UNA Theatre program relocates to Department of Entertainment Industry

Sophomore Jamericus Clark-King performs “Nobody Knows” by August Alsina in front of his theatre class. Theatre moved from under the Department of Communications to the Department of Entertainment Industry this fall.

A Bachelor of Arts in Theatre is now available at UNA as the Theatre program moves under the Entertainment Industry department.

“It was an opportunity for us to have a new beginning,” said Associate Professor Charlton James. “It allows students to have a B.A. in Theatre where you can get an emphasis in acting or design.”

The Theatre degree was originally under the Communications field, while the faculty resided in the Music Building.

“It was an odd situation where our degree was in one department and our faculty was in another,” James said. “Really, that is why the decision was made.

“After a year of discussing the idea and a meeting over Christmas break last year, the two departments decided Theatre transitioning to Entertainment Industry was “where it needed to head.

“Now, we have a Theatre degree. We can have a core set of Theatre classes which allows students to take other classes to have an emphasis in a specific area in theatre.”

He said he thinks the new degree change will be a great benefit to students.

“Personally, I really love the change because now I am actually able to get a focus in acting,” said sophomore and theater student Vicki Montgomery. “I believe that would take me further, because I will not be seen as just an ordinary Theatre major.”

The original core classes for Theatre majors were Communications courses, which resulted in students receiving a General Theatre degree in Communications.

James said he thinks the Communications courses taught are great classes, just not the right classes for theater students.

Junior and theatre major Jauwanna Johnson said, “I feel that it opens your mind up to not just acting, but we get to do more things like backstage-lighting and not have to worry about the communication field.”

James said he looks forward to his Theatre students working alongside the Entertainment Industry students.

“We hope to collaborate with them on some projects for us,” he said. “I would love to use some of their students for sound designers for our plays. I think we’ve already discussed some of our actors being in music videos and other projects for them.”

Sophomore theatre student Ben Harris said he thinks moving the major to the Department of Entertainment Industry will give students more opportunities to gain experience.

“It will help me, too, in the long run to experience other things that I wouldn’t have been able to try out,” Harris said.