Bachelor of Arts in General Theatre
The Bachelor of Arts in General Theatre is a program for those students whose interest in theatre is wide-ranging and still evolving.
The advantage of the Bachelor of Arts is its flexibility of curriculum. Students undertaking the B.A. program may continue to participate in theatre production through classes and practicums at the level of intensity that is appropriate. They are able, with the encouragement of the theatre faculty, to take a broader array of courses in the liberal arts and in the theatre discipline itself.
While students may elect to informally "concentrate" in a particular area through the selection of courses and through production assignments, there is no need to do so. Students who are multitalented, have a diverse set of interests, or who have not settled on a focus within the discipline are excellent candidates for the bachelor of arts.
Because training in the theatre can be an excellent platform for a career in many professions besides theatre, the BA is also excellent preparation for students who may be interested in employment in many careers in which the skills provided by a theatre education are in demand. These careers range from theatre-related (communication, media and entertainment) to those requiring well-developed, interpersonal skills (professional interviewers, social workers, and psychologists). Other occupations for which theatre training is helpful are education, advertising, business, law, and politics.
The Department of Theatre and Dance faculty feels strongly that the distinction between the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Fine Arts is one of focus and not one of quality. It is true that most of those currently working in the theatre today hold a BA rather than a BFA. It also is true that some career paths in the theatre require the kind of breadth of mind and ability that such a degree is designed to encourage. This would certainly include directing, stage-managing, and producing, but could easily be broadened to include the other aspects of theatre as well.
Evidence of the strong support for the BA is that all students entering our department and intending to major in theatre must begin their work as general theatre majors and choose a degree plan only after careful consideration.
A Look Into Directing
To best communicate with actors, designers, crews, producers and house staff, a director should have a firm understanding of each. For this reason, the BA in general theatre may be the ideal undergraduate degree plan for future directors. However, since artists in all aspects of modern theatre (especially actors) collaborate with the director, undergraduates in all Southern Miss programs take the beginning directing class. The class provides a balance between theory and practice, along with a strong background in analysis. For those who wish to pursue these studies, advanced directing challenges the director in more advanced techniques. 6-8 showcase evenings are available each year for student-directed projects.