The Theatre School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in stage management is a blend of training in management, design, and technical skills. The four-year curriculum simulates a stage managers professional experience and process. Students learn to communicate with and manage all areas of production. Students collaborate with directors, designers, actors, administration, and our professional staff as part of our production program.
Students learn from a distinguished and award-winning faculty of professional designers, artists, and technicians both in the classroom and through individual guidance and advising during production work.
The first year curriculum is taken in collaboration with other design and technical students and is an immersion into the culture of production and design. Students explore thinking metaphorically and abstractly with an appreciation of design and technology as an aesthetic distinct from other art forms and begin a drawing and technical drawing progression. Students complete three production assignments as assistant stage managers in our production season.
In the second year, students move into the specific stage management curriculum and focus on roles and responsibilities of stage managers in the production process. Students take elective coursework in other design or technical areas to support their education as theatre generalists. Students continue their work as assistant stage managers and will stage manage one production of their own in our production season.
In the third year, students hone their skills and apply them to various positions within the theatre and other entertainment careers. Students study costumes, lighting, scenery, or sound while exploring period style elements through a survey of art, architecture, fashion, and furniture. Students typically stage manage at least two productions in our production season.
The fourth year is a transition year, further developing students’ abilities and preparing students to enter the profession. Coursework includes preparation and study of the roles of managerial staff in theatre and continued study in the areas of costumes, lighting, scenery, or sound. Students typically stage manage at least one production in our season and have the option of a professional internship of their choosing.
At the end of each year, The Theatre School hosts a Graduate Showcase event to showcase the work of our graduating design students. Under the guidance of the faculty, graduating designers prepare a showcase exhibit of their portfolio – which is presented in Chicago for artistic directors, alumni, and other members of the theatre, film, and television industries.
In addition to the theatre training curriculum, students complete 52 quarterly credit hours (13 courses) in the university's Liberal Studies Program. Courses are taken in theatre history, writing, quantitative reasoning and technological literacy, philosophical inquiry, religious dimensions, scientific inquiry, understanding the past, multiculturalism in the United States, and electives. These liberal studies courses are scheduled during the first three years of the program.
Every student receives quarterly evaluation and feedback from the faculty. Student evaluations are based on discipline, collaboration, professional potential, and progress in the program. Based on this evaluation, design students are continued from year to year at the invitation of the faculty. There are no pre-determined limits on the number of students returning to design programs. An invitation to return to the third year of a design program is for the duration of the respective program provided that all academic requirements are met, and that professional discipline is acceptable.
Four Year Curriculum
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