By MASON McCLAY – CENTO WRITER
“The entire process is creativity!” Professor of Dramatic Arts Dr. Anthony Haigh exclaimed, eyes filled with enthusiasm.
“What about those students who have been exposed to and love theatre, but are unsure of whether they should pursue it as a major?” Haigh said. “Let me read you something.”
Haigh proceeded to log on to his Facebook account and read a testimony sent from an alumna of the Dramatic Arts program, in which the alumna illustrated how grateful she was that her education in theatre has molded her into an exceptionally effective leader and speaker.
If you have attended any theatrical productions, such as last weekend’s performance of Macbeth or any Black Box performances held throughout the year, it becomes clear that the Dramatic Arts program attracts an eclectic group of students spanning several different majors. The kinds of people that are attracted to the dramatic arts can be reflected clearly by the fact that “the large number of individuals involved in productions aren’t majors or minors at all,” according to senior Martha Grace Burkey.
As a wide range of personalities participate in theatre, it is no surprise that Centre’s Dramatic Arts majors end up pursuing an equally diverse range of professional fields — from game designing, to marketing, to law.
Aside from the variety seen in the success of alumni majoring in Dramatic Arts, the one aspect of Centre’s theatre program that is more impressive than all others is the highly personalized teaching that students receive.
“Expect to be engaged. Expect to be committed,” Haigh said. “Expect to consider works from literary perspectives and a point of view applicable to our time.”
As Haigh continued to highlight the “highly personalized education of the Dramatic Arts program,” he could not help but proudly reveal his recently-held tea party for over 60 students, as well as their annual tradition of renting a lake house for a weekend.
The phenomena of engagement and commitment surely reflect the principles of Centre — but they are embedded within an immense amount of diligence and time-management capability.
“It is a graduation requirement for Dramatic Arts majors and minors to receive at least three production practicum credits during their time at Centre. Depending on the level of involvement a student has in a production, this could mean dedicating close to 15 hours a week or more, [such as] 3 hours of rehearsal a day [for] five days a week for two or three months per production outside of normal classwork,” Burkey said.
What seems to be so appealing about the program, moreover, is the highly praised and elegant fruits of the work that is put into learning to be a genuine thespian, including producing plays that seem flawless and creating unbreakable bonds with your fellow peers. This allure is something that nearly every Dramatic Arts student, from seniors to first-years, will agree upon.
“What I love about the theatre program at Centre is that it goes beyond being an acting program,” first-year Sean Fannin said. “It’s an all-encompassing experience.”
What may largely contribute to this “encompassing experience” are the requirements for the major. Along with practicums, every Dramatic Arts major is required to take a course on performance, technology and design, and dramatic history and literature courses.
Considering the sense of accomplishment as well as the feeling of community that is conceived from such a large but rewarding workload, it is no surprise that the Dramatic Arts Department embraces its interpersonal relationships with tea parties and weekends at the lake.