By Julia Duggan
The College announced on May 4 that a new theatre minor is available once again to interested students, returning to the College after its original introduction in the early 2000s.
“It was started as a support for students who wanted to do more academic study in theatre arts as part of their program here at TCNJ,” said Jennifer Little, an adjunct professor and the director of Lyric Theatre. “Over time, the minor was morphed into a different minor, titled ‘integrated performing arts.’ We found that didn’t necessarily resonate with what TCNJ students were seeking.”
After speaking to the various theatre organizations at the College, Little discovered that there was a demand for the original minor to return. From there she worked with Suzanne Hickman, an associate professor of music at the College, to develop the re-worked minor. Their goal was to make a hybrid of the original theatre minor and the more recent integrated performing arts minor.
“Theatre is a field of study that encompasses multiple art forms — acting, dance, directing, visual arts, sound, lighting, technical design, and music,” Little said. “Therefore, a minor needs to allow students to follow their passion and create the minor to fit their goals.”
The students involved with Lyric Theatre and All College Theatre (ACT) are enthusiastic about the addition of the minor. Teresa Folan, a member of Lyric Theatre and a rising sophomore early childhood and special education major, is looking forward to the new addition.
“Many of my friends share my affinity for theatre and I know to have that recognition on a transcript would mean so much, aside from the exciting possibility of taking advantage of more theatre opportunities,” Folan said. “(Professor Little) had been vouching for the theatre minor for so long and spent so much time putting all the logistics together because she knew how much demand there was for it. As a fervent advocate for the Arts, it was just validating to know that the College wanted to support theatre-lovers as well.”
Lana Holgado, a graduating senior and former member of Lyric Theatre, had a bittersweet reaction. While she’s glad the minor is available, having already graduated made it impossible to ever experience it.
“I’m graduating and I’ve only taken two of the classes that meet the requirements,” Holgado said. “I suggest for underclassmen that you take the opportunity to work this minor into your schedule early on in your college career because you will learn so many valuable skills and make so many memories.”
Other students echo the excitement surrounding the opportunity to pursue a theatre minor, and have already begun working to add the coursework to their curriculum.
“I want to do an independent study in theatre management and stay active in community theatre after graduation,” said Allison Russell, a rising junior computer science major and member of ACT and Lyric Theatre.
For students who may be interested in pursuing the versatile and flexible theatre minor, Little encourages them to contact Hickman or herself to plan the best course of action.
“If you are a junior or even a senior, don’t despair. Come speak with us,” Little said. “It may be that you already have classes in your academic career that will count, and we are committed to helping students make this work as we re-introduce it to the campus at large.”