It’s Okay Not To Be A Theatre Major!

This might be a bit weird, but when I’m at college and I introduce myself, one of the first things I mention is that I’m involved in theatre. I start listing off the shows I’ve acted in, the sets I’ve helped build, the marketing strategies that I’ve helped implement. And people automatically assume that I’m a theatre major. I’m not. I usually explain that I’m actually studying journalism but I still love theatre and making it a part of my life. Inevitably, they follow up with: “If you like it so much, why don’t you just major in it? Then you can be more involved and get to do real shows!”

Good question. Yes, there’s always been a part of me that wonders why I’m not mainly focusing on theatre. As a senior in college, I find it especially troubling to have the thought that I might have chosen the wrong major. However, it’s okay not to be a theatre major. In fact, I almost prefer it.

When you are not a theatre major (at least at my school), you do miss out on the auditions for the shows that the professors direct. You also miss out on performing on a “real stage” rather than in your tiny black box that has a barely-functioning light board.

The upside is, when you’re not consumed with a theatre major, you still have the chance to join this completely different world: student theatre. And I could not be more glad to be a part of that. It’s because of student theatre at my school that I’ve gotten to perform in shows that the department would never do. In one semester, I played an old woman in Steel Magnolias and Jenny in Company. I may be playing these roles in a smaller theatre with less advanced technical equipment, but I get to try so many new roles that I never could have elsewhere.

It’s also in student theatre that I’ve been able to try new work. Our company put on an original musical and because we’re so flexible, I assistant directed it. It was incredibly rewarding being able to help shape and create a new piece of musical theatre on our own as a freshman in college. I can say that not many others have had such a unique experience.

Ultimately, choosing your college major is an individual decision – there’s no “one size fits all” major for every student who loves theatre. For me, there are definite advantages to the path I chose. Yes, I may feel out of place not being in the theatre department, and yes, I’m not getting as much formal training as the other students who get to work one-on-one with our esteemed professors. However, I do get hands-on experience, and I do get to delve into the world of contemporary theatre.

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