The UNC Charlotte Department of Theatre

Our students are able to study a core curriculum
and then move off into focus areas – the areas of specialization that they’re particularly
interested in: acting, directing, dramaturgy, design, history, literature, and criticism. We have excellent faculty covering all of
those areas, so it really offers students a wide range of possibilities. We like to think of our students a cross-trained
artists, and by that, what we mean is that they’re really capable of going off into
a wide variety of different directions as they move into their careers. And that includes a career in theatre, but
it also could include a career in some other field that really relies on a skill that we
develop. There’s all sorts of things besides getting
up and doing a play or doing a film that you discover when you learn the craft. It builds empathy and it builds connections
in places that you may not look for it, so thinking outside of the box and creativity
all come from a lot of the skills that we use in theatre. We are very committed to the bachelor degree
in theatre education here because we believe so profoundly in the role of theatre as part
of secondary education. We know that doing theatre, practicing theatre,
learning about the various skill sets that go into making theatre is an incredibly helpful
way for a young brain to develop. What I love about UNC Charlotte is they’re
so many instructors and professors here that still work in the business. The expertise on the faculty is incredible. We have a really robust theatre faculty that
are all working professionals, and I think one of the things that our design and tech
students get is the opportunity to see working professionals bring their work into the classroom
and it also gives our students the chance to work with our faculty when they’re outside
in the profession working on shows. One of the joys is to be able to share my
professional work with my students. I always have at least an assistant, if not
a co-director, if not two co-directors with me, and it’s not always the case in an undergraduate
setting. But that’s what’s unique about us. I’ve been here three years now and every
single semester I’ve gotten to direct something, which has given me the opportunity to explore
the different types of theatre we do here and really just the different types of theatre
that are out there. We’re pushing the boundaries of different
types of performance. We’re doing physical theatre and commedia
work and devised theatre and traditional classic plays. There’s a big focus in the theatre department
on theatre for social change and theatre for social justice. We don’t approach the plays as if they are
simply remnants of the past. We’re very interested in what we can make
Shakespeare do in the present…make it speak to our concerns and our interests. The most tool for the actor is the body. In my beginning class I incorporate a level
of acrobatics, from floor tumbling to partner acrobatics to hand-balancing. You are an actor that is fully aware physically,
and that makes it marketable. They’re really learning a slightly different
mode of being, certainly of being on stage. Sammy and myself were cast in Romeo and Juliet,
which we performed in the Knight Theater in uptown Charlotte. It was a collaboration with the Charlotte
Symphony, Opera Carolina, and Charlotte Ballet. Walking out on stage, knowing that you are
that main act, with this huge incredible orchestra behind you and about 1000 people in the audience,
it was mind-blowing, and it was surreal for me, to be honest. This is the best decision I’ve ever made,
coming here, and I’m very thankful for all this department has given me.

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