     There are many classes within the theater department to consider that are dependent on what skills you want to improve.

     Voice and Articulation I is a good choice, especially if your degree requires public speaking. This class includes breathing and relaxation techniques, projection and articulation that aid in getting over your stage fright.

     Students are not required to memorize scripts or monologues, but they do have to read news articles, Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss’s “Fox in Socks.”

     The goal of this is to practice public speaking in a friendly, non-pressured environment. Not only is this class a good way to improve your public speaking skills, it fills the LAS oral communication requirement.

     Introduction to Theatre is another good selection if you are curious about the inner workings of a theatrical production. This is a broad course that covers areas in acting, directing, playwriting and design.

     This class requires students to attend theater productions as homework.

     Introduction to Technical Theatre is a good choice for hands-on students. The class is one day of casual lecture and discussion and another day of lab each week.

     During the lecture and discussion, students are taught the basics of costumes and scenic design as well as simple technical skills such as rope tying.

     The lab takes place in a workshop where students are taught to use equipment such as table saws and pneumatic staple guns to build stage flats, a style of scenery.

     Improvisational Theatre teaches a technique that is applicable to any degree.

     This class uses comedic games and discussions to learn improvisation, a technique that helps with quick thinking. This class also fulfills that LAS oral communication requirement and is especially useful for students involved in business, politics and public safety.

     Stage management is an extremely useful skill in business. Teams of people complete separate tasks and hope that it will come together in one, big product, which will be sold to a consumer.

     I encourage all students to take a theater class at some point in their academic career. The skills they teach are useful for any degree. The professors who teach the classes are funny, personable and down-to-earth people.