Theater as the Integrated Performing Arts by Shannon McGovern

Have you heard about the School of the Arts and Communication’s new Integrated Performing Arts minor? Find out everything you need to know from Shannon McGovern in her latest blog post below! For more information about the minor, please visit www.tcnj.edu/ipa.

Shannon McGovern is a junior Music student, with minors in Integrated Performing Arts and Management. She is a member of All College Theatre, Alpha Psi Omega, the TCNJ Chorale, and The Mixed Signals Improv troupe. She is looking forward to baking soufflés and cookies with her younger siblings over Spring Break.

At the end of last semester, I changed my major and added on 2 minors. As a Junior at TCNJ, this was one of the scariest decisions I have ever made. I switched from the Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree to a Bachelor of Arts in Music with minors in Management and Integrated Performing Arts. Though it was a terrifying decision to make, I am so excited to be studying things that I’m really, truly interested in — the main subject of which is theater.

When I first found out there wasn’t a specific route for studying theater at TCNJ, I was a little disappointed. However, after becoming a part of the Integrated Performing Arts minor (henceforth known as IPA), I realize this interdisciplinary minor is more valuable than a theater minor would ever be.

The IPA minor resulted when the Theatre and Drama Interdisciplinary minor was updated and renamed in Spring 2012. The goal of the IPA program “is to offer students an expanded experience in performance techniques using the various disciplines in the School and in the College.” There are requirements for Theory/History/Literature, Applied Music, Visual Arts/Interactive Multimedia, and Applied Theatre, Dance, and Production. Within the IPA minor, I have taken voice lessons, studied a little bit of computer programming, learned about art history, made a fool of myself in my hip-hop dance class, and have had more fun than I ever thought possible. I have a new appreciation for all of these realms of art and performance, and have realized that I can do most of these things to a passable degree.

The amazing part, is that all of these “different” arts inform and grow off of each other. When I’m learning a new song for my voice studio, I find symbols in the text that are commonly discussed in art history. During my dance class, I find myself applying my knowledge of music history to that of the development of ballet. Everything is interrelated in the arts, and you can’t truly master one without the knowledge of the others.

When you think about it, theater is the ultimate product of all that knowledge — it combines all aspects of art into one cohesive experience. In that case, doesn’t it make sense that I study the visual arts, music, acting, literature, and dance if my final goal is to continue creating theater? I know that the knowledge I am discovering in the classroom is improving my skills as a performer/collaborator/audience member in the theater. I feel very at home studying the Integrated Performing Arts, and I bet that if you love art in any form, you will as well. So if you’re trying to figure out what to do for those elective classes, why not talk to your advisor and think about taking up the minor? I promise it’ll be a lot of fun.

If you’re interested in any of the TCNJ student-run theater organizations, theater, switching your major, or the IPA minor or have any questions, feel free to email me at mcgoves1@tcnj.edu. Students may also contact any of the coordinators for the program: Terry Byrne (Associate Professor of Communication Studies, byrneter@tcnj.edu), James Day (Assistant Dean of The School of the Arts & Communication, day@tcnj.edu) or Robert McMahan (Professor of Music, mcmahan@tcnj.edu) for academic advisement regarding the minor.

For more information about the IPA minor, please visit www.tcnj.edu/ipa.

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One thought on “Theater as the Integrated Performing Arts by Shannon McGovern

  1. As Co-Founder of Boheme Opera NJ and music graduate of TCNJ with MM in Piano Performance (when it was Trenton State College), I couldn’t agree with you more, Shannon. You write very convincingly and with passion. On March 28 and 30, our company is mounting its 25th anniversary season production of Verdi’s legendary masterpiece, La Traviata, at Kendall Main Stage Theatre at the TCNJ Center for the Arts. We are transporting the opera to a present-day 2014 “fashionista” world, while infusing the beautiful music and original storyline of Verdi’s creation. In this production, we will showcase a compelling plot based on the life of a very real young lady, while merging beautiful digital sets and animation, original lighting, costumes, makeup/wig and choreography, and projected English supertitles – all to offer a truly “cohesive experience” as you so aptly stated. Please tell your student friends, colleagues and professors about our production. We open our final dress rehearsal on Wed. March 26 at 7pm to TCNJ students and faculty for free. For information on the Dress Rehearsal, please call me at the BONJ office, (609) 581-9551. TCNJ students and faculty can also purchase tickets to the two performance of La Traviata at reduced prices online at http://www.tcnj.edu/boxoffice, by calling the TCNJ box office at (609) 771-2775 M-F, 10-2 and 6-8, or by going in person to the Brower Student Center box office, same hours. Thank you, and good luck in your TCNJ education and career. SMP

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