By Laura Raccuglia
The theatre department at DeSales is one of the most unique and interesting programs in which to participate. Endless opportunities are available, not only for the theatre majors, but for all students. There are countless shows and performances throughout the year, and students look forward to showing off all that they have prepared, whether it be on or off the stage, on camera, or behind the scenes.
Some words to describe a typical day in the life of a DeSales theatre student would be active, challenging, demanding, exciting, full, fun, humbling, rewarding, rigorous and strenuous. When looking at the amount of work that is put into the craft of theatre, it stands to reason that many skills are required make it all happen.
DeSales’ philosophy on how to train its theatre students are not only in theatre as an art form, but on how to be professional in the many aspects of theatre as a major entertainment industry and business. DeSales’ theatre students are trained to “perform” well on stage, but more importantly, to perform well when faced with the many challenges our world may throw their way.
As a DeSales theatre student, a Liberal Arts curriculum is the underlying program for the major course of study, but there are many additional obligations, as well. A theatre arts major can expect to have his or her schedule packed with mandatory time responsibilities beyond class.
For example, Theatre Crafts Laboratory requires that all students help prepare for the upcoming productions in some way. In this class, students learn terminology, how to navigate all areas of the theatre facility, to use certain tools in the scenic and costume shops and learn the safety practices when working in these shops. Through this, the students will be able to find other interests involved with the theatre and work with their colleagues.
In addition to the Theatre Crafts Laboratory, the freshmen students are required to take a Fundamentals of Acting course. For this class, it is expected that the students audition for the student directed scenes, which are put on by other classes such as the TV/film, and the Fundamentals of Directing courses.
Theatre students are not the only ones eligible to audition for their fellow students’ productions, anyone can. MJ Bird, senior musical theatre major, encouraged all new students to “not be afraid of auditioning for [student directed scenes], because they are a great thing to put on your resume.”
It is strongly encouraged that all theatre students audition for each production so that they are considered in the casting process. All of the staff in the DeSales theatre department, as stated in the DeSales Theatre Department Handbook, values students being on top of all of their studies so that they can be considered for the shows for which they are auditioning and so that they can make the most out of their college experience.
As we all know, DeSales values a thorough education for its students, and theatre students are no exception. Theatre students not only have a lot of responsibilities to their major, but they also have to focus on their liberal arts studies, time management, health and personal needs.
Managing all these things around the theatre calendar, which relies on the students being there, means not being able to go home on some breaks, which are otherwise scheduled for the general student body.
Nicole Ballistrere, a freshman acting/directing major said that “I am most looking forward to making new friends and being independent.” She then further explained that she is excited to “be able to make my own decisions and to venture out into the world.”
When the freshman come in for the first time, most are excited, and others are scared. The transition from high school to college is tough, but the upperclassmen make it so much fun for them from orientation to auditions and all the events that all the theatre students are invited to attend. Being in the department of theatre is an exciting experience, and it is a community in which many are very grateful to be a part and have their role.