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Why My Parents Should Let Me Be A Theatre Major!

Listen Linda theatre majorAre 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:

Theatre Major

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.

Forever Resentful Mother theatre major

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.

Office Space Milton theatre majorA 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.

Do you or your parents still have concerns? Write them below. I’ll work through them with you!

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Eric Eidson

Written by Eric Eidson

Eric is a playwright, director, actor, and theatre educator from Aurora, CO. He received his BA in Acting and Theatre Education, and is currently an MFA candidate at the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University. (Hi Mom!)


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  1. Thanks for this article – I read it to calm myself down when I start hyperventilating and grabbing my chest at the realization that our child is a theater major :). I’m joking, of course. Just like any industry, there are opportunities everywhere, and it may take awhile to get going. All in all, I’m glad that my child is doing as she’s learning, and loves it more than ever.

  2. Thanks for the article. My son is a Junior and his Plan A is music theater. Plan B is voice acting. Yikes! I want to give him the chance to pursue this but have no idea how to start and also no idea on what a good Plan C is. Right now he’s good but I’m not sure if he’s ‘destined’ for superstardom. How can I guide him to pursue his dreams but also provide a good Plan C in case A and B don’t pan out? Thanks!

    • Rick, I’m sort of in the same boat as your son, and my other plan is to go into psychology/counseling. It still deals with understanding emotions (which is basically what acting is), it helps other people, and generally, you can make your own hours, so you can still do community theatre on the side. Plus, you gain skills in acting and theatre that apply to the profession.

    • Hi Rick (and Morgan),

      I can only lend my perspective and advice… but it might help! I have a lot of friends who pursued theatre only to change their major or career at a later time. Not a single one of them ever regretted studying theatre. A common phrase I would hear was, “I’m glad I pursued theatre, so I wouldn’t have regrets later on in life.” The people that end up going with their “plan C” are the people who had to make that decision for themselves. Every time someone mentions a negative comment about a life in a theatre, it’s another way of saying “I don’t believe you’ll succeed in this.”

      Let them find out on their own, and support them through their failures and successes. If a medical student was struggling, you wouldn’t immediately suggest they switch careers, you would encourage them to stick with it. If your student is determined and ambitious, they will succeed. If they are not… it doesn’t matter if they’re studying theatre or medicine.

      Morgan, it sounds like you are more interested in a career outside of theatre? Just remember… with psychology and counseling you need at least a master’s degree and more commonly a doctorate. Why not get a theatre degree for undergrad and then pursue counseling or psychology in grad school? Either way, I always suggest you follow your passion. If your current passion is theatre… pursue it. If your current passion is psychology… pursue it. There’s always time to do what you love.

    • Hi Rick,
      The first thing you have to let go of is the notion that “superstardom” is even remotely in the picture. The vast majority of actors work in complete obscurity, even if they are the lucky ones who work steadily in the profession. But that doesn’t mean they are failures. If stardom is the only measure you have, your child will never live up to your hopes for him. There are plenty of actors who pay their bills responsibly, marry, have kids and live happy and fulfilling lives without ever getting anywhere near stardom. I’ve been a professional actor for 45 years. I’m fairly sure you’ve never heard of me, but I wouldn’t trade the life
      I’ve lived with anyone who had more financial security in a job they were bored to death by.

  3. Years ago, I was teaching an acting class and a young student burst into tears. He sobbed that his father didn’t support his dream of being an actor. I broke it to him gently that NOBODY’S father supported their dream of being an actor. If your dream isn’t strong enough to defy your parents, then it wasn’t strong enough in the first place. Go for it!

  4. My straight A’s son is graduating from high school this year. He wants to be a theater major and be an actor. However, he can’t even get a supporting role at his high school against kids whose plans for careers include doctor, engineer and biologist. Does he even have a chance in the real world if he is losing roles to those who do theater for funsies? He’s the only one among this theater group who even does any type of outside theatre and dance classes… and yet he always ends up in the ensemble with no speaking part. Though it’s his passion I feel like I should be telling him to pursue a different career and push this passion of acting to the “hobby” category.

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