Production Design

Production Design

MASTER OF FINE ARTS 

Inspire audiences with innovative productions
 

Production design is the creation of a story's environment — conveying tone and era while transporting the audience into another world. Every movie, TV show, play, and event requires a carefully crafted and thought-out aesthetic to actualize the vision of the work. The production designer operates as a guide to the setting of the narrative, and influences many aspects of creative direction — from make-up to lighting and special effects.
 

If you're an artist looking to establish a career in this inventive field, our three-year Master of Fine Arts degree in Production Design provides opportunities in the areas of costume, lighting and scenery design. Our students gain the hands-on experience needed to develop a repertoire of skills across the many aspects of production. This program also connects students directly to the vibrant professional arts community of Washington, D.C. Some unique advantages include:

  • Individual instruction with faculty artists who are actively working in professional theatre, dance, television, and special events
  • Intensive full-time apprenticeships with critically-acclaimed artists at nationally recognized theaters, including Arena Stage, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Olney Theatre Center
  • Inspiring opportunities to see and work in the rich artistic community of the greater Washington, D.C. area, considered the second largest theatre market in the country, the largest video market in the world, and the location of many of this nation’s grandest special events
  • A strong record of successful professional placement of graduates throughout the theater community and related industries

 

 

Program of Study

PROGRAM OF STUDY

Our three-year MFA in Production Design is tailored to each student. You'll work with the design faculty to develop a customized program of study. Our training emphasizes production design for theatre and dance as well as the related arts of film, television, exhibit design, and special events. We offer three tracks, which also include general studies in art and design:
 

  • Costume Design
  • Scenery Design
  • Lighting Design
     

All programs include 9-18 credits of full-time apprenticeship at a local professional theater, studies in secondary design areas, and cross-discipline training in the allied arts.
 

Courses 

Student in costume during performance

 

1st Year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Period & Styles

  • Costume Design

  • Design Elective*

  • Pattern Making

  • Scenic Design

  • Design Elective*

2nd Year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Advanced Costume Design

  • Ind. Study (Mainstage Design)

  • Design Elective*

Professional Apprenticeship

3rd year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Thesis Research I (Mainstage Design)

  • Lighting Design

  • Design Elective*

  • Thesis Research II (Written Thesis)

  • Ind. Study (Mainstage Design)

  • Design Elective*

* Design electives can include theater special topics classes or appropriate classes in art, event management, interior design or museum studies.

 

1st Year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Period & Styles

  • Scenic Design

  • Design Elective*

  • Production Drafting

  • Lighting Design

  • Design Elective*

2nd Year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Advanced Lighting Design

  • Ind. Study (Mainstage Design)

  • Design Elective*

Professional Apprenticeship

3rd Year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Thesis Research I (Mainstage Design)

  • Costume Design

  • Design Elective*

  • Thesis Research II (Written Thesis)

  • Ind. Study (Mainstage Design)

  • Design Elective*

* Design electives can include theater special topics classes or appropriate classes in art, event management, interior design or museum studies.

 

1st Year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Period & Styles

  • Lighting Design

  • Design Elective*

  • Production Drafting

  • Scenic Design

  • Design Elective*

2nd Year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Professional Apprenticeship

  • Advanced Lighting Design

  • Ind. Study (Mainstage Design)

  • Design Elective*

3rd Year

 

Fall

Spring

  • Thesis Research I (Mainstage Design)

  • Lighting Design

  • Design Elective*

  • Thesis Research II (Written Thesis)

  • Ind. Study (Mainstage Design)

  • Design Elective*

* Design electives can include theater special topics classes or appropriate classes in art, event management, interior design or museum studies.

 

Ornate costume during a play production

WHERE YOU'LL GO

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Once you complete our program, you are prepared to lead in your field. Graduates have gone on to be designers and directors at prominent locations including:

CNN D.C. Bureau | Smithsonian Air & Space Museum | HGTV | Veritas Scenic | Shenandoah University | Greenberg Theater, American University

Our partners

Our Partners

Our relationships with professional companies provides an intensive apprenticeship program as part of our degree. Additional local, professional opportunities are available. Our partners include: 

  • The Olney Theater Center
  • Arena Stage
  • Folger Shakespeare Theatre

Theatre set with student actors during performance

Student actor rehearsing

Student theatre performance

Student actors standing in dramatic stage lights


CONTACTS

Building XX
814 20th Street NW, 3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-8072 | Fax: 202-994-9403 
[email protected]

 

Graduate Advisor for Production Design;
Professor of Production Design
Special Assistant for Productions & Performances

Carl Gudenius
[email protected]

Assistant Professor of Production Management & Technology
John Traub
[email protected]

 

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