A Day In The Life Of A Theatre Major
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A Day In The Life Of A Theatre Major

Ever wondered what it's like to study theatre.

A Day In The Life Of A Theatre Major
South of Broadway

When I was in high school, I began to get involved in community theatre -- my high school was too small to support a drama department. As a senior looking at colleges and majors, I knew for certain that I wanted to study theatre, particularly musical theatre performance, in college. I decided to add an arts administration (basically business operations in regards to arts organizations) minor as well to give myself a more well-rounded understanding of theatre.

I get a lot of confused looks, raised eyebrows and questions when I tell people I study theatre. I get a lot of the same questions; "What are you going to do with that?" "Do you just take acting classes?" "That's a really hard field to get into, right?" and my personal favorite, "What's your backup plan?" There are people who mean well, and there are people who are legitimately concerned I'm wasting money on my major and are expecting me to fail.

Well folks, in plain words, I'm not in it for the money. I chose to study theatre because I love it more than anything else. Working in theatre feeds my soul and makes me happy. What frustrates and exhausts me is how the work of a theatre student is not valued by our society. I didn't choose theatre, theatre chose me. Theatre is my vocation, my lover, my career, my livelihood. Is the field unreliable? Yes. But that will not stop me from pursuing my dream of working in theatre.

A lot of times, people wonder what kind of classes I take and what my daily schedule is like. So I decided to document one day of my week in pictures. So here it is, in pictures, a day in the life a theatre major.

7:15 AM - Wake up, shower, get dressed, makeup, breakfast

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are my busiest days. I start class at 8.50 a.m. and I'm not back home till 3.30 p.m. In the morning, I usually try to get up around 7.15 (by setting four alarms) so I have enough time to shower, get dressed, do my makeup and have something to eat. Today was extra exciting because I had leftover blueberry pancakes from Perkins.

8:30 AM - Coffee and walking to class

I have short legs, I like to be on time, and it takes me about 10 minutes to walk to class with the rest of the early morning traffic. Before I go to class, I make myself a coffee to go, and I have something to keep my hands warm on the walk to class. It was beautiful out this morning, so I couldn't resist snapping a selfie!

8:50 AM - Nonprofit Theatre Management

Nonprofit Theatre Management is my first class of the day. This class is all about learning how to run a nonprofit theatre company. The overlying project is created an imaginary theatre company -- deciding what city it is located in, the mission of the company, deciding a theatre season, budgeting, marketing, etc. It is a great way to get practice if I ever decide to start a theatre company of my own.

9:55 AM - World Theatre

My next class (in the same room as Theatre Management, which is nice) is World Theatre. In this class we learn about non-Western cultures, and the kinds of theatre practiced those cultures. For example, we learned about Japanese culture and Kabuki theatre, and Indian culture and sanskrit, a drama form based mostly on dance. Right now we are studying the culture of Nigeria and just started reading a play called "Death and the King's Horsemen" by Wole Soyinka. This class is great because not only do we get to learn about other cultures, we get to do so through reading plays traditionally performed in that culture.

11:00 AM - Stagecraft

Stagecraft is a class devoted to the technical side of theatre. In class, we learn about building sets and drafting them. Above is a drafting assignment in class that we were working on today. Two hours a week, we volunteer in the scene shop and work on building sets for whatever production is going on at the moment. For example, we've spent the past few weeks working to build the set of our spring musical, "Singin' in the Rain." It is really cool to watch the concepts you learn in class physically brought to life.

12:05 PM - Musical Theatre Vocal Studio

This class is all about studying the art of singing musical theatre. The goal is to have knowledge of musical theatre repertoire, work on having consistent healthy speaking and singing habits, and understand body alignment and healthy breath while singing. Each week, we have an individual voice lesson with our teacher where we work on technique and repertoire, and then on Fridays we have studio class where we perform our music in front of our peers. The first few times is kind of nerve-wracking, but it is so helpful to perform music in front of people instead of just in a practice room!

1:00 PM - Lunch and homework

I get a nice hour break to have some lunch and hopefully get some work done. I usually bring my own lunch and eat in the green room in the Center for the Arts. In theatre, the green room is where the actors wait and hang out before going onstage. We use it not just during performances, but as a place to hang out, relax, or study between classes. It's one of my favorite places on campus.

2:15 PM - Dramaturgy

Dramaturgy is the study of dramatic composition, or rather, understanding all of the pieces of a play so that it can be performed onstage. It involves a lot of research and reading. In class, we are researching the play "Execution of Justice" by Emily Mann. It is about the trial of Dan White, a former city supervisor of San Francisco who murdered mayor George Moscone and fellow supervisor Harvey Milk, who was one of the first openly gay government officials. We have had to create a glossary of legal terms, research the people of the play (because they were real people), look up information about the city of San Francisco and how city government works, etc. It's a lot of work, but it's very rewarding.

3:30-5:15 PM - Relax, eat dinner, homework

After getting home from class, I usually have some quiet time to relax. Today I got to watch it snow while getting some homework done. I have a performance tonight, so that means an early dinner and leaving around 5.15 p.m. so that I can get to the theatre on time.

5:30 PM - Singin' in the Rain Performance

I play Zelda Zanders, a sassy, B-list movie star who is best friends with Lina Lamont (the antagonist of the show). I love doing this show -- it's fun, there's great music and dance numbers, and it's set in the 1920's, which is always a fun era to do a show. I usually get to the theatre around 5.30 p.m. It takes me about an hour to do my makeup, curl my hair and get dressed. We have a vocal warm-up with the entire cast at 7 p.m., and them the show starts at 7.30 p.m. After the show, I go out and chat with any audience members that I know, and afterwards, it's time for a cast party.

There you have it, a day in the life of a theatre major. It's not a typically average day because of the performance, but other than that, this is a normal day out of my life. I get to learn not just how to perform but other areas of the theatre in classes like theatre management, stagecraft and dramaturgy. I'm lucky that I am in a community where I am encouraged by my fellows students and professors to share my excitement and passion for theatre with the world. I'm so glad that I chose to study theatre over anything else because it is truly what makes me happy.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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