Theater Design + Technology at UArts

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)

Apply your creativity and problem-solving skills to the world of theater production—lighting, costume, scenery, projection, sound design and technical direction—through the Theater Design & Technology program in University of the Arts’ Ira Brind School of Theater Arts.

Roles like lighting, set, sound and costume designers are crucial to an audience’s ability to be transported by a live production. And from day one, UArts’ Theater Design and Technology students get a real-world, hands-on education from working professionals and through the wide range of productions that happen on campus each year.

In 2021, UArts was named one of the top performing arts colleges in the US by the College Gazette.

Students have the opportunity to work as both designers and technicians on a wide range of Brind School productions each semester. You can choose, and change, your design or technical focus to explore your interests and hone your expertise. Hands-on experiences are supported through classroom mentorship and complementary coursework.

Experience the passion and creativity of young artists on the threshold of professional success. See this season's lineup of shows.

On Stage

About the Curriculum

Sample Courses in the Theater Design + Technology Major

The Theater Design & Technology Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) at University of the Arts in Philadelphia will train you in a range of theatrical design and technical areas. Building on a strong base of theater history, collaboration and script analysis, you’ll be able to select from each of the core areas: set, costume, lighting, sound, projection design or technical direction, and then choose two or more of those areas as your focus. You’ll gain hands-on experience, classroom mentorship and coursework that strengthens your skill set.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Design + Technology provides education and broad training in the full range of theatrical design and technical areas followed by more concentrated study and practical work in a chosen area of focus.

Studies begin with the school-wide foundation of theatre history and script analysis and then are immersed in courses of collaborative conceptual study with directors and playwrights. The program combines a wide scope of design courses with specific crafts classes taught by professionals in their fields. Students select studio training from the six core areas: set design, costume design, lighting design, sound design, projection design and technical theater, and then choose one or more of these areas as a focus. 

Studio work is complimented with extensive hands-on experience on a variety of productions in the Brind School season. Upper-level studies include realized design or technical work; two significant professional-theater internships; and the development of a professional-grade display and interview portfolio. Students design for all Brind School productions. Students frequently work alongside faculty and guest professional artists on productions. Students completing this program are prepared to enter the theater industry or to pursue further studies at the graduate level. Graduates have gone on to work professionally in Philadelphia and New York, as well as regionally and internationally.

Theater Design & Technology graduates will

  • effectively analyze scripts and source material, apply research, and make specific choices about world building that serve both the needs of the script and the artist’s imaginative impulse.

  • be able to develop their ideas into realized theater projects through collaboration, exploration, and communication, while demonstrating the skills to effectively convey their vision to their collaborators.

  • demonstrate practical skills, exhibit stagecraft and possess the technical experience to support their own design decisions.

  • demonstrate an awareness of how their creative voices relate to current and historical design paradigms and practices.

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First Year

Art History Survey I
Theater Sketching & Rendering
Survey of Theater Arts
Intro to Design
Writing I Placement
Theater Design & Technology crafts course (your choice)*
Theater Design course (your choice)**
Stage Management I
Intro to Design II
Script Analysis
Writing II Placement

Second Year

Set, Lighting, Sound, Costume or Technical Direction Practicum
History of Costume & Decor
Theater Design course (your choice)**
Theater History I
Science course
Free elective (your choice)
Theater Design & Technology crafts course (your choice)*
Critical Studies (your choice)
Theater History II

Third Year

Theater Design course (your choice)**
Set, Lighting, Sound, Costume or Technical Direction Practicum
Director/Designer Collaboration
Critical Studies (your choice)
Advanced Theater Design course (your choice)***
Design Technology Seminar
Free elective (your choice)

Fourth Year

Advanced Theater Design course (your choice)***
Theater Design & Technology crafts course (your choice)*
Theater Photography
Set, Lighting, Sound, Costume or Technical Direction Practicum
Business of Theater
Critical Studies (your choice)
Free elective (your choice)
Theater Design & Technology crafts course (your choice)*
Senior Capstone Project
Design Tech Master Class

Explore the full curriculum

Student Spotlight

A headshot of Allison Freels '23 (Theater Design & Technology)
Allison Freels


Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Noelani Montas '22 (Theater Design & Technology)
Noelani Montas


Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
A headshot of Bless Anthony Rudisell
Bless Anthony Rudisill


Theater Design & Technology (BFA)

Faculty Spotlight

A headshot of Natalie Robin
Natalie Robin

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Program director; lighting designer; production manager, Applied Mechanics; associate producer and founding member, Polybe + Seats; associate artist, Target Margin Theater
Nick Embree faculty theater design and technology
Nick Embree

Designed sets for more than 100 productions, three-time finalist for the F. Otto Haas Award
A headshot of Larry D. Fowler, Jr.
Larry D. Fowler, Jr.

