“Theatre is a useless major.”

The well-known phrase is a curse in thespians’ ears, invoking fury, frustration and not a small amount of uneasiness. It’s a statement made powerful by STEM-loving parents and business-savvy entrepreneurs. A quick Google search will pull up an endless stream of “20 Most Useless Degrees,” and “30 Worst Paying College Majors;” all of which are likely to sport theatre as one of unfortunate few.

For many, the risk is too great. The prospect of wavering job security and low income is something that has to be thought about, and some might declare that the cons far outweigh the pros. For others, different interests simply trump their love for theatre. To them it’s more of a hobby rather than a profession. And then there are those people that absolutely love theatre, but simply know they’re not good enough to make it big. Should they have to give up their passion? Do they need to lead a life without theatre, just because they’re not majoring in it? Absolutely not.

At the NextNOW Fest, twelve performing arts organizations set up booths to form the “Performing Arts First Look Fair.” Among those twelve organizations were four groups specifically targeted towards the work of theatre. It doesn’t matter if you major in the subject or not—if you share a love for the performing arts, you’re eligible to join.

  1. The Weekday Players

The Weekday Players is a student-led and student-run theatre company that strives to provide opportunities for all students to engage in some aspect of theatre.

“We can let people work on projects they want to work on,” Katie Gallagher, a junior double majoring in theatre and Arabic, said. “I think it’s really cool to have art involved in your life someway or another…if you want to have some part in it, or if [theatre] is new to you and you want to learn something about it, this is a good place to start.”

  1. Erasable Inc.

Established in 1986, Erasable Inc. is University of Maryland’s improvisational theatre troupe.

“Improv at its base is just making something up and trying to make it seem real to the audience,” said senior animal science major, Erin Kemp. “It’s just letting whatever’s in your brain just come out of your mouth. Normally you’re not thinking too hard about it and you just see where it goes from there.”

Auditions will be held Sept. 22 and Sept. 24. “If you have talent, come out,” said Kemp. “It’s like a family…we all have each others back, and we’ll have your back too.”

  1. Sketchup

If you’re looking to perform sketch comedy, then Sketchup is the way to go.

“We’re like Saturday Night Live or Key & Peele,” said junior government and politics major, Jack Lewis. “That type of comedy lends itself to having such a diverse group of people.”

Sketchup will be holding auditions Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. “You have to have friendliness, willingness to work with others and [be] a team player,” Lewis said.

  1. Kreativity Diversity Troupe

Last but not least is Kreativity Diversity Troupe. The troupe was established as a way for students to get hands on, low commitment experience with theatre.

Kreativity is an all purpose, all genre performance group who gives students at the university an opportunity to be creative—with a K,” said junior theatre major, Whitney Geohagan. The troupe hosts a “big show” at the end of each semester, as well as open mic nights throughout the semester.

“People should join to make new friends for life, be part of a low commitment group on campus, and most importantly share their Kreativity with others,” said Geohagan.

Find a group that interests you? Go to orgsync.umd.edu for more information on different groups and audition dates, or visit the First Look Fair on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, on McKeldin Mall from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.