Don't Be a Theatre Major If...

Michaela Bulkley

It’s almost February, and high school seniors are on pace to graduate and go to college. Some of you may be the star of your last 6 high school productions and can’t wait to be a theatre major!

You may change your mind. You’re allowed to change your mind. Most college freshmen change their majors 4 times. I’m here to help with that process.

If any of the following apply to you, you might want to reconsider being a theatre major:

You don’t like school


I say that because a lot of people sign up to be theatre majors because they thought it would be all fun and games. It’s not. Restoration Comedies are not funny. You will have to read a lot of Shakespeare.

Also being a theatre major means you are constantly in a state of learning. Even after graduation actors continue to take acting lessons, tech majors go to seminars and workshops, it really never ends. Some students even go forward and eventually get an MFA. Technology and technique are both constantly changing, and if we want to stay relevant in the field, we have to keep refining our skills. If structured education is not for you, theatre is not the way to escape it.

You're a perfectionist

Perfectionists by nature have a fear of failure and disorganization.

Theatre is disorganized, and you fail more time that you don’t. You audition hundreds of times to get one role. You design six different sets to have the director like the first one the best. Production meetings normally include arguments and bad coffee. If you’re expecting Pinterest, you’re in the wrong major.

There are ways around it, as I am a perfectionist myself. Yes you did put diffusions in every single light on stage and the director changed his mind, but think of the workout you get from climbing all those ladders again! Sometimes you have to cry in the bathroom and move on, and make sure you don’t take it personally. I enjoy stage management and producing, because then I do get to use those cute charts I found on Pinterest, and I still get to be in theatre.

You’re not a team player

Theatre is the world’s largest group project. You have to work together and you have to pull your weight. If you hate group projects, don’t be a theatre major.

You expect fame and glamour

You will not be famous overnight. Even “Hamilton” took years and years of work. Also if you are in theatre because you want to be famous, you’re not in theatre for the right reason. Theatre is about the love of the art and the love of storytelling. Being in theatre because you want to be famous is like doing volunteer work just to put it on your resume. It’s fake. Theatre is when people are most authentic and vulnerable, and being fake will not get you very far.