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Students are naturally concerned about that date, not really all so far off, when they will enter the job market. And so are their families — who don’t look forward to paying those bills forever! And some students who are talented in theatre skills and are attracted to it shy away from it as a major, worrying that the theatre major won't open many doors to them.
Actually, as our own graduates testify, the program in theatre provides excellent preparation for a great variety of careers. First — and, of course, the first choice for many — is the life of the performer of one sort or another. Some of our recent grads have found success there, but it is, admittedly, a highly competitive life and one without much security. By contrast, those with interests in technical theatre are likely to be in demand, particularly if they've developed skills in design, lighting and sound. Still others find a satisfactory life in the business side of theatre, as box office managers, publicity directors, producers, agents and casting directors. And more opportunities are out there in the mass media of television and film — opportunities for which theatre majors may be especially well suited.
There are several professions, in addition, which have only recently taken off and continue in search of qualified job candidates. Among these:
Potential theatre majors should not neglect teaching as a career offering great satisfactions, whatever the chosen level. Increasingly, creating theatre for and with children is a practice even at the youngest grades, while secondary schools are always on the lookout for teachers who can direct. Many theatre majors choose to "double major," and, though the combinations are innumerable, one attractive possibility is to combine theatre with a secondary education specialty.
Last, we should point out that surveys suggest that the majority of college graduates end up in a career that has no direct application to their majors at all. Among last year’s graduates were three who never planned on careers in theatre and are now, respectively, employed in real estate sales, assigned to the Special Forces in the military, and enrolled in law school. These and others report that theatre provides exceptional preparation in demanding responsibility, cooperation, and the ability to think and act quickly. And virtually all theatre majors indicate that their greatest satisfaction comes in working on their favorite activity, even if it is only on the community theatre level.
Theatre is not merely a preparation for a career, it's fine preparation for life.
Our Career Development Center provides services, resources, and programs designed to help students and alumni to better understand the career development process, and to enhance their professional preparation and employability.
If you would like more information about the theatre program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact
Kim Hartshorn, Chairperson
Office: Myers Fine Arts 124
Phone: (518) 564-2478