It is likely that right now there is a student somewhere in the library studying accounting, calculus or something similar who would rather be performing in play or making a movie.
Of the 30,000-plus students attending BYU, only around 500 major within the Theatre Media Arts Department. To all the students who find themselves outside the major, but still want to participate in the arts, there are a multitude of ways to get involved.
Rodger Sorensen, a professor in the Theatre Media Arts Department and associate dean in The College of Fine Arts and Communications, encourages anyone who wants to participate to take a class, join a production or find other ways to get involved.
“I’ve had a very positive experience with the non-major participants,” Sorensen said. “They are the ones that get involved, show dedication and a genuine willingness to learn while taking a tremendous amount of responsibility for their work.”
There are many theatre classes open to non-theatre major students. Some of them are TMA 101: Introduction to Theatre, TMA 102: Introduction to Film, TMA 201: Dramatic Performance, TMA 202: Dramatic Performance, TMA 123: Acting Fundamentals, TMA 267: Makeup and TMA 160: Theatre Production 1.
“Come and do theater,” Sorensen said. “A lot of people were involved in theater in high school but followed different paths in college. Usually they have a lot of enthusiasm and excitement and sometimes they are better than the majors.”
Every week the Theatre Media Arts Department sends out a newsletter, TMAccess, to let students know what is going on in the department. The newsletter is organized by Elizabeth Funk, the administrative assistant to the department. Funk said the newsletter creates a centralized location in which people can gain an understanding of what is happening on-campus and in the nearby theater and film community.
“All of the auditions are always posted in the newsletter,” Funk said. “There are auditions for major productions, mask clubs and everything else. Any student can audition for any of those productions.”
Another way students can get involved is with the sketch comedy group Divine Comedy. The group, which is sponsored by the Theatre Media Arts Department, typically holds open auditions every year in September, with students from any major encouraged audition.
Additionally, every year the Theater Department conducts a study abroad program in London during the spring term. Headquartered in central London, the program focuses on studying and attending Shakespearean and contemporary theater productions. The program is open to all majors and the application process begins during fall semester. According to the program application, the program offers a host of enriching experiences for students regardless of their major, though it’s ideal for Theatre, English and Humanities students.
Desireé Moss, 20, from Lindon, majored in marriage family studies with an emphasis in sewing before she went with the theater department to London and came home with a second major — theatre media arts studies with an emphasis in costume design.
“I thought it would be a great way to get educated about the world,” Moss said. “And we got to go to London; who wouldn’t want to go there? For me it was a self discovery program that showed me what I really loved.”
More than sightseeing, Moss recommends the study abroad program, and the arts in general, to all students as a way to find themselves and come to a better understanding of their values and beliefs.