I do declare!
Much to the delight of theatre buffs all over campus, a new major in Theatre Arts was approved this year, marking the first time that students can declare performing arts as their primary area of study.
Associate Professor Kathleen Sills, Assistant Professor Richard J. Piatt, O.S.A, and Director of Arts Programming, Peter Waldron, were the force du jour behind the creation of this new major.
This 42-credit major features courses in theatre history, acting, and performance management, as well as something a bit avant-garde—a seat on the board of Merrimack’s theatre program. Working alongside faculty and Merrimack community members, students help select theatre productions, market productions both on- and off-campus, and produce the theatre season. By the time they graduate, students will have accumulated a wealth of unique, real-world experience that is valued by potential employers and graduate schools.
Professor Sills discussed the genesis of the new offering, saying “We wanted to create a major that was different. After conducting extensive research, we came up with a fairly unique theatre major. On top of that, we wanted to make it relatively easy for students to double major in theatre and another discipline. We find that students are looking for diverse skills and options.”
Understanding that the theatre provides skills that extend well beyond the stage, Father Piatt added “This new major is particularly appealing to students who want to double major, say in history, business, or political science and theatre. Skills learned through theatre—in particular, learning creatively and working cooperatively—augment what you learn in other areas.”
The debut production for Merrimack’s Theatre Arts majors took place in October—a modern-day interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Featuring video and multimedia effects, this innovative production received rave reviews, including high marks from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
In response to growing student interest, Merrimack College has a new interdisciplinary film studies minor for those who love the big screen.
“It’s a minor that includes film history, film literature, film appreciation and film production,” said communication arts and sciences associate professor Jacob S. Turner.