Lighting Design (BFA/MFA)

As a lighting design candidate you can expect rigorous and comprehensive training in the theory, skills and techniques necessary to function in the professional theater world. During the 3.5 year program you will take a carefully integrated series of classes in:
  • Introduction to Lighting: This first semester class makes sure you understand the basics of electricity, instrumentation, basic rigging and best practices and the fundamental elements of lighting design.
  • Fundamentals of Lighting Design: This year-long class has the spring semester devoted to reading plays and analyzing them from the point of view of lighting. Mood, color, texture and cueing are stressed and the class includes all designers, stage managers and directing students. The fall semester is for lighting students only, and focuses on advanced techniques of plot development, paperwork, basic lighting math and instrumentation specification and developing designs that serve the needs of the play.
  • Lighting Design I and II: These classes are advanced seminars in lighting process and techniques, and include field trips to technical rehearsals in New York, rental shops and other venues of interest. There will be several plots of increasingly difficult plays required, and mastery of light plots and data management and assistant skills as practiced on Broadway will be emphasized. These classes may be taught by visiting professional lighting designers based in New York, giving you access to the most current practitioners.
  • Drafting: Starting with hand drafting to learn the basics of three dimensional space and theatrical practice, you will move on to computer drafting (Vectorworks) and advanced problem solving.
  • Studio Drawing: You will develop good skills in general drawing composition and media, with figure drawing and other techniques.
  • Design Electives: Many electives are offered for specialized training in computer drafting and illustration, scene painting, properties and courses in other areas (costumes, set design, and others) if you wish to pursue them.
You will have opportunities to design department shows to see your ideas realized on stage in performance and build your portfolio. An edited, finished portfolio and resume is required before graduation. You will be presented to our friends in the professional design world at a showcase in New York City at the conclusion of your studies.
Visiting professional designers and directors provide you with additional opportunities to learn and create a network for after graduation.