Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia

A Useless Degree: Theatre Studies in Perspective [Singapore]

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So, if those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach, should those who shouldn’t, study?

Theatre is not practical; Theatre Studies is less so(?)

Everyone knows the “practical” reasons why one should not take a theatre degree. A Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Studies is not the easiest degree to convince your parents that it is worth studying. They say, “it doesn’t pay well”, “there’s no future in the arts”, “there’s no job security”. Yet, there are still a few of those who wind up pursuing a theatre degree. A combination of luck and support got us here, and here we are, studying the history, methodology, cultural and contemporary practices of theatre.

The shocker comes in when a certain realisation hits at some point: shouldn’t theatre be just something I am doing instead of just studying?

Some of us feel duped. Conned. What had seemed to be a springboard into the industry suddenly become an obstacle. Instead of working on three different productions with a different role in each production every semester, we are relegated to learning about plays and their themes and issues in production, writing mournfully long essays and doing painfully irritating group projects.

 

Read more of Eugene Koh’s thoughts on a Theatre Studies degree at Write Wing Theatre.

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