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Tech Theater Program Moved To College Of Fine Arts To Better Showcase Students

The Tennessee Tech Theater Concentration has moved to the College of Fine Arts as a way to better showcase the work of students and faculty.

The department had been housed inside the Department of English inside the College of Arts and Science for some 30 years. Jennifer Shank is the Dean of the College of Fine Arts.

“Typically theater is studied as one of the forms of writing, and so when it was started, that was the best place to house it, because other professors in English also taught literature and theater and things,” Shank said. “So that was a great place to start it. But now that it has grown and it’s very active, we wanted a place where it could, like I said, have a little more light, a little more showcasing. And also our School of Music does a lot of activities within musical theater. And it was a wonderful way to combine the two so that they could collaborate and work together.”

With the change, Shank said visual arts, musical arts and theatrical arts are now housed in one department. She said she hopes the change can help better publicize the productions planned by theater students. The move will also help students, Shank said.

“We are able to offer a Bachelor of Arts in the degree where they concentrate in theater, and they can take classes in acting, in stagecraft,” Shank said. “They can take classes in all kinds of things that go with theater, like costuming, stage, managing, programming. If they don’t want to major in it, they can also just participate by trying out for one of our plays. It’s very economical for students and it’s built around their schedules.”

Shank said the theater department generally does three shows per year with at least one being a musical.

The arts have been a longtime staple at Tennessee Tech and Shank said the programs help provide students with more experiences.

“The humanities and the fine arts are so important to developing folks who are well rounded and have the best opportunities in their lives,” Shank said. “And so we at Tech want to offer the fine arts as part of that, not only as a major, if they choose to make that their vocation after college, or if they just want to try or have a hobby. Because part of who we are as people is having the arts in our lives. And so the university strives to have that at the college level.”

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