MFA in Design & Technology

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Design & Technology is awarded to students who explore challenges in the areas of scenery/properties, costuming, lighting, sound design, and technology with an emphasis in at least one of these areas. It is a rigorous program based on the belief that good designers must have a solid understanding of each area of design in order to be able to communicate and collaborate well with the other designers, technicians, and directors. Good designers must also have strong craft skills in order to understand how the design functions in execution. We believe that technology is an integral tool of design and seek to balance the education of the student in both areas. The MFA is designed to be completed in three years.

The MFA Program in Design and Technology seeks to prepare students for employment in the professional theatre and allied arts as well as educational theatre in universities and colleges. Faculty is helpful—and very successful—in placing graduating students.

It is expected that each student would have, upon entry, a primary area of design emphasis (in either scenery/properties, costumes, lighting, or sound technical production). This design/tech emphasis is the main focus of the coursework. A secondary area of interest would be developed through coursework and design assignments. The final creative project is to design a supported production demonstrating ability in these two areas. The other areas of design and technology are usually addressed during the first year of the program which emphasizes development of a broad understanding of craft, drawing, rendering, drafting, and related design skills. The MFA Course Worksheet provides information on planning your coursework during your time in the MFA program.

Students have numerous opportunities to design for the University Theatre Subscriber Series Season as well as BA and BFA Studio productions throughout the three years. The annual production schedule includes three to five Subscriber Series productions (with budgets ranging up to $20,000) in either the proscenium, thrust, or arena theatres of Rarig Center. Studio productions, with BA Performance students and BFA/Guthrie Acting students, provide up to 12 design opportunities per year for lighting and sound designers. Design/technology graduate students are in constant demand by the large Twin Cities professional theatre and arts community, where internships and overhire opportunities are consistently available. Our graduate students are active in almost every Twin Cities performing arts organization.

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