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Theatre Technology

Theatre Technology
Student at a workbench in a machine shop

The Theatre School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in theatre technology trains students in the execution and realization of a designer’s vision. Theatre Technology majors collaborate with designers and other artists and technicians to create the set, props, light, and sound for theatre and entertainment productions.

BFA Theatre Technology students are trained in technical direction, production management, scenery and props construction, rigging, drafting, welding, pneumatics, hydraulics, automation, problem solving, lighting technology, and audio technology. BFA Theatre Technology graduates are well-equipped to be the skilled labor force executing designs and serve in managerial positions. Alumni are employed in theatre production, film, television, commercial scenic production, touring theatre and concerts, and many other areas of entertainment. All of the Theatre Technology training is based upon emulating the professional experience and creating a production environment that supports all collaborators.

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.

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BFA Theatre Technology Curriculum

The first year curriculum is taken in collaboration with other theatrical design and technology 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. They take classes in basic construction and materials and begin a technical drawing progression. Students complete three production crew assignments in our production season.

In the second year, students begin to focus on the specifics of construction and rigging scenery for the theatre. Students continue their technical drawing progression and complete elective coursework in other design or technical areas such as lighting or sound. Students work on productions in our public season throughout the year as carpenters, master carpenters, props artisans, and assistant technical directors.

Third-year students start to develop a specific focus while continuing to hone their skills in the areas of technical direction and project management. Students explore period style elements through a survey of art, architecture, fashion, and furniture. Students typically work as master carpenters, drafters, riggers, assistant technical directors, or technical directors for our production season as they work collaboratively with designers to implement and construct their designs.

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. Students typically work as technical directors in our production 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.

Liberal Studies

In addition to the major's requirements, 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.

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