Yes, You Should Major in Theatre

No Other Major Better Prepares You for the 21st Century Workforce

Matt Fotis

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Photo by Kevin Schmid

It’s easy to shit on theatre majors. “All you’ll do is roll around on the ground pretending to be animals.” That’s true. To be fair, you also walk around pretending to be animals. If you’re advanced, you also do some climbing like animals, or even some improvised scenarios as animals. In addition to honing your animal impersonation skills, more importantly, theatre is also the major that develops the most in-demand soft skills in the marketplace. No other major, including business, better prepares you to enter the 21st century workforce.

Before we get into the capitalism of it all, let me say you should major in theatre because it makes you a better human being. You learn empathy and visual aesthetics and storytelling and acceptance and all sorts of great things that make life better. It’s also completely valid to be a theatre major so you can spend your life making theatre. Go figure. So, major in theatre because you want to make art. That’s great.

This article is about the skills you develop in the theatre and how you can use them in the corporate world. For an art based in storytelling, we’ve done a terrible job telling the story of what majoring in theatre does for you beyond the stage. So, here goes.

Look, there are obvious technical skills some employers are looking for. You aren’t going to get hired to program computers if you don’t know how to program computers. Being in a college production of Our Town isn’t going to help you land an accounting job — even if you were the best Stage Manager Grover’s Corners has ever seen. But because the world moves so quickly and technology changes overnight, the jobs of tomorrow don’t even exist yet. So, what most employers are really looking for are soft skills. ZipRecruiter’s 2022 “Job Market Outlook for Grads” said that 93% of employers are looking for soft skills. Things like creative thinking, the ability to collaborate, adaptability, time management, dependability, communication, interpersonal skills. You know, the things you learn working in the theatre.

Back to those technical skills for a second. Every job has technical skills to learn. Some of them take a really long time. No matter how good you were in…

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Matt Fotis

Theatre professor, author, playwright, dad, husband, and other stuff. Comedy, parenthood, and politics. www.mattfotis.com @mattfotis