Scenic Technology

scenic tech

Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in Scenic Technology

Professional training with a broad base: The undergraduate program in scenic technology offers a broad range of experience in theatre technology and design. Scenic technology students will become well-rounded theatre artists as they take introductory courses in scenic, lighting, sound and costume design as well as scene painting. They will learn to interpret scripts and develop an appreciation for theatre history. They gain practical experience by working in the scenic, lighting and costume shops or as board operators or stagehands for running crews. Once students are accepted to the scenic technology curriculum, they will become proficient in drafting, scenic carpentry, welding, rigging and production planning. Undergraduates are often assigned as Assistant Technical Directors for Theatre and Opera productions and have the opportunity to act as the Technical Director for a production by their senior year.

Come Here, Go Anywhere: Most of our undergraduates go on to graduate school or work as technicians for universities, established theatres, commercial scene shops, theatrical suppliers and event companies. Although our students tend to work within the field, the possibilities are endless for students with scenic technology degrees.  Technical Direction is about creative problem solving and communication - vital skills in any business.  Students also learn to research, plan, schedule, and manage groups which will help them to start and maintain careers not only in theatre but in business, commercial and residential construction, education, consulting and many other fields.

Sample BFA Progression- CLICK HERE


Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre, emphasis in Scenic Technology

Philosophy and Goals: The mission of the MFA Program in Scenic Technology is to ready Technical Directors to lead the art in the 21st century. The program provides a strong theoretical background with significant production experiences.  Students are exposed to current materials, methods and techniques in automation technology, engineering, computers, and management.  Furthermore, students will participate in research and the development of innovative production techniques including the integration of advanced technologies into theatrical production.

Flexible Academic Program:  Through the advising process, an individual program is developed that suits the educational goals of the Technology student.  Whatever type of position a student is interested in, this program can prepare and support them in achieving that goal:  regional theatre TD, commercial scene shop/production company, theatre equipment supplier or manufacturer, academic TD, production manager, or theatre consultant.

The Core: All scenic technology students are required to demonstrate core competencies. Most of these skills are covered in a core set of classes:

  • CAD for the Stage
  • Electricity and Motors
  • Control Systems
  • Fluid Power (pneumatics and hydraulics)
  • Rigging
  • Stage Physics
  • Structural Analysis for the Stage
  • Health, Safety, and Management

Some core competencies are demonstrated by experience through production work, presentations at major conferences, workshops, writing for publication, and other means. See the graduation checklist (below) for a list of skills and experiences we expect of our graduates.

Tailoring Your Degree: Individual students arrange a series of courses and independent studies with their advisor to compliment and complete their degree. Previous topics have included:

  • Advanced Rigging Techniques    
  • Stage Systems Rigging Design
  • Implementation of Pneumatics and Hydraulics in Stage Production
  • Implementation of Motion Control in Stage Production
  • Technical Writing                                                                                                   
  • Fine Woodworking
  • Scene Shop Systems and Planning
  • Theatre Technology Pedagogy
  • Metalworking
  • Theatre Architecture and Consulting
  • Advanced CAD Training
  • Technical Research
  • The Physics of Theatre – Experimental Research Design


Thesis: Students can choose between a production thesis, which explores the production process for a specific show in depth, or a research thesis, where a student defines, executes, and documents a research project related to their specific professional interests. The production thesis includes a comprehensive written analysis of the production process including a full set of technical drawings and a production book containing a portfolio quality visual record of the process.

Sample MFA Contract- CLICK HERE                   Sample Graduation Checklist- CLICK HERE

Production Program

Approximately 20 productions originate each year at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, produced by Krannert Center, the Department of Theatre, Department of Dance, and the School of Music – Lyric Theatre. Of these 20 productions, approximately 90% of the design and technical positions are staffed by students. The Technical Director assignments put the student in charge of the execution of all scenic elements for a production. During their tenure at Krannert Center, technology students are first given the opportunity to assist upper-class technology students or faculty/staff technical directors before progressing to technical director positions for a variety of increasingly more challenging productions. The student is first given an assignment on a smaller-budget show in an intimate theatre space and then progresses to assignments on large scale, major productions in the Colwell Playhouse and Tryon Festival Theatres. During their tenure, the student will be assigned to theatre and opera productions in both proscenium and flexible theatre spaces. A faculty advisor guides the student to the best production experience possible.

Faculty and Staff

Our students have the advantage of working side-by-side with professional faculty and staff in an environment that fosters creativity, individuality, and excellence.  Collaboration with the professional staff as well as the Lyric Theatre, Theatre, and Dance producers takes full advantage of the unique opportunity Krannert Center presents for educational and creative interaction.

For more information about the BFA and MFA programs in Scenic Technology, please contact Beth Martell, Chair of Scenic Technology @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Scenic Tech