The Performance Design & Technology minor aims to nurture independent thinking in a collaborative environment. Designers and managers have opportunities to assist and design on theatre productions, dance concerts and music performances, as well as with visiting and guest artists.
With an emphasis on storytelling, collaboration and expression, the design curriculum focuses on the why of the design as much as the how. Rigorous, small class sizes allow in-depth training in the theory and practice design. An emphasis is placed on visual communication through research and presentation. The curriculum encourages exploration and experimentation outside the boundaries of traditional performance. In the classroom, students explore designs in all available disciplines for all manner of performances. Advanced skills classes, conceptual projects, and performance-based work allowing students to focus on particular areas of interest.
Craft skills, like model making and drafting, complement the creative role of the designer as translator and storyteller in collaboration with fellow artists. Students interested in focusing in design are required to take a number of technology classes to hone these skills and better prepare for professional communication. Guest designers and directors regularly teach workshops to expand on the existing curriculum and provide alternative approaches to performance work.
In addition to classroom work, participation in productions is required for all students completing the minor and encouraged for all participating students. The production program creates close collaborations between actors, managers, technicians, and directors under professional working conditions. The diversity of the programming in the Miller Performing Arts Center creates opportunities to gain significant practical experience in a diverse range of performance events. Designers may have opportunities to assist and design on theatre productions, dance concerts and music performances, as well as with visiting and guest artists.
The Performance Design & Technology minor culminates in a capstone senior project. Students focusing on design have opportunities to design, with the support of faculty, staff and the relevant shops, a fully produced theatre or dance production under faculty mentorship. Students working towards a design capstone are expected to assist faculty or guest designers and to have production experience backstage or in the shops prior to their senior project. Similarly, students interested in stage management have opportunities to work with guest directors on large-scale productions. Internships are also greatly encouraged.
Student designers, managers and technicians may choose to present their work at the annual regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the USITT conferences. Several Performance Design & Technology students have been recognized at both the regional and national KCACTF conferences, including Allison Burrell for her costume designs of ALMOST, MAINE (2013-2014), Jen McClure for her craftsmanship for CLOUD NINE (2004-2005) and Jane Mahoney for her costume designs for THE ASH GIRL (2016-2017).
For additional information on this program, contact the Division Office via email or call 607.871.2562.