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Theater sound designer, ready imaging producer and music producer; imaging producer, voice over artist and content editor, HealthcareNOW Radio
A headshot of Katherine Fritz
Katherine Fritz

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Costume designer, theatre artist and educator; managing director, Pennsylvania Theatre Institute
A headshot of Matthew Groeneveld
Matthew Groeneveld

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Longtime technical designer, Hudson Scenic Studio and Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
A headshot of LeVonne Lindsay
LeVonne Lindsay

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Costume Shop manager, costume designer and Barrymore Award-winner
a headshot of Glenn Perlman.
Glenn Perlman

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Technical director, Arden Theater Company; former master carpenter, Alabama Shakespeare Festival
A headshot of Barbora Prihodova
Barbora Prihodova

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Theater historian with specialization in performance design and scenography; recent writer and editor, thINKing DANCE

Alumni Spotlight

Brad Pouliot head shot
Brad Pouliot

BFA '16

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Professional work includes Wilma Theatre Co, Arden Theatre Company and FringeArts
Jillian Keys Photo
Jillian Keys

BFA '11

Theater Design & Technology (BFA)
Nominated for a Barrymore Award for Best Costume Design

About the Brind School

The Ira Brind School of Theater Arts is committed to developing the individual artistic voice of each student: You will develop both skills and an expanded point of view. Further, you’ll graduate a fearless, innovative and adaptable creator, ready to engage the medium and the world with a strong sense of yourself as a citizen artist.

The Brind School is tailored for those who want to head to Broadway and those who are intent on challenging the status quo. Our faculty includes 60 instructors, the majority of which are current theater professionals. Additionally, alumni regularly return to UArts as educators and hold central positions in Philadelphia’s theater culture, extending your creative community far beyond campus. 

We celebrate acting instruction as the focal point of training in both the Acting and Musical Theater programs, and emphasize vocal and physical training as principal support areas. Our Theater Design and Technology and Directing, Playwriting and Production programs also focus on technique supported by extended collaborative learning opportunities in production. Opportunities abound for master classes, guest speakers, internships and apprenticeships with both nationally prominent guest artists and Philadelphia’s many professional companies.

Through its dozens of performances each year–including the annual Polyphone Festival of New and Emerging Musicals–the Brind School is both a school and a producing company. We present an annual season of work which includes projects led by students, faculty and renowned guest artists from the national and local theater scenes. Auditions are open to all Brind School students.

Venues and Learning and Practice Spaces 

The Brind School is primarily located in the Terra Building at 211 S. Broad St. Spaces include seminar rooms and classrooms, as well as studios for individual voice, speech, dance, movement and acting instruction. 

We also utilize five public performance venues.

  • ArtsBank Theater: 230 seats

  • Laurie Beechman Cabaret Theater: 60 seats

  • Caplan Recital Hall: 200 seats

  • Caplan Studio Theater: 90 seats

  • Levitt Auditorium: 700 seats

A production shop, a costume shop, a design studio, a lighting lab, areas for both property and costume stock, and a fully equipped video editing studio round out the comprehensive theater experience Brind provides.

How to Apply

UArts offers recommended priority deadlines; students who apply and submit all required materials by the priority deadline will receive first consideration for scholarship aid from UArts. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis. 

International students requiring an F-1 visa for study in the U.S. might be subject to earlier deadlines to provide time for completion of the visa process. Contact Admissions for guidance if you are an international student who wishes to apply after the priority deadline.

Spring 2022 priority deadline: Dec. 4, 2021

Fall 2022 priority deadline: Feb. 15, 2022

We cannot accept spring 2022 applications after Jan. 10, 2022, and cannot accept fall 2022 applications after Aug. 12, 2022.

The following materials are required for your application.

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A completed application for admission

Start or resume your application. 

  • The application includes two required short-answer questions: What excites you about UArts? What inspires you?

A nonrefundable $60 application fee
  • If you qualify for a fee waiver from NACAC, CollegeBoard, UArts or another source, indicate that on your application. If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.

Official high school transcript
  • Official transcripts must be sent directly from your school by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

  • International transcript requirements 

  • Transfer student transcript requirements

    • High school transcripts may be waived for transfer applicants who have completed a minimum of 24 credits of college-level coursework, including a minimum of 18 academic, non-studio credits.

    • Official college(s)

      • Official transcripts must be sent directly from all the colleges you have attended by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

      • If you’ve attended college outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course evaluation of your college coursework sent to UArts. Additional guidelines for international transcripts are available

Your audition/interview
International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency
Optional letters of recommendation
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors are optional and may be submitted by the recommender via email to or by your high school through a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

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