What can you do with a degree in Theatre?
Perhaps your answer is in our FAQ:

Please click a question to go to the respective answer.

"I like theatre but I don't know whether I want to do it professionally. I don't really know how talented I am, or if I would like the life, or what it would be like. Should I major in theatre arts?"

"What professions might I enter with a theatre arts major?"

"I also want the best possible theatre training. Is that available here at ODU?"

If I'm already committed to the theatre, would I be better off to go to a conservatory or a program that offers a BFA?

"How big is the Theatre Arts Program at ODU?"

"What courses will I take? Are other courses open to me?"

"Who teaches them-faculty members or graduate students?"

"How big are the classes?"

"How many productions are presented each year?"

"May I audition?"

"How are auditions conducted?"

"Do you produce musicals?"

"What are the theatres like?"

"Do you have any connections with the professional theatre?"

"Is financial aid available?"

"How do I get into the department?"

"Can I double major? "

"How do I get more information?"

"What else should I know?"

And finally:

"What kind of a career can I look forward to if I graduate with a degree in Theatre?"

Q: "I like theatre but I don't know if I want to do it professionally. I don't know how talented I am, or if I would like the life, or what it would be like. Should I major in theatre arts?"

A: Absolutely! The Theatre Arts Program is focused on the "whole artist" and works to prepare you for a wide variety of opportunities. Like most humanities majors, it's also meant to teach you about yourself and your world. Together with your General Education Requirements, a bachelor's degree in theatre arts from Old Dominion University prepares you to enter a wide variety of professions. You shouldn't worry about only being prepared to do's can be only the beginning!

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Q: What professions might I enter with a theatre arts major?

A: Well, the theatre is one profession, but many of our graduates go on to the wider range of the entertainment industry. You can find many of our graduates working in Film, Television, Theme Parks, or on Cruise Ships just to name a few but it doesn't stop there. Some are teachers in all levels of academic training, many use their training in the Theatre Arts in conjunction with their work in literature, history, music, or other disciplines. Theatre is a rich, vigorous, interdisciplinary, liberal arts major that can prepare you to excel in a wide range of other fields as well, especially those that place a premium on innovation, collaboration, and communication. These include law, medicine, business, and journalism. The skills you learn in the theatre are useful wherever you go, for they give you confidence in yourself and help you develop your own personal vision of the world.

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Q: I also want the best possible theatre training. Can I get it at ODU?

A: The Theatre Arts Program at Old Dominion University is a very unusual place: we focus on the development of the "whole artist" as it's defined within the broader range of the entertainment industry. Meaning....that we integrate all the elements of live and pre-recorded performance into our training programs. Although you can receive training in classical theatre at ODU you can also study and experience the world of filmmaking and television production. We cross-train our students so that you are better prepared to be successful regardless of the opportunites that open up for you.

We're a part of a large university with enormous resources, but the department is small enough that everyone receives personal attention they need to develop and grow. And with the addition of our new Monarch Theatre to open in 2011 we will continue to have excellent facilities to support our goals.

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Q: If I'm already committed to the theatre, would I be better off to go to a conservatory or enter a BFA program?

A: That depends on how you want to educate yourself over the next few years. Conservatories and BFA programs train students to enter the theatre profession directly. In these programs, most of your day will be taken up by rehearsals and theatre arts classes. At ODU, on the other hand, you'll also spend time on other things-literature, science, languages-subjects we consider important to a well-educated person. You need to consider whether you want this kind of education. We believe that for most students it is the best type of background because it offers young artists a great deal to draw on as they grow older, and ultimately prepares them in a deep way to enter the profession. For some students, however, a BFA/conservatory program is exactly what they want and need.

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Q: How big is the Theatre Arts Program at ODU?

A: Currently, there are approximately 60 undergraduate majors and many more theatre minors. Of course, many other students take our classes as well. The department is big enough to have something going on all the time, yet small enough so people really get to know one another.

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Q: What courses will I take?

A: Theatre majors take the following courses to complete their course of study for a general Bachelor of Arts in Theatre.

Theatre Arts Core Curriculum:
THEA 152 Acting I
THEA 225 Intro to Production Tech
THEA 230 Drama for Production
THEA 244 Intro Production Design
THEA 343 Theatre History I
THEA 344 Theatre History II
THEA 442 Principles of Directing
THEA 173+ Theatre Activities
THEA 174+ Theatre Activities
THEA 449W Script&Perf Analysis
THEA Activities 2 hours required
And at least 19 credit hours of Theatre or Dance electives

Of course there are other emphasis areas like Theatre Education, and Digital Filmmaking

Q: Are other courses open to me?

A: Yes, dozens. There are courses offered in design and technical production, Digital Filmmaking, Television Production, Screenwriting, Directing for the Camera, Makeup, Costuming, the list goes on and on. Plus each Theatre Arts Major must select a minor course of study from a broad range of choices available at the university.

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Q: Who teaches them-faculty members or graduate students?

