Scene Design

Anne Frank             The Diary of Anne Frank, Fall 2016

The theatre instructors take a personal interest in your development…I felt that from every teacher. I have the greatest appreciation and respect for the training I received: challenging and diverse classes, numerous performance opportunities, the chance to learn from working professionals, and the confidence to pursue a career in theatre.

- John Gloria, Irene Ryan Competition, National Finalist, Professional Actor, Los Angeles


 Kin, Fall 2014

Master of Fine Arts in Theatre: Scene Design

Developing a strong portfolio of fully realized designs with careful mentorship is a primary goal of the program, along with exploring non-traditional design opportunities through extensive studio course work. Student designers have the opportunity to work in at least three theatre facilities. They will be members of production teams consisting of peer MFA candidates as well as faculty directors and designers.

Scene design students are encouraged to explore coursework in other design areas to include costume design, lighting design, and technical direction. The design curriculum is enhanced by courses offered in other University departments such as Art and Architecture. Designers are supported by well-equipped shops and shop staff employees. The scene shop is headed by an experienced full-time faculty Technical Director.

For more information, please contact Michael Riha at

Scene Design Courses Include:

THTR4653 Scene Design I (Odd years, Sp) Theory and practice in the art of scenic design, including historical and contemporary styles and procedures. Practical experience gained through work on departmental productions. Prerequisite: THTR 1323, THTR 1321L and THTR 2313.

THTR4833 Scene Painting I (Irregular) A studio class in painting techniques for the theatre. Exercises in color, textures, styles, and execution. Prerequisite: THTR 1323/1321L or enrolled in Theatre MFA program. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

THTR5123 Theatrical Design Rendering Techniques (Irregular) Investigation of drawing and painting methods and materials useful to theatrical designers. Integration of graphic communication with overall production conceptualization will be explored through examination of various theatre styles and periods.

THTR5143 History of Decor for the Stage (Even years, Sp) An overview of architectural decoration and its application to theatrical design from the Predynastic Period (4400-3200 B.C.) through the Art Deco period with references to contemporary decor. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

THTR5183 Scene Design Studio (Fa) Individual and advanced projects in designing scenery for various theatrical genres as well as non-theatrical applications with emphasis on the design process involving script analysis, text analysis, and research. Collaboration skills and advanced rendering techniques will be explored. Contributes to on-going portfolio development. Prerequisite: THTR 3653 or instructor consent. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

THTR5193 Scene Technology Studio (Sp) Individual and advanced projects in scenic techniques with emphasis on scene painting, drafting, rendering, properties design, or scenic crafts as determined by student need. Contributes to on-going portfolio development. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or instructor consent. May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

THTR5363 Theatre Planning (Irregular) A study of significant theatre buildings, modern and historical, and their relationship to contemporary theatre planning. Practical application of theory through design problems and evaluation. Graduate level research project/paper required.

THTR581V Theatre Production III (Sp, Su, Fa) (1-3) Participation in the process of production for the University Theatre mainstage at a supervisory level. Areas of involvement may include scenery, lighting, sound, makeup, marketing, etc. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

For a complete list of graduate courses, please visit the catalog of studies.