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BWW Blog: The Truth About Community College Theatre Majors

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BWW Blog: The Truth About Community College Theatre Majors

As a theatre person, we go through high school assuming that in order to be successful and make our big break, we have to go to one of the top theatre schools in the country. But my experience as a Theatre Arts major at a community college in New Jersey has proven the exact opposite. I started out at Union County College in the Fall of 2018 expecting the worst. Community college wasn't my first choice, wasn't my second choice and wasn't even my tenth choice. I never even heard of them doing any sort of productions or even having a theatre program for that matter, but I knew that it was the best option for me, as I would come out with no debt and I could stay close to home. I was coming from a high school with an award-winning theatre program as an honors student, so committing to a community college was not what was expected of me. People thought that I would get nowhere as an actress because I wouldn't receive the necessary training or making the connections I needed to make in order to be successful. Boy, were they wrong.

I remember coming in my first day of freshman year and sitting my Acting 101 class, assuming I would learn nothing, but even from the first day, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and learned something new every single day. I studied famous playwrights that I never even heard of, learned how to translate Shakespeare without, studied different acting techniques from some of the greats and even started writing my own plays and scenes. The amount of performance opportunities I was given was insane, from cabarets, to plays, to musicals, to open mics, to presentations in front of the entire faculty and staff of my college. And not to mention the people I have met there. One of my favorite things about community college is that people from all different backgrounds and talents are brought together. The people and professors I have met each bought in their own special talents and were determined to grow every single day. In high school, there were over 50 people each year who were all actors and actresses, all pinned up against each other, making every rehearsal a competition. But at UCC, every day we push each other to grow and motivate each other when we need it. Every day, I see at least one person from the theatre program posting the work of one of their peers on Instagram, telling their followers to go show them love.

But the performance opportunities and intense training wasn't all that I got from UCC. I have always had a love for backstage work and design and I was nervous that I wouldn't have any chances to grow my stage crew experience at UCC. But not only was UCC a place with opportunities for performers, but there were also endless opportunities for stage managers, sound designers, costume designers, directors, video editors, marketing designers, etc. If you had any sort of talent, your voice was heard. My director helped me get a professional stage manager position working off-off-Broadway at La MaMa Experimental Theatre with Lilac Co., something I never dreamed I would be able to do at only 20. I also became the president of my school's drama club and made my directing debut by putting on the first ever UCC musical. The best part about the show, was that we created it around our members, allowing each one of them to be showcased with their own unique talents, whether that be singing, acting, dancing, rap, spoken word, or design. Before attending UCC, people would see my resume and forget it in a second. Now, people see what I have done during my time at UCC and they are blown away.

My story as a community college theatre student goes to show that the college you attend does not limit your talents or your potential to be successful in any way. Not to say that famous theatre universities and studios aren't great, but as a community college theatre major, your opportunities are endless and your voice and talents will be heard. You WILL get the training you need, you WILL make the connections you want, you WILL grow, and not to mention, you'll come out with your Associate's degree, debt free! You're college isn't going to make your dreams happen- YOU are.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Holly Stefanik