A: All of our course work is taught by a member of the faculty. And the faculty are an exceptional group of people, all highly experienced professional artists or scholars, and all are dedicated to teaching. They continue to take artistic risks professionally, just as you take them in your studies. So they know how you're feeling. For more information, see our Faculty pages.

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Q: How big are the classes?

A: They're small. One is a large course, but even it has small section meetings; nearly all courses enroll between 12 and 25. You'll get as much individual attention as you want.

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Q: How many productions are presented each year?

A: Generally, we offer 4 to 6 fully mounted, faculty-led productions annually.

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Q: May I audition?

A: Yes. And every person who auditions has an equal chance of getting a role. A freshman may play a leading role as well as a graduate student from the English Department..any full-time student at ODU is eligible to audition. Sometimes faculty members, guest artists, or local actors appear as well, making for a wonderful mix of actors. No play is pre-cast. For more information, including schedules, check out our callboard for details and's located in the hallway backstage at University Theatre.

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Q: How are auditions conducted?

A: Auditions are announced through flyers, university annoucements and email. We usually have two general auditions (one each semester) but sometimes we have special auditions for guest productions.

Auditions are usually from selected readings from the scripts we intend to produce. However, occassionally we will request special prescribed audition pieces (vocal for example) for musicals or opera auditions. There are usually two evening general auditions followed by a single evening of call-backs. And casting is announced on the callboard as well as posted through email. You may audition for any show.

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Q: Do you produce musicals?

A: In recent years, we have produced a musical or opera (in collaboration with the Department of Music and the Dance Program) roughly every third year. Many of our other productions contain music, singing, and dancing so if you have a particular interest in musical theatre, dance or opera, you will find lots of opportunities in our current season.

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Q: What are the theatres like?

A: We have only one at the moment but we are opening a new "state of the art" flexible theatre space called the Monarch Theatre in the Spring of 2011. We have an intimate proscenium theatre which seats 275, and is fully equipped with the latest in technology for sound, media, lighting, and scenery. We are committed to the finest in design and tech and our theatres show it.

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Q: Do you have any connections with a professional theatre?

A: Absolutely! The Virginia Stage Company (LORT D) is located just a few miles away in downtown Norfolk, Virginia and is one of the finest regional theatres in the country. Our advanced students have regularily appeared on the VSC's mainstage as well as their touring children's theatre company. The Artistic Director, Christopher Hanna, is a member of our faculty and teaches some of our more advanced acting and directing classes. Additionally, we often share resources with the VSC as well as many of their staff serve as guest instructors with our training program.

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Q: Is financial aid available?

A: The University offers some financial assistance and you should look into that. The Theatre Arts Program offers an annual scholarship audition open to all theatre majors. Auditions are through prepared monologue or portfolio presentations.

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Q: How do I get into the department?

A: You simply make application to Old Dominion University through the registrar's office. Once you have successfully passed English 110 and 111 (part of your general education requirements that all students at ODU must complete) you can declare your intentions to be a Theatre Arts major with our Chief Departmental Advisor. And that's it! You don't have to audition for us. We welcome you to our theatre community!

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Q: How do I get more information?

A: Write to us, or come for a visit. Call the office, set up an appointment with one of the faculty, and we'll show you around. Or just come by. There are always people to talk with you. See our Contact page for more information.

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Q: Can I double major?

A: Yes. Many of our majors are also majoring in another subject (often within the College of Arts and Letters). A double major offers you a chance to learn about another subject and prepare for a second career; it also takes time and limits the number of elective classes you can take, so be prepared for that. It can be a good option for some students.

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Q: What else should I know?

A: Old Dominion University is one of the largest institutions in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Within it, almost like a school-within-a-school, is the Theatre Arts Program has become a small, closely knit community where people work and play together, share a rich social life, and partake in an education that grows out of the love they have for their work. The department is quite a special place, giving a home and identity to creative, imaginative students. We ask you to work hard -and we offer real rewards for your commitment. We hope you'll join us.

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Q: And finally, what kind of a career can I look forward to if I graduate with a degree in Theatre?

A: Here's some examples:

Jobs held by ODU Theatre Graduates
.. Television Producer-Los Angeles
.. Television Actress-Los Angeles
.. Off Broadway Stage Manager-New York
.. Broadway Sound Designer - New York
.. Director of Audience Development, Brooklyn Academy of Music - New York
...Director of Development, Joyce Theatre - New York
...Producer, Sirius Radio - New York
...AEA Stage Manager - New York
...Production Manager-Professional Scenic Studios - New York
...Director of Corporate Training - Virginia Beach, Virginia

Theatre Job Areas in Film,
Television, Theatre, and Dance:
.. Direction
.. Design
.. Technical Production
.. Arts Management
.. Performance (Actor, Dancer, Singer)
.. Education/Instruction
.. Theatre History
.. Theatre/Film Criticism
.. Writing (For the Stage and Screen)
Related Job Areas:
.. Talent Representation
.. Labor Relations
.. Producing (in all areas of the Entertainment Industry)
.. Advertising/Marketing
.. Radio/TV Announcing
.. Corporate Training & Development
.. Public Affairs
.. Entertainment Production
.. Public Relations



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Last updated September 2004