The Theatre Design/Technology MFA Program: Concentrations
It is the responsibility of the scenic designer to collaborate with the director and develop the conceptual ideas that will inform the look and functionality of the scenic design. The scenic designer must work closely with other members of the design team and communicate clearly—through technical drawings, color elevations, scale models, color renderings, and research—all the information necessary to realize the scenic design. Working with the director, the other designers, the technical director, and other members of the production staff, the scenic designer must develop a cohesive design that provides an effective setting for the production.
The costume designer’s primary responsibility is to be part of the design team that transforms the words of a play into visual imageries. Costume designers are involved in developing conceptual and artistic ideas that will be used to guide the imageries for a production. The conservatory encourages its students to discover their own processes of formulating design ideas and to develop a discriminating standard for their own endeavors. Above all, it prepares them for creative and meaningful professional lives in the broad range of theatre activities. Designers learn to visualize the world of plays through the garments and clothing the actors wear while collaborating with directors, actors, other designers and technicians, and the professional staff and students in the costume shop. Students learn from a distinguished faculty of professional designers and artists, both in the classroom and through individual guidance and advising during production work. Students receive formal and informal feedback from faculty through portfolio presentations of their work each year. In addition, courses in costume technology are also available—the costume technology artisan takes the costume designer’s vision and physically creates them.
The lighting designer’s primary responsibility is to develop conceptual and artistic ideas that will be used to guide the design of the lighting for a production. As a member of the design team, the lighting designer has a significant impact on the visual unity of a production and is responsible for producing the light plot and all related paperwork. Working with the director, the other designers, and other members of the production staff, the lighting designer develops a cohesive design that supports the other aspects of design for the production and helps to create and define the environment of the production.
Technical Direction/Production Management
The technical director, working collaboratively with the scenic designer and others, is responsible for the execution of the scenic elements of a production. This process includes bidding, scheduling, developing technical elevations, supervising crews, budget management, and coordinating with the other departments that are working on the production. Additionally, the technical director is responsible for supervising and coordinating the load-in of scenery and other physical elements of the production into the theatre, helping to organize scene changes that involve moving scenery, and supervising the load-out of the production when the run is over. The production manager does for the entire production much of what the technical director does for the scenic elements. Collaborating and working with the director, stage managers, designers, shop heads, and others, the production manager helps to ensure that the production as a whole is realized in the best possible way.