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A Day in the Life of a Theatre Design/Technology Student

September 30, 2020
  • Caroline Pastore working in DT

Written by Caroline Pastore

A day in the life of a Design/Tech student changes from year to year, but it’s always an adventure. As a freshman in the program, you wake up and you usually go to Starbucks or Einstein Bagels for breakfast and then go to class. Freshman year, you take introductory theatre classes and maybe even a GenEd. All of these classes happen with your fellow D/T freshmen in your studio (there are 15 – 20 students in each one). Some days our classes are lecture style, but usually, they aren’t. Our professors will demonstrate a drawing or drafting technique and then break us up into small groups to do a mini class project. We’re always out of class by 3:30 pm (except Wednesdays) and then we go to Production!

Production is the best part of the day; it’s the theatre practicum work. Freshman year, we go to our assigned rotations, Scene Shop, Props Shop, Paint Deck, Electrics, or Costumes, and learn all about how each shop runs. Don’t worry you’ll get to experience all of them. Eventually, you’ll get to sign up for run crew positions on the productions and experience what it’s like working on a Purchase show.

Production is the time we learn from not only the shop supervisors but our upperclassmen as well. On top of learning how each shop runs, we’ll get to learn the basic skills required for working in these shops.
When we have long production hours, we’ll take a dinner break halfway through. These dinner breaks are what we call “family dinner,” and when I was a freshman, it was my favorite part of the day. Almost the entire program goes to D-Hall or The Hub together (usually D-Hall because it’s easier to go to in large groups since it’s buffet style). My favorite D-Hall meal to grab is a stack of veggies, Mac N Cheese (they have the BEST Mac N Cheese), and chicken. Once people have their food, we would push as many tables together and sit around them as a family. The upperclassmen will spend dinners telling fun stories of their adventures in the program, we’d make up games to play as we ate, and we’d all take the time outside of production to get to know each other. Having family dinners made me feel more connected to my classmates and showed me I had a huge support group on campus.

After production, everyone goes to the studio to do homework together. It’s the perfect opportunity to ask for critiques on your work. When there’s no homework, you’ll usually still find yourself in the studios, hanging out with your DT family and possibly having a movie or painting night.

When you get into your sophomore year and beyond, your classes become more specialized to your concentration and your production hours become more specific. You’ll begin getting production assignments and working higher positions on shows and even start going into the city for work. Some of our teachers will ask students to collaborate on projects with them, invite students to shadow them, and sometimes they’ll have free tickets for shows. Life as a D/T student can sometimes be a lot of work, but it’s a life filled with so much love and support from your Design/Technology family and faculty.