Theater studies preps students for future professions

Theater studies program

Theater students prepare for a performance in spring 2011. YSU’s theater and dance department boasts a nationally accredited theater studies program. Jambar file photo.

To Jacob McIntyre, the theater studies program is like a family.

McIntyre, a junior at Youngstown State University, said students within the program often receive a lot of individualized attention from their instructors.

“It is fortunate to have theater studies at YSU,” he said. Although McIntyre primarily studies design and technology, he said he had a new experience after taking a puppetry class last semester. His theater studies education, he said, has taught him versatility. 

“Although I found acting challenging for me, I enjoy the acting classes I take,” McIntyre said, referencing the range of theater studies experiences that he’s been exposed to, thanks to the program. “Acting isn’t only performing in front of people, but also learning how to be a character and put your mind in another body.”

Students enrolled in the program are required to learn skills for both front stage and back stage operations. They often work as actors; set, costume and prop designers; makeup artists and directors, among other roles involved in production. 

“It’s a general exposure to the total art of theater,” said Frank Castronovo, chairman of the department of theater and dance at YSU. “You have to learn everything.”

Kaleigh Locketti, a senior who is pursuing theater studies, plans to graduate in the summer. Her dream is to be a comedian in Chicago — and she said YSU’s program has prepared her well for this future career.

Castronovo said YSU is one of only a few hundred collegiate-level institutions across the country to offer a nationally accredited theater studies program. YSU’s program, he said, teaches students to market their skills to fit many fields.

“Theater studies opens doors for all kinds of professions,” Castronovo said. “You have to learn how to build, sew, put on makeup, sell yourself on stage, show your personalities, speak in public, think creatively and work collaboratively.”