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EDUCATION: Professor launches new theater course

EDUCATION: Professor launches new theater course

By Viviana Tellez
Bridge contributing writer

Published Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022

Although COVID-19 temporarily closed the curtains for theater performances, TAMIU launched a new course to get the show back on the road.

Academic Cooperative, the new course, began this Fall for anyone who wants to work on a theater production.

Professor Martinez speaks during theater class
David Gomez Jr. | Bridge
Instructional Associate Professor of theater and communication Gilberto Martinez Jr. acts out a monologue during one of his theater courses in Academic Innovation Center Room 221 on Sept. 14.

Instructional Associate Professor of theater and communication Gilberto Martinez Jr. held auditions for the upcoming show in early September. Martinez expects the performances to occur Nov. 3 to 5.

“The first day of class, I kind of gauge who is in the class, who wants to do what and then I choose a play off of that,” Martinez said. 

Martinez’s techniques stray from the norm as he takes a student-centered approach to theater.

Professor Martinez speaks to his students during theater class
David Gomez Jr. | Bridge
Instructional Associate Professor of theater Gilberto Martinez acts out a monologue during one of his theater courses in Academic Innovation Center Room 221 on Sept. 14.

“I like to give students the opportunity … if they want to act—they act, if they want to do costumes—they do costumes and if they want to direct—there are opportunities for that,” Martinez said.

Texas A&M International University alumnus Jorge Salinas took most of the theater classes TAMIU offered.

“[Theater class] is not just a regular course where you sit down, take notes and take a test at the end of every couple of weeks,” Salinas said. “You’re actually learning and doing things yourself. Theater courses in general are a lot more fun because they’re hands-on.”

Martinez selects plays to specifically fulfill the theatrical mission for students at TAMIU: to learn through experiential learning.

“The main goal of theater isn’t to make a student want to work in that business per say,” Martinez said. “But it really is to help them become a better team communicator.”

Martinez believes putting on a play teaches people to depend on each other for teamwork.

“As an actor, it really helped me develop my love for theater,” Salinas said. “As a student, it helped me figure out different ways of learning things. It’s given me more opportunities to learn how to communicate with people a lot clearer and be more open.”

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