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What the Theater Students are Saying

Posted: February 18, 2008 8:32 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2008 5:02 a.m.
With the spring semester underway at College of the Canyons, students are looking forward to the opportunities that the newest general theater and performance theater degree programs will create for their growing careers.

When the college announced the new programs at the end of 2007, Susan Hinshaw, chair of the theater department at College of the Canyons, said many of the students in her classes left to declare their new theater majors.

Many other students had similar reactions to the news.

Nolan LeGault, a second year COC student, said he was excited when he heard about the addition of the two programs.
Currently, he has not declared a major, but hopes to switch to both general theater and performance theater.

"I would like to get my (associate in arts degree) in both of the programs," he said.

He notes that if it wasn't for the new programs, he would most likely have taken as many theater classes as possible before transferring to another school that offered the major.

LeGault views the majors as ways to not only understand theater as an art form, but also as a business, something which is much needed for anyone looking to pursue an acting career in the Los Angeles area.

A major concept LeGault wants to understand through the required theater classes is how to develop a character.
Once he finishes studying theater, LeGault wants to make the art his profession.

"I've already told myself that I want one big movie and I'd be set for life," he said. However, he admits that his goal of teaching theater is probably more realistic.

He also has plans to one day own a contemporary or community theater.

Regardless of his future plans, LeGault calls the addition of the theater programs "well-deserved," especially given the new Performing Arts Center and growing theater program.

Similar to LeGault, Christina Gonzalez is excited over the opportunities the theater programs will create.

Gonzalez has been taken classes at the community college for five and a half years and has earned an associate in arts degree in English and General Studies.

Although she initially didn't plan on pursuing theater, Gonzalez said her mind changed when she "took a theater class that changed my life."

She was referring to the improvisation class, which, over the years, she ended up taking five times. She became active in the department, helping to develop other classes.

"It started that theatrical spark," she said.

Since her experience, Gonzalez said she has "really dived into theater" and especially with the introduction of the new programs, doesn't see herself transferring to a different school.

On campus, she is enrolled in 12 units, all of which are theater classes. She has also auditioned for all of the spring plays and festivals.

When she finishes taking classes at College of the Canyons, Gonzalez hopes to earn a master's degree in theater.
Her long-term goals won't keep her far from the college campus, as she wants to ultimately teach theater as a way to pass on what she has learned.

"I want to be able to come back and teach," she said.

For the time being, however, Gonzalez views the general theater and performance theater degrees as the chance to legitimize the growing field.

"It's definitely a powerful force that's up and coming," she said.


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