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Student Blog: Staying Involved in Theatre (for Non-Theatre Majors)

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Having a hard time finding opportunities to perform or be behind the scenes while at college? Here are some tips from a busy freshman (yours truly).

Student Blog: Staying Involved in Theatre (for Non-Theatre Majors)

I have been pouring my soul into theatre for about half my life, so since around the time I was in seventh grade, almost everyone, including myself, expected me to major in musical theatre. It's what I eat, sleep, and breathe. Instead, I'm pursuing a degree in Architecture, but I don't want to miss out on theatre while I'm in college, so I've compiled some ideas for how you (and I) can stay involved in the theatre scene no matter what your major is.

1. Find local theatres

Most college towns are decently sized, which allows for plenty of opportunities for theatre to thrive. Here in Orlando, I've found upwards of thirty theatres and theatre groups within 45 minutes of my campus. Seek them out! Follow their social media, go see a show, bookmark their audition pages, and volunteer if you want. If you're new to the town, be patient when you're auditioning. Directors are more likely to cast people they know, so don't give up on a theatre after one or two times. Keep trying and stay positive! You'll find your space.

2. Audition on campus

If there's a theatre department at your school, see if auditions for the productions are open to all students. There's a good chance they are! If you don't have a car, this is a great way to stay involved, make friends, and enjoy your time on campus. Likewise, most colleges have theatre clubs that are open to all students. Join! Not only is it good for your creative soul, but participating in a Student Organization also looks good on a resume. You may even want to go the extra mile and run for an office for a club.

3. Join Community Groups on Facebook

You may think Facebook is only for your older relatives to gossip and SHOUT THEIR POLITICAL OPINIONS IN ALL CAPS, but it's actually a great networking tool for theatre people. There's a good chance that there's a Facebook group specifically for theatre in your region. Some examples include Orlando Theatre Network and Middle Tennessee Theatre. Search keywords on Facebook like "theatre" and the name of your region. You'll probably be surprised at how many options pop up and how often people will post auditions and other jobs.

4. Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

This isn't a political opinion; it's just a tip. Many theatres are only casting people who have been vaccinated, and several are checking vaccine status for audience members as well. There's a good chance that, pretty soon, there will be few big-city theatres that won't have some kind of vaccine restriction.

5. Branch Out

There are a lot of performance opportunities that aren't necessarily plays and musicals. Check out improv groups, audition for student films, join a dance squad, and maybe even form a band. Obviously, people who really love theatre love it for more than just the performance aspect, but there's a lot of space to learn and grow creatively in college. Find more things to love!

6. Create Your Own Theatre Group or Club

If you can't find something that interests you on or around campus, or if you're just looking for more, start your own group! Grab some friends and perform Shakespeare in the middle of campus, form an acapella group to sing in the middle of the student union, write your own shows to perform, the possibilities are limitless! Plays that were written before copyright was invented (1790) are free to perform, and everything is up to your interpretation. Costume from your closet and thrift stores, and just have fun.

7. Apply to Work at a Theatre or Other Performance Space

Let's be honest: college is expensive. If you're going to get a job, find a job you can love! Check out employment opportunities at local theatres or even your campus theatre. Become an usher, box office employee, tech, set builder, or so much more. Community theatres mainly rely on volunteers, but professional theatres in your area may be open to hiring college students with some experience. I'm enjoying working at a theatre in downtown Orlando as a scenic artist and tech. Don't limit yourself with your own doubts. Reach out and be confident!

College is a place for you to explore and have fun. Although you may be busy with classes and schoolwork, carve out some time to stay involved in the things you love to let off some steam, express yourself, and make friends.

Stay safe, healthy, happy, and hydrated,

Jana Denning


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From This Author Student Blogger: Jana Denning