Butler theater majors feel that their classes prepare them well for a professional career. Photo courtesy of the Butler University website.
TYLER HUGHES | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduation is in a few weeks, and regardless of major, the future can be scary. The job market is especially difficult for those pursuing arts degrees, as there is steep competition for professional careers. Senior theatre majors face the same uncertainty, but for some, there is hope for the future.
Many theatre majors said they feel their four years spent in Butler’s theatre program prepared them not only for a career in theatre, but also gave them the option to gain skills needed for a variety of other jobs. In an industry where there is little job security, this is a necessity.
The program teaches not only acting but also technical skills like lighting, stage design, costume design and directing. It differs from conservatory schools that focus primarily on acting and its craft.
“The program really creates a well-rounded theatre artist that can do more than just act, direct or sew,” said Haley Loquercio, a senior theatre and human communication and organizational leadership major.
While other theatre majors are pursuing careers on the stage or in front of the camera, Loquercio is pursuing a different route. She is attending Penn State law school in the fall.
“My dad’s a police officer in Chicago, so I’ve always been interested in that aspect. And I’ve also been in theatre since I was eight,” Loquercio said. “If you can get an audience to laugh and cry with you on stage and you prepare your case and facts, you can present a case to vote in your favor.”
Olivia Anton, a senior theatre major, is going abroad after graduation on a six week trip to Russia with fellow undergraduate theatre students.
“I’ve never been out of the country,” Anton said. “After studying four years of European based theatre, to go to where that originated is really cool.”
After traveling, Anton said she plans to go back to her native Chicago to get involved in the theatre scene there, rather than moving to New York or Los Angeles. She plans to act in a museum setting as well as in a traditional theatre.
“There is a lot of really cool theatre happening there, like theatre for a social cause and theatre for social justice, which is really where my heart is,” she said.
Anton has friends at other theatre programs. She said she believes she is better prepared for the job market due to her development as a well-rounded theatre artist.
“I see myself more marketable than my other friends who chose more performance-based paths,” Anton said. “You get a taste of practical knowledge as well as a really great base for any kind of acting for what you want to be doing.”
Lexi Rohrer, a senior theatre and Spanish major, does not have immediate plans after graduation. She is currently looking for internships and apprenticeships at theatres.
In the near future, Rohrer said she plans to go to Spain to be involved in their television industry.
The main focus right now is to work on developing connections in the theatre world.
“It’s pretty difficult to establish yourself as a theatre artist in any community,” Rohrer said. “Most of the time you have to have a second job until you get established. I’ve known that since before coming to Butler because I’ve been so heavily involved in theatre.”
Rohrer credits her capstone class for helping develop confidence in her post-graduation job search.
“I feel like I have a good resume that I can send out as well as a few monologues for audition purposes,” she said.
Anton said she believes any theatre major can find their place in the program.
“We have a really broad spectrum so anybody that’s interested in any field of theatre can latch onto that and kind of find your way through the program,” Anton said.
Because the theatre program is in the Jordan College of Arts, which also houses the dance and music departments, there is a question of where the theatre department fits in.
“I think the focus is more towards other things,” Rohrer said, referring to the music and dance programs. “Everybody knows when The Nutcracker is happening and no one knows when “The Man Who” is happening.”
Loquercio said she does not think there is any special treatment for other departments but agrees that show scheduling creates rumors of preferential treatment.
“I think all of the students are really supportive of each other, but the way JCA functions is not conducive to that environment,” Loquercio said. “Our main stage production ‘The Man Who’ is the same weekend as ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ so why are the shows scheduled at the same time?”
Rehearsal space scheduling has also been main concern for the department especially, for Rohrer. Unlike dance and music majors, she has limited places to practice independently and after-hours.
“We’re not allowed to rent out the dance studios,” Rohrer said. “It’s especially hard for practicing for a stage movement class. We had to go to the annex to practice.”
Despite these challenges, theatre students said they still feel as prepared as they can be when trying to break into the professional theatre world. Anton said she feels grateful for her well-rounded education.
“It’s really exciting knowing that I have a solid education here and I will be going into the job market as someone who is very marketable,” Anton said.
The theatre department’s mainstage production, “The Man Who” will be performed this weekend and next weekend in the Lily Hall Studio Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at the Butler Arts Center website or at the box office in Clowes Hall.