What are you going to do with a theatre degree? How will dance help you in the future? What’s your backup plan? As a theatre major and dance minor, I have received these questions countless times from older professionals through their somewhat gritted teeth.
Well, for someone who has never experienced these arts, or taken a theater class, these may seem like very valid questions. These questioners seem to think that a performing arts education teaches you only one thing — how to aspire to be an unsuccessful, starving artist — but they teach you so much more.
These classes aren’t just for the stereotypically hopeful Broadway performers but for the masses. Theater is a multidisciplinary art form. Every college student, regardless of their major, should take at least one performance class as it provides so many great, hidden learning opportunities across the board.
First and foremost, theatre participation helps you build your confidence on stage as well as with public speaking. There are so many jobs out there that require you to give oral presentations or speak in front of large groups. This is a great way to practice your public speaking skills and overcome your fears with monologues and musical numbers. With these under your belt, all your other public speaking assignments will be a breeze.
As theater requires scene work and working with other people to put on a performance, it teaches you how to develop a sense of community as well as learn to build new communities with every group you are told to work with. It promotes compromise and team building, as every participant is necessary and equally as important for the success of the performance.
In the real world, there will never be a situation where you get to work solely by yourself, all the time, so learning how to work well with others is a good use of your time and you just might make some new friends.
Improvisation is another important part of theatre because you can use it to ad lib when you forget a line — a useful skill to have. What happens when you’re in a job interview and the interviewer asks you a question you’re not completely prepared for? Do you freeze up and say nothing or do you improvise a confident answer on the spot?
Hopefully, with the help of your trusty college theatre class, the latter. You’ll also get to unleash your creative side and simply have fun by creating characters and wearing fun costumes.
We could all use a little creativity and fun during our days, don’t you think? Plus, the theatre and dance faculty at Wake Forest are extremely welcoming and encouraging. So, take a theatre class. You won’t regret it.