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Theatre Teacher Education

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

The Theatre Teacher Education sequence at Illinois State University is dedicated to preparing highly qualified artists/teachers to meet the challenges of teaching in the secondary school system.

Illinois State University is recognized nationally as the second largest producer of teachers among institutions certified by the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. Nearly one of every seven teachers in Illinois public school classrooms holds a degree from Illinois State.

Why Study Theatre Teacher Education?

As a Theatre Teacher Education student, you will receive a solid foundation of basic skills in traditional theatre courses, such as acting, directing, design, theatre history, and dramatic literature. At the same time, you will follow a course of instruction specifically focused on teaching theatre at the secondary level. Your teaching skills will be enhanced by professional studies classes taught through the College of Education.

The strength of our Theatre Teacher Education sequence lies partly in the variety of clinical experiences you will experience while working in a high school setting. These include the opportunity to assist master teachers in extracurricular speech and theatre activities; presenting workshops; and demonstrating teaching lessons in the classroom. The culminating experience for Theatre Teacher Education students comes when you take complete responsibility for a fully mounted theatrical production at a local high school.

During your last year at Illinois State University, you will teach in a high school classroom for 10 weeks under the supervision of a master teacher.

Related Majors

Being Successful in the Field

  • Network: Talk with people working in the field to find out about jobs and opportunities.
  • Read newspapers and periodicals related to the theater to keep up with new developments. Read the "trades"--magazines and newspapers that report events in the entertainment industry. Read the "Theater" section of daily newspapers to find out about upcoming productions.
  • Get your foot in the door and get involved with productions in any way you can. Be prepared to do various tasks assigned by stage managers or producers.
  • Be prepared to move to a metropolitan area where more opportunities exist.
  • Theater helps students develop verbal and written communication, public speaking, and teamwork skills. These transferable skills are valued by many types of employers.
  • Volunteer with fundraising efforts for the arts.
  • Complete an internship or an apprenticeship with a local theater. Participate in summer stock.
  • Be aware of scams. Check out the legitimacy of agencies and companies before paying any fees.
  • Join professional groups as an opportunity to make contacts.
  • A career in the arts takes patience, dedication, and luck! Have a back-up plan.
  • Be aware that the unemployment rate for actors hovers around 85%. Develop skills that qualify you for other jobs while you wait for opportunities in acting. Consider pairing theater with another career interest or major to open up more job opportunities.
  • There are many ways to be involved in the theater while pursuing other career options.

Related Fields

Performing

Employers

  • Community theaters
  • Regional theaters
  • Commercial theaters
  • Summer stock theaters
  • Dinner theaters
  • Children's theaters
  • University theater groups
  • Touring companies
  • Industrial shows
  • Show groups
  • Amusement and theme parks
  • Television/film studios
  • Radio stations

Strategies

  • Participate in acting workshops, courses, and seminars to get advice and experience and to make contacts with others in the field.
  • Join unions or actors' guilds to stay abreast of opportunities and developments in the field. Get as much acting experience as possible.
  • Perform in school productions, community theater, summer stock, etc. to hone acting skills.
  • Prepare a professional resume that lists your acting experience.
  • Have your resume attached to or printed on the reverse side of an 8" x 10" photograph of yourself.
  • Be prepared to make the rounds.
  • Distribute your resume to numerous agencies and offices.
  • Follow up with several personal visits.
  • Be aware that more opportunities exist in large cities such as New York and Los Angeles.
  • Learn about the entertainment industry as a whole: Take courses on entertainment law, business, management, etc.
  • An extensive network of contacts is essential.
  • Get to know people working in your field and related areas.

Directing

  • Direction
  • Technical Direction
  • Casting
  • Stage Management
  • Support Staff

Employers

  • Theaters
  • Television/film studios

Strategies

  • Participate in the Director's Guild Training Program.
  • Develop leadership skillsthrough participation in campus and community organizations.
  • Experience with fund-raising is important.
  • Volunteer to do this with local theaters and arts councils.
  • Learn what types of permits and insurance are needed to film or perform in certain areas.
  • Volunteer with directors in local theaters to become familiar with the environment.
  • Serving as an assistant is a great way to get started in this area.
  • Gain directing experience by participating in college productions.

Behind the Scenes

  • Set Design/Construction
  • Property Design
  • Lighting Design
  • Sound Design
  • Costume Design
  • Camera Operation
  • Hair/Make-up
  • Special Effects
  • Wardrobe
  • Prop Management
  • Broadcast Technology
  • Riggers
  • Electricians

Employers

  • Community theaters
  • Regional theaters
  • Commercial theaters
  • Summer stock theaters
  • Dinner theaters
  • Children's theaters
  • University theater groups
  • Touring companies
  • Industrial shows
  • Show groups
  • Amusement and theme parks
  • Television/film studios
  • Radio stations

Strategies

  • Learn to work well in a team.
  • Develop a sense of artistry and creativity.
  • Become involved in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
  • This organization can give you information about becoming an apprentice as well as help you make valuable contacts.
  • Get experience. Offer your services to school and local theaters.
  • Read industry magazines and books to learn about your area.
  • For sound design: Become familiar with computer technology as digital sound effects and electronic music replace traditional means of sound design.
  • For costume design: Supplement your program with courses in art history and fashion design.
  • Learn about different eras in history in order to recreate on stage.
  • A basic knowledge of history and architecture is helpful.

