Theater Design + Technology
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 the 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.
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.
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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.
Sample Courses in the Theater Design + Technology Major
About the Curriculum
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 be professionals in their fields. Students are trained in each of five core areas: set design, costume design, lighting design, sound 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 production levels including for the main stage. 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.
- will 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.
- will demonstrate practical skills, exhibit stagecraft and possess the technical experience to support their own design decisions.
- will demonstrate an awareness of how their creative voices relate to current and historical design paradigms and practices.
To explore the full curriculum, click here.
* At this level, Theater Design & Technology courses include Costume Construction, Theater Photography, Drafting & Model-Making, Scenic Painting and more.
** At this level, Theater Design courses include Set, Lighting, Sound, Costume, Projection or Technical Design.
*** Advanced Theater Design courses include Set, Lighting, Sound or Costume Design or Technical Direction.
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.
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