Are you a parent of a theatre kid? Well, they’re probably showing you this article because they want to be a theatre major and you’re the only thing standing in the way of them pursuing their dreams! Too harsh? No, it’s not! This is the rest of their life we’re talking about, so you can suck it up and invest five minutes to read an article that may result in a lifetime of happiness for your child.
Now… parents, I don’t want you thinking that I’m not acknowledging your concerns, because I know all your arguments and I’m here to say… you’re wrong. Here is
the list of parental concerns and then of course… my rebuttal:
My child won’t make any money in theatre.
Wrong. Theatre is a continuously growing industry with new jobs every day. Take a second and research the amount of theatre-related jobs that exist… here’s a secret… it’ll take you a while. There are more jobs out there than just acting or directing. Guess what! Your child will learn all about those jobs in college… when they’re a theatre major.
I just want what’s best for my child.
Isn’t a happy life what’s best? Tell me Mom and Dad, are you happy with your career? If you said yes, then it’s because you had people supporting you along the way telling you, “You can do it!” If you said no, then don’t you dream about a job that would make you happy? You could always apply to be a theatre major with your kid. Just because you gave up on your life and on your dreams… doesn’t mean Junior has to. Life is too short. Plus, I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m really passionate about accounting.” You might remember the famous quote by Marc Anthony, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
You can’t do theatre forever. Then what?
First of all… two words, Betty White. Second of all, like any other job, you can stay in this industry as long or as little as you want. Just like any other occupation, making connections and “climbing the ladder” is just as important to the health and longevity of your career. So let’s say your child pursues their dream of theatre and then decides they want to do something else… guess what, they have a degree. Yeah it’s a degree in theatre, but you and I both know that simply having a degree is more important than the type of degree. How many people do you know that have a job completely unrelated to their undergraduate major? Last I checked, you don’t need a degree in Geography to be an Insurance Broker… but I assure you they exist.
A theatre major is more versatile than any other major. Think about the skills you need for theatre, collaboration, problem solving, marketing, design, analysis, presenting and performing, time management, and the list goes on! Are you telling me these are skills that any employer wouldn’t love to see in an applicant? Plus, have you met your child? They’re hilarious and fun to be around. With those skills and that personality… what job can’t they get?
Parents, I just want to help you help yourselves. You love your kids, I know that and they know that (even if they do sometimes tell you otherwise). One way you can show your love is by supporting their decisions. If theatre isn’t for them… they’re going to find out in college. The life of a theatre major is tougher than most and it’s not for everyone. But if you tell your child they can’t do something… if you even hint at it, that’ll make them want to do it even more. If your child is going to succeed in theatre, wouldn’t you rather they do it because of you and not in spite of you?
So what can you do now Mom and Dad?
Ask your child why they want to be a theatre major and see what they say. See how they talk. When was the last time you heard someone talk so passionately about their future? Still skeptical? Go visit a university’s theatre program. Tour the school, ask them tough questions, and meet the people who are doing what your child wants to do. Chances are good… you might start to see that theatre is truly the only option for your kid. Before you say no to a lifetime of happiness, do your homework.
Take it from me, I’m a teacher, an actor, a director, a playwright, and most importantly… I’m happy. All because my parents believed in me and believed in my dream.