UMW Theatre FAQ

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How many theatre majors are there? There are typically 40-50 theatre majors, and many more non-majors who actively participate in the department. You do not have to be a major to act in productions or to work backstage. How many shows are in a season? We generally do four mainstage shows per year (usually a musical, two non-musicals and a significant period piece). We also produce many more in Studio 115, our student-run black box theatre. What genres of shows do you do? There is a committee of faculty and students that selects the shows for each season. We try to make sure that over the course of their college career students are exposed to all genres of theatre, including Shakespeare, contemporary, classical, and musicals. What steps should I take to get involved in the department? Registering for Theatre Practicum (THEA 390) is a great way to get involved right away. The course offers one credit for your work either on a mainstage show (onstage, backstage, or in front of house) or in the Box Office or Management Office. Working on a show is a great way to meet people and get involved. Can I specialize in a particular area of theatre (e.g. performance or design)? Our theatre major is customizable based on a student’s area of interest. In addition to a core of courses that provide a broad foundation, students build a major with electives that are aligned with the specialty they wish to pursue. We offer courses in performance, design, history, literature, technology, theatre management, stage management, directing, and dance. Our program allows you to concentrate in the area of theatre in which you have the greatest interest, while giving you a solid foundation to support your post-college plans. Do I have to audition to be a theatre major? No. You can declare your major as soon as you have 28 credits, and can be involved as much as you want even before you declare. Can I audition for shows even if I’m not a major? Definitely. We encourage everyone to audition, regardless of major or class year. In fact, many active members of the department are not majors. Do you have to be a major to do a show in Studio 115? No. Anyone can propose a project or audition for a show in the Studio. If you are interested in submitting a script to be produced in the Studio, a committee of students accepts proposals at the beginning of each semester.

What are auditions like? Auditions vary according to the director and production. You should expect an audition to include readings from the script and, perhaps, an improvisational exercise. If the show is a musical, you should come prepared with 16 bars of an upbeat song. Scripts are always made available to you prior to auditions; you should read the play in order to prepare for reading in front of the director. In the rare instance that you will be asked to prepare a monologue, you will have plenty of notice. Can first-year students perform onstage? Anyone can audition and be cast in a show, regardless of class or major. The 24-Hour Play Festival in Studio 115 is held at the start of every semester and is great way to get involved right away. We encourage students to audition for productions in Klein Theatre and Studio 115 the first semester they arrive on campus. Can I minor in theatre? We do not offer a minor in theatre but we do offer minors in musical theatre and arts administration. Some theatre majors use these minors to formally specialize their studies in musical theatre and arts management. Our customizable major makes it very easy to double major or to pursue a license to teach. Are first year students involved with the productions? We encourage first year students to get involved as soon as possible. Faculty in the department are available to help you pursue opportunities of interest, whether onstage or backstage. If you express an interest in the program when you apply to UMW, you will get information before you arrive on campus about opening week activities, including auditions and interest meetings. Am I required to participate in all the shows? You are encouraged to participate as much as possible, but by no means are you required to work on all the shows. Your involvement should be based around your own schedule and interests. What is it like to be a theatre student at UMW? Our department holds to the philosophy that theatre is a collaborative art. We value the contributions of designers, technicians, actors, and theatre managers equally. We know that we depend on each other to create theatre for our audience. Our students find a supportive community in which they strengthen their skills under the guidance of a talented faculty. Are there scholarships available? While we do not offer department scholarships to first year students, we offer many awards to continuing students who are active in the production program. These merit-based scholarships vary in size and award criteria.

Are there any jobs in the Department? We have an extensive student employment program where we hire students to work in the box office, management office, scene shop, costume shop, and electrics shop. These positions are generally ten hours per week that are scheduled around your classes. These are significant leadership positions that many students pursue to gain pre-professional employment experience. Are there study abroad programs for theatre? The University’s Center for International Education is a great resource for exploring study abroad programs. Not only does the University sponsor a number of programs, The Center has information on available programs that other colleges and universities host around the world. The Department of Theatre & Dance sponsors a study abroad program in London, Plays in Performance, that combines reading dramatic literature with seeing plays and exploring the rich theatrical heritage of London. What if I am interested in teaching? You can pursue a license to teach PreK-12 in Theatre Arts or add theatre as an additional endorsement to the secondary English license. Some of our students pursue elementary education licensure in tandem with the theatre major. In order to acquire a teaching license in theatre, you must complete the theatre major, as well as a select number of additional courses in theatre and education as determined by the College of Education. You must be admitted to the College of Education in order to pursue teacher licensure. All pathways to becoming a teacher lead to a fifth year Master’s during which you conduct your graduate research and complete your student teaching. 540-654-1243

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