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Studies & Degrees in Theatre, Performing Arts




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Theatre, Performing Arts Study Programs

Level: Undergraduate Associate     Location: Madrid
Level: Undergraduate Bachelors     Location: Madrid
Level: Undergraduate Bachelors     Location: Madrid
Level: Undergraduate Bachelors     Location: Villanueva de la Cañada

There is always a tendency for man to push the envelope, to try his capacities and limits. And that could be the reason why there is what we now know as Theatre and Performing Arts. When people bested nature and no longer saw it as a threat, idleness ensued. So what did they do? They told stories. Theatre and performing arts started out as a simple little thing called storytelling. People gathered during the night around campfires in order to listen to someone tell about his/her escapades and adventures during the day. He or she used his body, his/her voice and made different kinds of facial expressions in order for the storytelling be a compelling and interesting show. But now, performing arts is not just a pastime; for some, it is their source of income and their joy. Not only that but the performing arts is now considered as a heavyweight in the art world; one of the main branches being Theater.

Theatre came from the Greek word theatron, meaning “the seeing place”. This is where people gathered in order to mingle, hear about the latest news (or gossip) and of course, to be entertained. Basically, the theatre combines different art forms like music and dance into a single epic art form. So it is quite impossible for someone back in the day to NOT like the theatre because all the major performing arts were combined into one. So really, what makes up theatre and performing arts? Arguably speaking, some people consider anything as theatre as long as there is an audience and someone (or even something) is on stage. The theatre is mainly for entertainment purposes, with people acting out different stories written by playwrights, and the most famous of which was Shakespeare.

Theatre and Performing arts evolved at the same rate as new technological advancements came out. When electricity became widely used, the people involved in theatre and performing arts made use of it. Candles were no longer the only source of illumination. Some props that were impossible to make were now being made.

Theatre and performing arts is a very challenging field because even though you have to rely heavily on yourself, you must rely on others as well. A production will only come through if the director, producer, actors, designers, technicians and so on get along with each other – or at the very least, are civil towards each other. So despite the public’s opinion about actors and actresses (or whatever/whomever it is on stage) being the most important part of a production or play, the success doesn’t depend solely on their performance but on how the people backstage deliver as well. If the props and costumes are not good, then the whole thing isn’t believable. If the director doesn’t really know how to direct, then he/she could have the best actors on hand but still produce a play that will be criticized heavily. The simplicity and complexity of theatre and performing arts is what makes it very exciting.

Job positions for Theatre, Performing Arts:

Theatre Director

A Theatre Director, simply put, is the one responsible for the overall result of the production of a play. He or she is in charge of leading the staff – including the actors, designers, and technicians – and making sure that everything is in place. A theatre director’s job is tough but it sure has its benefits. First, their job is not boring and day to day activities change. Next, their thirst for creativity is usually quenched since they usually dabble in all the aspects of a play, from the creative down to the technical. Lastly, they are considered as visionaries in their field. They have the artistic license to change what goes on in a play.

But not all artistic people can become theatre directors. One must possess a few important qualities. First of all, a would-be theatre director must have excellent people skills. He/she should be able to communicate well in order to be able to express their ideas and opinions properly. Another important skill that theatre directors must possess is great management skills. In essence, a director is a manager, overseeing everything and everyone involved, from the actors to the lighting equipments. Other important characteristics include perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm, and the ability to know when to take risks. Many successful plays are the result of the combination of these things. But of course, innovation is very important. Otherwise, if a theatre director just “re-heats” a cookie cutter kind of story and claims it as his own, then the play wouldn’t be worth watching.

So what does it take to be a director? First of all, one must have a degree in English (or Literature), Theatre, Performing Arts or Music – actually, any degree involving theatre, directing or humanities. But there are cases of directors who succeeded in their field because of sheer wit, talent and luck alone – no educational background in anything related to theatre or directing. But a good background is always preferred by production and theatre companies. A good candidate shows good time management skills, excellent research capabilities; a tendency to make up innovative solutions and ideas and of course, good negotiation skills.

Most theatre directors today work freelance and rely on word of mouth in order to land jobs. That’s why it is important for aspiring theatre directors to meet with already established directors. Better yet, try working for them. Most directors start out as assistant directors in order to gain more experience and later on become full-fledged directors in their own right. In order for one to become fully established, at least ten years of good output and reputation is required. But of course there are those who skip a few years and become reputable despite their lack of age.

A theatre director’s salary is like that to an actor’s – sometimes high, sometimes none but always negotiable. The lack of source of income in some months could be supplemented by making use of talents in other jobs like setting up workshops, teaching in schools, scriptwriting and so on.

Actor/Actress

The people who study theatre and performing arts mostly want to become professional actors and actresses. Contrary to what some people may think, Hollywood isn’t the only place where actors and actresses are needed. Actors are needed in radio, film, advertisements, and independent film productions and so on. They are also needed in theme parks, cabarets and even in clubs. But even though there is a demand, the competition is tough and one must really persevere in order to succeed in the business. Although some people who really want to act study in schools, there are those people who stumble into acting accidentally. But there is a big advantage for those who studied acting because those who didn’t will have to learn about acting as they go along, whereas those who studied need only to put into practice all that they’ve learned so far in order to hone their craft.

So what does it take to be an actor? First of all, one must persevere. Although acting is a very rewarding job, one must understand that acting jobs don’t come all year round. There will be times when an actor will have long months ahead of him without a job while on some days, he/she will have acting jobs here and there. Another reality that would-be actors face is that they will struggle if they really want to be well-known and highly paid actors. Although there are lucky people who “stumbled” upon acting and succeeded, the reality is that when they were discovered, from that day onwards, they did their best and improved their performance every single time. Another important quality for an actor to have is “star quality”. What this means is that they should be able to connect with their audience and win their seal of approval. Also, they must be able to adapt in different environments, work under pressure and most importantly, deal with different kinds of people. An added bonus if they have other kinds of talents as well beside from acting, like, dancing and singing.

Many want to be in the business but sadly, only few make it to the top. Some actors only gain popularity and the attention they deserve when they’ve been in the business for a long time, while some get attention even if they are still young. The good thing about actors is they are no longer tied to just acting on stage or in front of a camera. They are now needed in order to make audio books, do voiceovers for animated films, TV shows and even in ads on both radio and TV. And when they’ve become experienced and well-known in their field, they can teach a new generation of actors and actresses in schools. Stars who are highly successful usually give off the impression that actors earn a lot, which is not true. Not everyone has high wages. But acting in itself is a very rewarding career choice, so, maybe the earnings won’t really matter in the end.

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