Friday, February 05, 2010

Announcing a New Blog: TACT

As my readers know, Tom Loughlin and I both are college theatre professors, and we both have come to question the so-called "pre-professional" training track that is focused on NYC and LA. As part of my Center for Rural Arts Development and Leadership Education project, we are beginning the process of conceptualizing a new approach to theatre education, one that is more holistic and realistic. As part of this effort, we have created a new blog: TACT stands for Theatre Arts Curriculum Transformation. (And before anybody says it, I will admit that there is something ironic about my being involved with anything involving tact...)

We have reposted a couple posts from our blogs, and begun posting new material. Here is a sample of the latest, which I have called "A Modest (and Tactless) Proposal":

The buzz word in American education these days, thanks to the totally misguided No Child Left Behind Act, is “accountability.” The Provost where I teach at UNC Asheville says we must create a “culture of evidence” concerning what we do. We all nod vigorously, and then go back to rehearsal. Commonly, theatre professors, when faced with the A-bomb, respond with the intellectual equivalent of putting our hands over our ears and shouting blah-blah-blah at the top of our lungs. Either that, or we open our eyes wide and lisp, “Doctor Provost, we don’t know nuthin’ ’bout no accountability. Why, who ever heard of such a thing being applied to the arts?” And for reasons I have yet to fathom, administrators seem to buy this feigned (or real) ignorance. “Well, you know,” they harrumph, flicking the tip of their ballpoint pen, “as long as you do a decent production of Once Upon a Mattress next semester that we can bring the Trustees to, we’ll just look the other way this time.”

But I just finished reading Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play by Todd London and Ben Pesner, and the portrait of the so-called profession was just so awful that I can’t maintain my politeness anymore. Plus I’m sick, which makes me cranky.

Anyway, here is my proposal: tie the salaries of theatre professors to the income of their students.


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