Universities like Richmond take training students in theatre and dance seriously. With a larger number of regional theaters and performing arts venues in the United States than ever before, many of them connected to major universities, theatre and dance graduates are sometimes surprised to learn that they are employable. Students no longer need to choose between pursuing a four-year liberal arts degree and a professional career.
The Department of Theatre and Dance has designed a program in which students receive the fundamentals of a liberal arts education while still receiving the disciplined training of a pre-professional program. The department’s student handbook details information regarding personal behavior, rehearsal schedules and health and safety guidelines. Students are expected to sign an agreement that outlines personal behavior, rehearsal procedures, and health and safety guidelines necessary to fulfill their participation obligations. Students work year-round, producing a heavy schedule of performances for the University community and the City of Richmond at large.
Faculty members emphasize the fundamentals, starting students on basic exercises in movement, diction and voice. Classes progress quickly and students are expected to practice, practice, practice both in and outside of class. Participating in extracurricular programs and performances is expected of all majors and minors since it’s the single best way to practice the skills you learn in the classroom.
The department’s professional emphasis has resulted in numerous students entering the performing arts arena after graduation. Graduates have started their own theaters and dance companies and gone to work in New York and Los Angeles.