Urinetown, The Musical, 2014
photo courtesy of Teresa L. Steward Photography
Seniors Christa Garcia, Colleen Greenwell, and Christine Hoffman learn management skills at the Liverpool Intl. Theatre Festival, 2002.
Acting students Scott Lange & Sean Mogridge also learn poroduction management skills backstage on GVSU shows.
Students interested in preparing for careers in theatre management at GVSU develop their skills not within a separate major program, but as part of their major in Theatre Arts, which is housed in the School of Communications. With the help of their Theatre advisor, they devise a four-year study plan that typically consists of one-third general education and liberal arts courses, one-third Theatre and production studies, and one-third Communications and management skills.
On- and off-campus internships and independent studies projects are a vital part of theatre management preparation, as well as the development of arts appreciation and strong writing and interpersonal communications skills.
Related coursework in the School of Communications is to some extent required and always desirable as a part of theatre management training. In addition to the required courses in oral communication and concepts, the study plans of management students should also include introductory-level coursework in public relations, advertising, and journalism. Outside of the School of Communications, management students should enhance their training with coursework in accounting, business management, music, and art.
GVSU's program is designed to introduce undergraduate students to this fast-growing field. It accomplishes this by laying a solid groundwork of coursework and hands-on experience that equips students to specialize at the graduate level. Typically, such special postgraduate emphases include advertising and publicity writing for arts events, developing audiences, facilitating the work of creative artists, planning and scheduling production programs, developing funding strategies, and other areas.
A vital part of arts management students' training at GVSU during their first year in the program is the applied work they'll do with GVSU Theatre's wide range of events. Management students will normally occupy one- or two-semester posts as house managers, box office assistants, events managers, classroom and stage director's assistants, etc. These assignments generate graded course credits for students' programs while familiarizing them with the range and complexity of theatre and arts activities. Additionally, such experience prepares students for significant later assignments in internships and senior projects with local community and professional theatres.
Students desiring to pursue this track of studies should communicate this to their Theatre advisor at the time they make their decision, either as entering freshmen or later. There are no special financial aid programs set up for theatre management students, but those who are assigned to certain theatre operations are often compensated in the form of work-study pay or paid internships. Of course, all management students are also eligible as Theatre majors for regular Theatre and university-wide scholarships and financial aid.
For more information on theatre management in GVSU's Theatre Arts program, click on the Theatre homepage link entitled "GVSU Theatre Management FAQ" (frequently-asked questions).