Students perform in a scene from "Johanna: Facing Forward."

M.F.A. Scenography

The M.F.A. in Scenography is a three-year integrated program of study leading to a Master of Fine Arts degree, the terminal degree for professionals working in design for theatre, film, and television. Scenography classes are at the core of the curriculum and students will develop a portfolio in a wide variety of theatrical and performance genres. Students will design in both the large Crafton-Preyer proscenium stage and the Inge black box theatre. Opportunities exist to work with new technologies in theatre design, including Virtual Realities. 

The Scenography program is based on the premise that theatrical designers in the 21st century must be conversant with all areas of theatre design. Thus, there is one unified course of study in all areas rather than separate programs in set, costume, and lighting design. The aim is to find the areas of commonality and intersection among the separate disciplines. Students master a larger palette of contemporary design possibilities based on the unique seeing process of the age.

Second, the program is based on the premise that metaphor is the true language of the theatre and of theatrical design. Through a series of carefully structured projects, both in the classroom and on the stage, the program provides students the opportunity to develop the critical and artistic skills that will allow them to create design ideas that go beyond the literal surface of the play into spatial and visual arrangements that are dynamic, resonant, and poetic.

The history of the theatre is the history of the evolution of new ways of seeing and representing the human condition. The invention of perspective drawing in the Renaissance ushered in a new style of stage design that reflected the "reality" of that age, and the painted perspective vistas of the Bibienna's were "real" to the Renaissance eye. "Reality" is, however, a shifting construct, and every age defines it anew.

Our Scenography program constantly analyzes the evolving visual vocabulary of the present age, and attempts to find metaphoric ways to apply new ways of visual thinking to the design of the contemporary stage space.