Career Guide to JMU Majors:
Theatre

Career Guide to JMU Majors

The Major

Who Succeeds

Careers

Internships

Get the Facts


The Major

The Theatre major is a school within the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

The School of Theatre and Dance offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre.  A Theatre minor, as well as, Teacher Licensure in Theatre is also offered through the school.  The JMU Theatre Program combines the best attributes of a liberal arts education with professional training. It is directed specifically toward undergraduate students.

There are four basic emphasis areas in the theatre major: 1) Performance 2) Design and Theatre Technology 3) Theatre Studies and 4) Theatre Education. Students most interested in performance present an audition, those directed toward design and theatre technology present a portfolio for review, and those interested in theatre studies (including theatre history, dramaturgy, theatre criticism, playwriting, directing, and management) and theatre education (teacher licensure) present a portfolio of examples and records of their work. In addition to performance elements, students in theatre study theatre history, aesthetics, performance theory, and dramatic theory and literature. Students are also encouraged to participate in production activities and can gain credit through the theatre practicum courses. There are numerous opportunities to direct, design and perform.  The School of Theatre and Dance also offers majors in Dance and Musical Theatre, and a minor in Dance. 


Tell me more about this field of study

The Theatre major has a liberal arts orientation, but offers significant pre-professional training. The undergraduate focus means that undergraduates act the parts, construct the sets, design and direct in the Studio Theatre, and fulfill the responsibilities for running each production. Students are exposed to the following opportunities: appreciation of great works of theatre by viewing productions, training to work within a group toward a defined goal, and training for a professional career or training sufficient for graduate level work.


Tell me more about specialization

Students have many opportunities to be involved with productions because the School of Theatre and Dance sponsors several major productions a year in its main stage season, plus numerous productions in the Studio Theatre. The program also sponsors a summer children's theatre.

Common majors or minors that complement this major

Some common combinations are Art, Art History, Communication Studies, Creative Writing, Cultural Communications, English, Film Studies, History, Jazz Studies, Media Arts and Design, Modern Foreign Languages, Music, Nonprofit Studies, Special Education Non-Teaching, Psychology and Women Gender Studies.


Characteristics of Successful Students

A strong work ethic, an appreciation of the arts in general and their place in society, strong collaborative skills, a positive outlook and ability to promote themselves as artists and create employment opportunities for themselves.


Careers

Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.

  • Artistic Director
  • Arts Administrator
  • Arts Media Critic
  • Business Manager
  • Casting Director
  • Children’s Theatre Director
  • Booking Agent
  • Broadway Theatre Performer
  • Convention Director
  • Costume Designer
  • Cruise Director
  • Drama Coach
  • Drama Critic
  • Drama Teacher
  • Dress Designer
  • Film / TV Actor
  • Film Production Assistant
  • Fundraiser
  • Lighting Technician
  • Make-up Artist
  • Marketing Director
  • Movie Double
  • Movie Dubber
  • Museum Curator
  • Music Theatre Actor
  • Narrator
  • Playwright
  • Production Manager
  • Puppeteer
  • Radio TV Announcer
  • Stage Director
  • Stage Manager
  • Stage Set Designer
  • Storyteller
  • Stunt Person
  • Theatre Actor
  • Theatre Manager
  • Theatre Photographer
  • Theatrical Agent
  • Theme Park Entertainer
  • Tour Guide
  • Tour Manager
  • Wedding Consultant

Who employs graduates?

Advertising Firms, Amusement and Theme Parks, Children's Theatres, College/Universities, Commercial Theatres, Community Theatres, Cruise Ships, Industrial Shows, Media, Newspapers & Magazines, Not-for-Profit Theatres, Primary and Secondary Schools, Public Relations Firms, Radio Stations, Regional Theatres, Show Groups, Television & Motion Picture Studios, and Touring Companies.


Internships and Practicum Experiences

Practicums are required in the theatre curriculum through main stage and summer productions. Theatre faculty assist students in finding and procuring internships throughout the USA in the various areas of theatre.

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.


Get the Facts

What are JMU graduates doing with this major? 
Actors
Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
Producers and Directors
Art, Drama and Music Teachers, Postsecondary
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