Friday, March 18, 2011

What it is like being a Theatre Major

This is the "Inevitable Theatre Post".

**This is in no way a complaint, I chose and continue to choose to be a theatre major. And I appreciate the challenge it gives us.**

I held off on this post because I was trying to keep this blog applicable to most by posting about my life as a university student. Because I work for admissions, the point of this blog is to give an idea of what life is like as a university student and while no one is an "average" university student I feel like my experience as a theatre major is even further outside the norm. However, for anyone considering majoring in the arts I figured that this post could be extremely helpful to know what arts at a post-secondary level looks like.

Being a part of the School of the Arts, Media + Culture is a crazy experience. In both a good and bad way. There are sacrifices you have to make in university, and there are sacrifices you have to make for art, and there are large sacrifices you have to make for university art.

Everyone in the arts knows that a lot of time and dedication are needed to attain the results you want. Right now I am registered as a fulltime student and am acting in a show that opens next week. That means that in any time that I am not doing something, I should be. There always needs to be time for socializing and rest, for your physical health, and prayer and worship, for your spiritual health. But after those things are taken care of I need to be either working on school work, working, or rehearsing (since our first show is in 4 days!).

This week has been Tech Week, and tomorrow is Tech Day. As of yesterday we are officially done rehearsing but need to still be fixing things (such as dance and movement pieces). Tech Week means that all week our rehearsals have been dedicated to making sure the technical aspects of our show get the attention they need and deserve. So it means that we stand around waiting for a light to be focused or a level to be set.

For those of you who are not theatre students or who are prospective theatre students, the average rehearsal schedule for a show is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday nights from 6-10pm and Saturday from 9am-5pm. EVERY week until the show opens. Which overall means 20 hours a week. Some shows have an added four hour rehearsal on Fridays or Mondays which brings the total to 24 hours a week. That is an entire day out of your week. 1/7th of your week. Now comes the kicker, on top of that you are expected to rehearse between rehearsals to make sure you get everything down and to bring in new options. That on its own is not terrible, do not get me wrong, I LOVE rehearsal, I LOVE being in a show and it is entirely worth all the work that we have to do.

What makes our rehearsal schedule crazy is when you are taking a bunch of classes/jobs that don't particularly work around a theatre schedule. Last semester I was assistant stage managing a show that was rehearsing 24 hours a week (plus as a stage manager you must be there a half hour before and after each rehearsal), I was in two lab sciences, an acting class that requires hours of rehearsing outside of it, a Religious Studies class that was important to me, holding a part time job in admissions, was an SOS leader, was in weekly counselling, and was trying to be an active member in the TWU community.

Needless to say, I was burnt out pretty quickly. And that was only 13 semester hours (plus two labs). I passed all my courses and maintained the GPA I need for my scholarship. If you want to know what it is like being a member of the School of the Arts, Media + Culture, that is it right there.

What I haven't mentioned is the amazing program that we get to work in. I can safely say that the programs here are unique. First of all, TWU in general is an incredible school, and SAMC is no exception. The professors care way more than one would expect and they mean what they say, they are there to create whole artists. I have cried in all of my theatre professor's offices for very personal reasons. They have helped me realize the parts of me that I have hidden and that need(ed) work. They are continually pushing me to be a better person, a better role model, a better Christian, and a better theatre artist.

In class I have seen nearly every person in my year cry. We are always on a journey being pushed further and further. If you are looking at pursuing a post-secondary degree in theatre I would STRONGLY encourage you to check out TWU's SAMC Theatre program. The same goes for every program in SAMC (art, music, and communications), and in the rest of the university.


Till next time,
-T

P.S. Check out SAMC Theatre's production of "The Bacchae" the show that I am in that opens next week!!!

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