Name: Gordon Mack
Year: Class of 2010
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Major: Mechanical Engineering
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE THEATRE ARTS & STUDIES MINOR
When I was in third grade I was forced to attend my older sister’s high school performance of Our Town. The play was the first theatrical production I saw and with no expectations I slowly became hooked to the essence of theatre. Throughout high school I enjoyed doing plays, musicals, improv, student videos, comedy, etc. And when I arrived to Johns Hopkins I thought it would be the end of my theatre involvement in order to focus solely on my engineering degree.
However, during the first couple weeks of class I began to hear rumors among the freshmen that ‘Gomez Adams’ taught theatre at JHU. So I did a little research on Hopkins’ website and discovered the Theatre Arts & Studies Program run by John Astin. Second semester soon arrived and I decided to take Acting & Directing I taught by Mr. Astin. That spring I learned the basics to great acting by a man who made a living as a famous actor.
Not only did I learn about acting but listening to John speak about his experiences and telling amazing stories about the theatre was a spectacle in itself. I especially remember vividly the day John talked about how he got started in the theatre. He mentioned that initially in college he was a math major until he saw a college production of none other than Our Town, which led to him pursuing a long career in acting and now teaching. From then on I decided that the Theatre Arts & Studies Minor would be a useful and enjoyable minor for me to pursue.
The minor has so much to offer to Johns Hopkins students, the professionally trained professors, the diverse class curriculums, the numerous theatrical productions and of course the awesome experiences.
The entire faculty all have various backgrounds in theatre and film. They have professional training and years of experience in several fields such as directing, acting, producing and stage management. The one gift that they all have is the ability to relate with the students and refrain from a distant professor to student relationship. To name just a few, Peg Denithorne, James Glossman, John Astin and William Roche all work for the Theatre Arts & Studies Program. (That photo is of me and Jonathan Groff, former lead of Spring Awakening in NYC. Not a professor at Hopkins…but still really cool!)
There are so many classes offered in this program. The technical theatre and theatre management classes give a hands on feel for the work behind the scenes of productions. The Acting & Directing I,II and Chekov and O’Neill classes discuss the detailed art of acting through scene work, acting workshops, and the studying of various acting methods. The many theatre history courses emerge you in the deep history of the evolution of theatre. So many other courses in playwriting, improv, play production, and much more contribute to the Theatre Arts Program.
Not only does the program offer courses, but also the opportunity to audition and perform for the Johns Hopkins University Theatre, also known as JHUT. JHUT puts on about 3 to 4 public productions per semester at the Merrick Barn. The shows are produced and directed by professional staff members, thus giving you a different learning experience separate from the classroom.
The Theatre Arts & Studies Minor requires the completion of only seven courses, however due to the vast variety of opportunities involved in the program one will certainly want to be involved beyond the seven class minimum.
Click here to access more information about the Theatre Arts and Studies Undergraduate Program of Study.
To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the Theatre Arts and Studies question thread._______________________________________________________________________________