Friday, May 17, 2013

What a Theatre Degree Can Do for You in the Real World:

It's that time of year again. People are graduating left and right, and confused 20 somethings are wandering around the streets wondering what the hell to do next. (Well, maybe not the engineering majors, but they picked a smart major from the get go. They were already ahead of us.) Some, I won't say who, graduated with what a lot of people might deem as a useless major such as Theatre: Tech/Design and Administration. Yes, that is a very specific major and no, it was not mine, and yes, I am a liar. Sorry.

But I wanted to quell some fears for people who may have graduated with a degree in theatre, and let you know it's going to be okay. Probably, you have no idea what to do with it, or have no idea what to do with it because you know you won't be paid to do theatre for a while, and you have student loans and bills, so you're going to need a day job. But the skills you have acquired from theatre will help you immensely. So this post is wonderfully titled:

What a Theatre Degree Can Do for You in the Real World:

1. Time Management- Having rehearsals, classes, and then  a job to pay for all those things makes a person really good at managing their time. They have mastered skills like; memorizing lines while also going to their history lecture, working their office job and also finishing a paper, and eating while also doing anything else.

2. Working as a Team- All of the directors, designers, managers, and actors have to come together and make a production something. It's not always easy working with all of these different types of people. At the beginning, none of them speak the same language, but quickly they learn...that the stage manager knows all and that everything will get done if they just talk to them.

3. Organizational Skills- It takes a lot of effort to put a production together. If one thing gets thrown off, the whole thing goes to hell. Theatre majors learn quickly to be organized because if they don't, they will most likely end up on stage naked while odd sound effects play in the background.

4. Public Speaking- That one is kind of obvious. Theatre, if nothing else, trains you to be able to speak in front of others. And that is not just for actors but for directors and stage managers as well. They must have a commanding voice that captures a room to make the actors actually shut up and pay attention for three seconds.

5. Creative Problem Solving- "Does it work? In Theory." It's a techie motto. Theatre has no big budget to get everything you need. Sometimes duct tape will have to get the job done regardless of structural integrity. As long as it lasts the amount we need it to, it's fine. With that ingenuity, problems of the workplace become as simple as using a paper clip.

6. Building Things- We build sets and make costumes. Give us a tool box and tell us what you want, and we can probably give it to you, but remember number 5, not everything will be made exactly how you expect it, especially Ikea furniture.

7. Endless Patience- Nothing helps at a day job, whether it be in customer service or in an office, more than patience. And theatre teaches you well. By the time you can make it through a production without trying to strangle someone, you know you have become completely zen.

8. Creating excuses on the spot - This is a skill from our improv friends. Ever have your boss walk in and ask what you're doing and you don't want to say reddit or tumblr? Improv helps you have answers ready to go, so you won't get fired. And most likely these excuses will be so creative, no one will ever question them. They'll think, no one could make that up. Improvisers can and will.

9. You can keep up at the office Christmas Parties without being "that guy"-  No one can survive a show without drinking, so theatre majors quickly learn how to handle their alcohol. You won't need to worry about being the one who is spoken about in hushed tones on the Monday after the holiday party. You'll actually be the only who is fully functioning on the Monday after the holiday party, and if you're lucky, the only one who remembers. Knowledge is power.

10. Not being tired after a 8 hour work day because you've worked four 12-15 hour days in a row because tech was behind and things needed to get done, so you gave up sleeping. - No matter how crazy your night was before, you can still give your job 110% because you'll never be as tired as you were during your last tech week.

Now these are just to name a few. There are many more lessons to be learned from being a theatre major. So new graduates, do not fret about what is ahead. You'll be fine. Just remember that there is always a show somewhere that can help ease the craziness that is the "real world"


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