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Theater is one of the oldest performing arts and forms of entertainment. Musicals and plays date back to ancient times, when Greek thespians donned masks and elaborate costumes and acted out scenes to entertain royalty and the masses. William Shakespeare is one of the most recognized names in the world, and he is considered to be one of the greatest playwrights of all time.
Even today, thespians are some of the most passionate people on earth. Many times, they live and breathe their passion, which is often projected into their work.
Unfortunately, with the advent and popularity of moving pictures and other forms of entertainment cropping up in the last century, many individuals believe that theater is a dying art. Although there is some truth to this statement, it is not entirely true. The number of theater jobs is declining, but there is still a chance for passionate individuals to pursue a theater career. However, this has become a very competitive field, and not everyone will be successful.
To increase your chances of a successful theater career, you should consider attending a theater school. Attending a school of this sort is an excellent way for anyone interested in theater careers.
What Are Theater Schools?
It takes a special sort of person to attend theater school and pursue this type of career. Theater professionals need to be passionate and creative as well as hard working and determined. These traits are usually necessities for a successful career after theater school.
Theater schools are educational institutes where students can learn the art of theater. These types of schools are perfect for anyone interested in working in a theater, whether they prefer to work on stage or backstage. Attending these types of schools will help students learn every aspect of the theater world, and get hands on experience doing it.
What Are the Different Types of Theater Schools?
Performing arts schools and conservatories are some of the most common types of theater schools. These institutes typically have very large theaters or auditoriums, which enable students to put on shows. They also offer courses and degree programs in a number of different performing arts, including music and dance.
Many traditional colleges and universities also have theater departments. These schools are good choices for students who are looking for theater education as well as the traditional college experience.
What Types of Degree Programs Do Theater Schools Offer?
Students who attend theater schools will often have their choice of a couple different degree programs. The type of degree program that a student chooses will typically be determined by their career goals.
An associate of fine arts degree in theater usually takes around two years to earn. This type of degree program is often a basic introduction to theater. Students who graduate with an associate’s degree in theater will often be exposed to several specific areas, and they may be able to obtain entry level positions in some theaters.
A bachelor of fine arts degree in theater, on the other hand, typically takes around four years to earn. These types of degrees enable students to gain an in depth knowledge of most aspects of theater, and many students will be able to focus on one specific area of theater that they are interested in. Graduates who hold bachelor’s degrees in theater will often qualify for entry level theater positions as well as some positions that demand more responsibility.
Some theater schools also offer graduate degree programs in theater, in which students can specialize in specific areas, such as set design or acting. Individuals who wish to become theater teachers or professors will also need to earn graduate degrees in theater.
Specific degree programs at theater schools may vary, but some of the more common areas to specialize in include
- Costume Design
- Lighting Design
- Sound Design
- Scenic Design
- Stage Management
- Theatre Arts
- Theatre Management
What Are the Requirements for Attending Theater Schools?
Most theater schools have very similar admission requirements as other types of schools. For example, perspective students will be required to fill out an application and possibly write an essay. Students must also usually have a minimum GPA, and a minimum SAT or ACT score.
Unlike most other schools, theater schools will also sometimes require students to interview or audition before acceptance. This usually depends on their intended major or specialty, however. For example, students who wish to specialize in acting will usually have to audition, while those who wish to specialize in costume design will not. Portfolios are sometimes required of individuals intending to specialize in visually artistic aspects of theaters, such as costume or set design.
What Can I Do With a Degree From a Theater School?
Contrary to what some left-brainers may believe, a degree from a theater school is far from useless. Although the number of theaters has declined in recent years, there are still plenty of theater jobs.
Graduates from theater schools can often find employment in local community theaters as well as larger more popular theaters. It can be rather difficult to secure employment in some of the larger and world renowned theaters, such as those on Broadway, but with a little hard work and determination, anything is possible.
Theater school graduates can also usually find employment as teachers, either in public or private schools. Some theater graduates might also be able to pursue a career as private tutors for aspiring actors.
Do I Really Need a Degree From a Theater School?
I’m sure we’ve all heard the rags to riches stories about the Average Joe’s with no formal education that have – by some miracle – became big stars on stage. While these stories make for nice entertainment, they rarely happen.
In reality, most theaters will not usually hire any applicant that has not had the proper training and education in theater. While a degree in theater may not be absolutely necessary, it will look very impressive on a resume and could be the catalyst you need to start your theater career in this competitive industry.
Academy of Art University, founded in 1929 by artists for artists, is the nation's largest accredited, private art and design university with over 18,000 students. Having state-of-the-art campuses online and in San Francisco, the Academy guides students to creative professional futures.
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