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BWW Blog: The History and Practice of Producing Theatre

I worry about navigating the dicey industry of 21st century theatre in New York; there was no class on that. 

Looking back on my four years of school, I struggle to wonder what classes I took might actually help me in my future. It's that feeling you get when you're up at 2am, writing a paper on ancient Greek theatre technology, and you say to yourself 'why am I doing this?' I have always loved to learn, but sometimes the work in college can seem like more than it's worth, and especially upsetting when you realize you probably will never need to use 90% of this information again. However, this is all to say, that looking back on this has made me treasure the classes that will be applicable to my life after school.

For example, a film editing elective I chose to take randomly has given me a marketable skill that has helped me 10 times over. My theatre tech classes, directing classes, and playwriting classes have taught me skills for the industry. However, when I graduate I worry about navigating the dicey industry of 21st Century Theatre in New York; there was no class on that.

That was true at least, until this semester. I am currently taking a course called The History and Practice of Producing theatre. This class not only teaches us about the history of the theatre industry, but also focuses on the ins and outs today of the industry today. For example, by doing research projects on current broadway and off-broadway producers, we have been able to look at the paths of successful people in the industry, which has caused my classmates and I to ask questions of ourselves, and think of the path we will forge once graduating.

This class, and the knowledge we gain from it, is possible due to the fact that our professor is also a Working Theatre producer in New York. I feel like I have learned so much in this class that I will get to directly apply to my career when I graduate in the spring, which is a rare experience at my school. Taking this class has gotten me thinking; shouldn't all of our classes be geared towards helping us navigate the industry in that particular field? I believe that this is a pitfall in our current college education system.

Having a well-rounded education is by all means important, but isn't it also the duty of the school to prepare us for our prospective industries? Shouldn't I learn the skills I need to succeed in the process of getting my degree? This class has made the industry more approachable, and has given me the knowledge that I will need to be able to succeed as a young theatre maker once I graduate.

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