The curtain has gone up on a new opportunity for all theatre-loving students at The College of New Jersey. The Department of Music has added the theatre minor to its offerings.
The theatre minor replaces the integrated performing arts minor and is open to all students who want an education in theatre while majoring in another program or department. Suzanne Hickman, associate professor of music and coordinator of vocal studies, and Jennifer Little, adjunct professor and director of TCNJ Lyric Theatre, serve as the program’s faculty coordinators.
“In these days of physical distancing, we know that art, storytelling, and theatre are key components to our lives,” says Little “After all, what would we do without novels, movies, television and theatre online these days?”
Students who minor in theatre can choose a path of study tailored to their own interests, exploring the disciplines of performance, dramatic literature, or production and design. The minor is designed to provide students with a balanced and diverse theatre experience. Course subjects range from dance and movement fundamentals and acting to Shakespeare and American drama.
Lyric Theatre is an academic course within the theatre minor that offers inclusive and diverse performance experiences to all students on campus, with each show exploring topical social issues. Recent productions include Jesus Christ Superstar and The Race. The ensemble will premiere a virtual performance of Trial By Jury on May 8.
TCNJ is also home to a vibrant theatre community that includes two student-run clubs: All College Theatre (ACT) and TCNJ Musical Theatre (TMT), and Shakespeare 70, a non-professional theater company.
“I am currently involved with Lyric Theatre and the reason I’ve stuck with it since my freshman fall semester is because of the growing community of people that we work with,” says Michael Schraft ’21, an English education major.
A minor in theatre can open the door to career possibilities, says Little.
“The theatre minor offers students an opportunity to continue studying and growing their passion for theatrical endeavors while pursuing a major in another field,”she says. “For education majors, many may be called upon to direct or coach musicals and drama clubs in their professional lives. For other fields, theatre teaches empathy, collaboration, creative problem-solving and innovation not found elsewhere. Hence why tech companies love to hire people with theatre experience.”
Amy Schroeder ’22, an education major, plans to add the theatre minor to her résumé.
“Having a theatre minor might help me get jobs at schools that don’t have a drama director or just want the extra experience to help teach English,” Schroeder says.
Current, accepted, and prospective students interested in learning more about the theatre minor are invited to attend a virtual Q&A on Thursday, May 7 at 7 p.m.
– Meaghan Resta