BWW Blog: The Education of Theatre Scholarship
Hi everyone! Welcome back to my college student blog! Now that my time with Muhlenberg's production of Brigadoon is, unfortunately, over, I have been able to take even more time to focus on my academics for the semester. It's helped me to realize how grateful I am to Muhlenberg's theatre department for requiring every theatre student to take five theatre scholarship courses. In fact, these courses are a large part of why I chose to attend Muhlenberg in the first place.
Although I will be receiving acting and directing studio training during my time at Muhlenberg, a large emphasis is placed on the theatre scholarship courses that every theatre student, regardless of their concentration, is required to take. For me, these courses have been particularly helpful in expanding my knowledge of the canon of both American and international plays.
Prior to coming to Muhlenberg, my knowledge of plays consisted of a handful of Shakespeare plays and the few others that we had been required to read in my high school English classes like The Crucible and Our Town. Most of my theatrical knowledge was of musical theatre, but I knew that a lot of what was performed at Muhlenberg would be plays, so when I learned about the theatre scholarship courses, I was ecstatic. In addition to my interest in directing, I am also fascinated by theatre history and criticism/analysis. The theatre scholarship courses I have taken thus far have greatly expanded my knowledge already, and I know it will only continue to grow as my time at Muhlenberg goes on.
This semester, I am taking courses in French Theatre and Play Analysis/Dramaturgy, both of which require me to read a new play each week, most of which I had not been exposed to in any capacity before these courses. They force me to think about the plays we read outside of the lens of a director, which I am extremely grateful for. Even if I never direct the plays I read for these courses, I still feel like I am getting so much out of them because they are making me more well-rounded in terms of my knowledge as a future theatre maker. I knew I wanted a BA program over a BFA program for this exact reason, even when I was applying to schools two years ago. I didn't want to just have knowledge in one area of theatre (in my case, directing), and I have found that Muhlenberg's program has done exactly that for me.
This same principle is also being put into place through the fact that I have to take studio training courses in acting in addition to my directing courses for my concentration. I had very limited knowledge of how acting technically works before I came to Muhlenberg, and now these acting courses will help me work with actors more specifically when I direct a show in the future.
While there are so many advantages to the fantastic BFA programs across the country, for the knowledge I wanted to gain in college, Muhlenberg's BA program has been perfect for me. Tackling so many plays through an analytical lens has been fascinating to me, and now I am able to critically examine every play I see or read, whether at Muhlenberg or somewhere else.