This blog is for all the nervous parents of theater majors out there . . .

. . . and here’s a spoiler . . . I didn’t write it.

The blog was emailed to me by about three people . . . and I have a rule, whenever three or more people give me the same comment about anything, a show, a restaurant, or even a friend, I take heed.

Before I get to that blog . . .

There’s a Dean of Drama at a university who makes a speech on orientation day for incoming freshmen and their jittery parents, who are afraid their children will end up waiting tables for the rest of their lives instead of taking the road more followed and becoming a doctor or . . . ick . . . a lawyer . . . or something just as “safe”.

The Dean gives it to them straight . . . and tells them how a very small percentage of their graduates actually end up working in the theater.  Just when half of the parents are about to demand tuition refunds, he goes on to read some of the other gigs that they got instead.  Some were politicians, salesmen, and some, even, were lawyers.

The blog that I didn’t write, but am linking to below is called 10 Ways Being A Theatre Major Prepared Me for Success . . . and it reminded me of that very smart Dean.

A lot of people out there think that theater training is a joke.

Well, I got news for those ignorant folks.  We live in the biggest theater of them all, and we are just players.

Sure, we theater majors may not be able to perform surgery . . . be we can still get straight to your heart.

Read the blog here.


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  • Michele Favaro says:

    This is a great blog. I was a theatre major and am so proud to say that out loud. For 4 years I got to do what I love the most- perform. In “real life” I never had those opportunities for a variety of reasons. But for 4 years of my life I was an actor. Now I have a job that I could never love as much as I loved performing but it pays for my home and provides for my family. My degree is in no way of “waste of money”. Great post today to point that out.

  • All of my life, my parents told me that I could be whatever I wanted. Until I announced tat I was going in tot he theatre. Then we went into family counseling. Even at 17, I realized the heavy lifting that would be required. I also realized that if a career in show business did not work out, I would have ad a liberal education and there would be many things I could do with that education.
    Although I don’t do much theatre, I continue to design sets for film and television, as well as ‘real-life’ installations in stores, museums, restaurants…

  • Malini says:

    This is a well-written blog. I wouldn’t trade in my degrees in theater for anything. The two greatest skills I have learned in theater, and Tom mentions,is understanding people and efficiently handling projects. I can read a person in the first 30 seconds of talking to them – same as auditioning an actor for a part. I can also handle difficult situations because hey, there’s always drama in drama.
    I am a director so I also have learned that you can’t deal with everyone the same way. Each person is unique and you have to find what works for them. Just like in life.
    Again, great blog.

  • Sue says:

    Nice blog. I didn’t read all the comments. But missing from the list of ten is the word TEAMWORK. Many employers look for school sports players since they supposedly understand teamwork. There is no greater experience of teamwork than working on a live production.

  • As the father of a soon-to-be graduate of U-Arts in Philadelphia, this blog slapped me up side the head. Of course my daughter has learned more than acting and theater arts! In fact, she’s developed an entrepreneurial spirit that I believe can be directly attributed to her education–both in college AND in her high school years at Arts Magnet in Dallas. Yes, theatre (with an “re”) can prepare you for success!

    • Douglas Millar says:

      I agree Marshall. My daughter is also a soon-to-be graduate with degrees in Theatre and Anthropology. I have never been concerned about her being able to use what she has learned when she encounters the wide world. My concern is whether her degree has truly prepared her for a career in the theatre!

  • BillR says:

    I was persuaded to attend a university without a theatre major, although years later I did pursue an MFA degree in theatre. Instead, as an undergraduate, I was a liberal arts major, who squeezed in as much theatre as I could. Your blogger has many fine points about the skills to be learned in theatre, and there are many more he omits.
    However, in my experience there are several downsides for undergraduate majors to be considered. Yes, a goodly percentage of you will wait on tables and drive cabs, and have parents say “I told you so.” But you’ll eventually grow out of that phase and move on to more challenges and successes, bolstered by your theatre skills.
    There are two more serious concerns. 1. You’ll often be doing grunt work for long hours, sharpening your carrying, carpentry, painting, go-fer and sword-carrying skills, while older students get the roles you covet. 2. The time required for your major’s course and production work is all-consuming, leaving very little to get a well-rounded education in history and the sciences outside of what you will pick up in theatre art and craft.
    It’s easy to forget that there’s a world out there, and that we theatre artists are not at its center, and that our work has purpose and relevance to others. It helps to accumulate knowledge that gives us perspective, to learn what has been said and done before that got us to “now.” It helps to discover what it is we have to say to and about the world that will be of value, before we go off to use our newfound skills to repeat the obvious and the sophomoric. It helps to learn that theatre is not about “me,” but about humanity. Once we have done that, the art of theatre, with an “re” needs no apology.

  • Kaitlyn says:

    I swear, being a theatre major made me the most prepared for this so called real world, than any other major out there could have made me ready for. I learned so many useful things out there, that help me in everyday life. Do I always need to know how to hang a light? No. But I still got useful, everyday information out of that class. At least we’re all well prepared for whatever the world will throw at us!

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