Welcome to the theatre

The lights dim, your eyes slowly adjust to the dark, people shuffle in front of you, the stage illuminates and the show begins. You are at the theatre! Campbell has offered theatre as a major for only 10 years, but it has already become a distinctive program. The main goal of the Theatre Arts Department is to give students a well-rounded theatre education and prepare them for graduate school or an acting job. “The theatre here at Campbell University is not considered commercial or used to make money,” said Bert Wallace, assistant professor of theatre. “We want to take a liberal arts approach. Every student has to take the basic courses including acting and directing, and then focus on what they want to pursue as a senior.” Wallace went on to explain that skills you learn in the theatre can be carried into any profession. “In a play the students learn to present to a large audience and work with a group,” said Wallace. Keith Hight, technical director, agreed and said, “We want the students to be successful in any field they choose. As a theatre major they learn creativity, how to have high standards and how to meet deadlines.” The students are the main focus when the plays are selected for the year. The plays need to offer a variety of experience for the young thespians. The theatre department has put on comedies, modern plays, dramas and musicals. A musical is put on in the fall because the music majors’ schedule allows them to participate. “Musicals are very popular,” said Georgia Martin, assistant professor of theatre. “People are still talking about Suessical the Musical.” Unlike larger schools, theatre majors are guaranteed a lot of stage time which is helpful to fill up their resume and gain experience for their future. “At Campbell you can get more experience faster,” said Hight. “A student can gain hands on practical experience starting as a freshman and see if they are cut out for this business.” A person doesn’t have to be a theatre major to try out their acting skills. Any student interested in acting can try out for a play. Theatre majors must take a costume construction class in which they learn the basics of costume design. The theatre department has its own costume shop with sewing machines, but also rents some of their costumes from Tisa Duke in Raleigh. The students are also required to take a stage make-up class where they learn basic makeup and some special effects makeup. “We usually have to age our students for the characters they play,” said Wallace. “The women help the guys out with eyeliner because the guys are afraid they’ll poke their eyes out.” Although an internship is not required, a majority of students are involved in summer theatre to gain more experience. “Summer stock is important because it provides a different environment to the student,” said Hight. “It is more of a time crunch and it separates those who want to work in the business from those who want to be in theatre as a hobby.” The theatre program has two tracts: theatre and drama/Christian ministries. There is an interest in a certification program for students to teach theatre in high school, but the program is not available yet. There have been many successful alumni but one in particular stood out in Martin’s mind. “Justin T. Anderson was a theatre management major who moved to Atlanta, Ga.” said Martin. “After getting a job with a theatre he wanted to pursue teaching. He found a job at Woodland High School in Cartersville, Ga. teaching theatre. He took their near to nothing program and worked with it and ended up winning the Georgia High School theatre competition.” For more information about the Theatre Department contact Bert Wallace at (910) 893-9809 or email at [email protected]/* */.Photo Copy: Campbell University’s theatre students learn how to apply their own makeup.

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