Theatre & Dance Advising Guide
The Department of Theatre & Dance
What is Theatre & Dance?
Theatre and Dance are both collaborative art forms that use live performers to present the human experience, both real and imagined, before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. These performing arts also form the basis for modern film and television.
Career Opportunities in Theatre & Dance
Persons who graduate with a degree in theatre are found in just about all walks of life. Most people might assume that the theatre profession is limited to actors who specialize in performing on stage, on television, or in films. The truth is, there are many, many professional positions that involve theatre expertise, including designers, stage managers, technicians, audience education specialists, electricians, box office managers, marketing and development personnel, and arts administrators. As well, these positions are not just found in regional, summer stock, and other theatre venues, people with expertise in theatre are sought after in theme parks, museums, schools and educational institutions, digital media companies, and throughout the entertainment industry.
Students in theatre learn to meet deadlines, to work with diverse groups of people toward a common goal, to analyze situations, to identify alternatives and then make the best choices, to accept responsibility for decisions, to communicate facts and feelings effectively, to understand others, and to think on their feet. Many graduates use the skills learned in the major to go into other areas, such as the law, education, and politics.
Salary Trends in Theatre & Dance
Theatre and Dance are both very competitive fields, and compensation rates range from entry-level minimum wage positions, to Hollywood star salaries that can be counted in the millions.
Unlike more vocationally-oriented majors, such as majors in business, engineering, or the health professions, A&S majors tend to study a greater range of topics outside of their immediate major area. This greater breadth provides an interdisciplinary perspective that complements the more linear education in the student’s major area.
As a result, A&S are majors compatible with a wide-range of career options. A large 2012 survey of employers found that 81% of employers will consider any degree, so most employers do not require a specific degree. So A&S majors typically find post-graduate employment at rates comparable to more vocationally-specific degrees, Furthermore, longitudinal studies which have followed college graduates over time have shown that Arts and Sciences graduates' rates of salary growth often exceed those of more vocationally-specific majors. For example, a 2010 longitudinal survey of college majors after graduation found that:
“Occupationally specific degrees are beneficial at the point of entry into the labor market but have the lowest growth in occupational status over time. Students earning credentials focusing on general skills, in contrast, begin in jobs with low occupational status but subsequently report the greatest growth.”
Another longitudinal study concluded that:
"Employment across educational fields is almost identical for individuals aged 35-44, and beyond age 45, humanities graduates actually have higher rates of employment than those in other fields. After age 45, humanities and social science majors’ salaries overtake those of counterparts in other fields."
Finally, A&S majors have on average the highest rates of increase from starting to mid-career salary, with Math, Philosophy, International Studies, Physics, Political Science, Chemistry, and Journalism all scoring in the top 10 among all majors in rate of salary growth to mid-career.
High School Preparation
In addition to any theatre or dance courses offered in high school, potential majors with a broad range of liberal study courses (e.g. English, history, psychology, etc.) will be well-suited for entry to college and university theatre programs.
How to Major in Theatre & Dance
Though it is possible to change one’s major after starting university, the most efficient path for a potential major includes declaring their Theatre and Dance major upon enrolling in university. Advisors will help incoming students identify and register for the appropriate courses from their first semester onward.
Theatre & Dance Highlights
Students have opportunities to hone their communication skills and learn the theories behind communication success. Learning how to communicate well in various situations can be fascinating.
Study Abroad Opportunities
Include a bi-annual study abroad offering, involving summer study in places such as London, Ireland, Scotland, etc.
Following an academic plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years.
To see a sample academic plan for this major, please click here. Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you.
For additional degree information, visit the undergraduate bulletin.
For More Information
For more information on this program, contact Theatre & Dance Department Chair, Dr. Lars Tatom, at (251) 460-6305, or by email at: email@example.com.
You can find us on campus at:
The Department of Theatre & Dance
Laidlaw Performing Arts Center
5751 USA Drive S.
Mobile, AL 36688