Writing

  • Playwriting
  • Screenwriting
  • Journalism
  • Publicity (Press Agents)
  • Research

Employers

  • Theaters
  • Television/film studios
  • Television stations
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Freelance

Strategies

  • Review plays, movies, and TV shows for school or local newspaper.
  • Theatricalpress agents publicize and promote theatrical productions.
  • They write press releases, arrange press conferences, and other media events.
  • Take courses in related areas such as public relations, advertising, and business.
  • Reporters spend time on the set absorbing everything.
  • They interview actors as well as craftspeople.
  • Get as much writing experience as possible: Write for the college newspaper, enter play writing contests, etc.
  • See many different productions and shows.
  • Read variety of scripts to see how scripts are developed.
  • Researchers gather information for movie writers.
  • They may also track down photographs or historical documents to make the film more authentic.

Business

  • Producing
  • Management
  • Agents
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising and Development
  • Coordination of Volunteers
  • Administration of Arts Programs
  • Box Office Sales

Employers

  • Theaters
  • Arts councils
  • Television/film studios

Strategies

  • Secretarial/clerical positions in theaters and studios are often stepping-stones to other positions and a good way to make contacts.
  • Take business courses to supplement your program.
  • Obtain a working knowledge of computers.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of theater.
  • Develop skills in leadership, negotiation, budgeting, and fundraising.

Education

  • Teaching

Employers

  • Public and private schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Performing arts centers

Strategies

  • Obtain certification for the state in which you wish to teach.
  • Obtain dual certification for more teaching opportunities.
  • Get experience in various areas of theater, as well as working with young people.
  • Obtain a graduate degree to teach on the college level.
  • Develop one or two areas of expertise within theater arts.

Other Professions

  • Actor/Actress
  • Advertising/Marketing Manager
  • Booking Agent-Resort Industries
  • Campaign Director
  • Children’s Theatre Director
  • Community Affairs Liaison
  • Convention Director
  • Costume Designer
  • Costume Shop Supervisor
  • Development Officer
  • Director, Tourism
  • Events Coordinator
  • Fashion Merchandiser
  • Fund Raiser
  • Journalist
  • Lighting Designer
  • Minister/Clergy
  • Museum Manager
  • Non-Profit Arts Manager
  • Professor/Theatre
  • Props Designer
  • Puppeteer
  • Recreational Supervisor
  • Sales Rep-Theatre Industry
  • Scriptwriter
  • Set Designer
  • Set Designer Specialist
  • Sound Designer
  • Stage Manager
  • Stunt Performer
  • Teacher (HS/College)
  • Technical Theatre Manager
  • Theatre Company Manager
  • Theatre Educator
  • Theatre Manager
  • Travel Guide
  • Voiceover Artist
  • Universal Information Specialist

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Renee Carrigan  110 Student Services Building  rdcarugl@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5864 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Cyndee Brown  Centenial West 201 H  clbrown3@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5692 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Program Requirements

The School of Theatre and Dance applies the same academic standards as those required for admission to Illinois State University. There is no separate ACT or Grade Point Average requirement for admission to the School of Theatre and Dance.

Any student accepted by Illinois State University may declare a major in Theatre Education. No audition or interview is required, although Theatre Education majors may arrange an interview for departmental scholarship consideration.

Students must apply to Illinois State University prior to interviewing for a Theatre Education scholarship within the School of Theatre and Dance.

Applying to the Program

If you wish to interview for a School of Theatre and Dance scholarship in Theatre Education, please select an interview date after completing your application for admission. Prior to your interview date, please submit:

  • A resume detailing your theatre production experiences.
  • A recent photo.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • A one-page typed essay describing your reasons for wanting to be a teacher.

Please come to the interview prepared to discuss your essay, your experiences in theatre and any additional experiences you may have had working with young people. (Note that your essay for the School of Theatre and Dance is separate from the personal statement required by the Office of Admissions.)

Your materials should be mailed to:
School of Theatre and Dance
Campus Box 5700
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-5700
Attention: Theatre Education

Deadlines and Review Dates

Students are accepted into the Theatre Education major contingent on admission by Illinois State University.

School of Theatre and Dance scholarship awards are announced after March 1.

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Program Requirements

The School of Theatre and Dance applies the same academic standards as those required for admission to Illinois State University. There is no separate ACT or Grade Point Average requirement for admission to the School of Theatre and Dance.

Any student accepted by Illinois State University may declare a major in Theatre Education. No audition or interview is required, although Theatre Education majors may arrange an interview for departmental scholarship consideration.

Students must apply to Illinois State University prior to interviewing for a Theatre Education scholarship within the School of Theatre and Dance.

Applying to the Program

If you wish to interview for a School of Theatre and Dance scholarship in Theatre Education, please select an interview date after completing your application for admission. Prior to your interview date, please submit:

  • A resume detailing your theatre production experiences.
  • A recent photo.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • A one-page typed essay describing your reasons for wanting to be a teacher.

Please come to the interview prepared to discuss your essay, your experiences in theatre and any additional experiences you may have had working with young people. (Note that your essay for the School of Theatre and Dance is separate from the personal statement required by the Office of Admissions.)

Your materials should be mailed to:
School of Theatre and Dance
Campus Box 5700
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-5700
Attention: Theatre Education

Deadlines and Review Dates

Students are accepted into the Theatre Education major contingent on admission by Illinois State University.

School of Theatre and Dance scholarship awards are announced after March 1.

Minimum GPA

2.50

Middle 50% GPA

2.53 - 3.32

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

Additional Information

It is strongly recommended that students meet the Basic Skills Requirement prior to enrollment. Visit the College of Education's website for details on acceptable ACT or SAT scores which can be used to meet this requirement.

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Cristen Monson  Centennial West 203  cbmonso@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-3936 

Middle 50% GPA

2.53 - 3.32

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

Applications are always accepted.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on My.IllinoisState.edu.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Cristen Monson  Centennial West 203  cbmonso@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-3936 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016
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