Doing theater doesn't just mean learning how to act and perform onstage. This creative art requires a host of skills working together. All of these abilities will lead you to excel in theater and nearly every other part of life. Here are some insights into the essential elements you will learn through the Theater Department — whether you're formally taking classes or just participating in shows.
I use something that I learned in the Theater program at least once a day. It might be mediation, problem solving, collaboration. It could be a breathing exercise, a method for reading a script, or a skill for breath control.
— Brooke Jennett '16
As you might expect, one primary skill theater will teach you is the ability to communicate effectively and with your entire body. Theater is all about telling stories. This puts a focus on the voice and requires good enunciation and projection. Developing that strong voice will be valuable in any kind of public speaking — whether you're delivering a monologue onstage or giving a presentation in a class. As well as developing the voice, theater also helps to create a sense of presence through your whole body.
One of the core goals of Transylvania University is teaching students how to think critically. Through theater, you learn how to apply this kind of critical thinking in creative problem solving. Each show and aspect of theater provides unique challenges without straightforward answers. The Transy Theater Department is always excited to approach these challenges in imaginative ways that might not have been considered before. This ability to think critically and creatively makes you more flexible at meeting the challenges you face. This makes you more exciting as an artist and a human being.
Theater is never accomplished by just one person. Instead, there is a team of creative individuals who must meld all of their visions to create a cohesive product. This ability to work with a group is vital in every aspect of life. You need to be able to support the other members of your team while pushing each other to be better. To work effectively as part of a group, you also have to develop a strong work ethic and independent drive of your own. As a department in a smaller university, Transy Theater allows students to work in and study different sides of theater. Rarely will you see a student here who is just an actor or just a director. Instead, we cultivate an environment where actors work on costumes, and directors design sound, and stage managers help build set. You will develop abilities doing just about anything, and you'll be most successful if you can work with others.
This kind of atmosphere will also help you build leadership skills. You'll have opportunities to tackle big responsibilities — through classes and productions. With the Transy Theater Mentorship Program, you get the chance to take on major responsibilities for different productions such as directing, set designing, producing, or stage managing. Though you'll receive guidance and support from faculty and older students, these positions are ultimately your own. This gives you a chance to apply many of these other skills and to practice collaborating with a team and using creative problem solving on a larger scale.
Theater will also improve the way you to respond to feedback, improve your self-discipline, and improve your ability to adhere to deadlines — no matter what, the curtain is going to rise at a certain time.
Above all, theater will improve your sense of confidence. Developing and performing all of these skills will make you much more capable of tackling any challenge that comes your way, no matter what aspect of theater you pursue.