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BWW Blog: The Backup Plan

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It's a dreaded question for theatre majors everywhere; What's your backup plan?

While some say that if you have a backup plan you will fall into it, I disagree. Having a backup plan not only pushes you harder towards what you actually want to do but can even help you in your performance career.

In my junior year of high school, my Dad layed some ground rules. Unless it was a super-exclusive-very-big-name conservatory, the schools I applied to had to let Musical Theatre majors double major outside of the arts. I was... not pleased to say the least. This took so many schools out of the running before I had even applied. Phenomenal arts-focused schools like BOCO, SCAD, UNCSA, and even UArts, which is practically in my backyard, were out of the question. I have many friends who go to those schools and I know that they will have extremely successful careers. However, I do not regret or despise (well, as much as I used to) being a double major, and here is why.

As simple as it sounds, I feel safer with a double major. While my goal is performance and I will stop at nothing to get there, I will still have a way to put food on the table and pay rent regardless if I am #bookedandblessed. I will be able to get an insurance plan and afford my medications before I join Equity. Especially in these scary times, having that safety net is very reassuring. Who knows when theatres will open up again, or even be able to hire actors? If it's not for a long time, I will still have a source of income. It is nice to know that if I struggle to make a career in theatre, I will not struggle to survive.

I will not sugar-coat being a double major in Musical Theatre and something non-arts related. My Public Relations and Strategic Communications courses don't overlap with my Musical Theatre ones whatsoever. To graduate in four years, I have to take the maximum amount of credits every semester and a summer class. This has certainly taken a toll on my stress and sleep levels, as well as my free time. Few take on the daunting challenge of doing two full majors, one of them Musical Theatre. My program is a BA, which allows us to have second majors, and many of us take advantage of that and can commiserate over workload together. However, I cannot speak for theatre programs across the country.

Second majors can teach you skills that can easily be applied to theatre. I have many friends double majoring in film, which is going to be extremely helpful in a performance career. One of the many reasons why I chose Public Relations and Strategic Communications as my second major is that PR is about creating positive connections and communication between the outside world and your client or company. Being a PR major you learn how to communicate effectively. Theatre, at its core, is communication. Communicating thoughts, feelings, and stories to an audience through text, song, and dance. Becoming a better communicator is becoming a better theatre artist.

Whether you have two equally important passions in your life or your parents are making you, know that you are not alone in double majoring and that it can be done. And at the end of your college career, you will have two hard-earned, well-deserved degrees.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Emma Rose Dorsch