Production & Design Studio Curriculum

Production & Design Studio Class

Production & Design Studio Class

The First Year

The first year of study in Production & Design is considered a foundation year. Students spend three days a week in studies focused specifically on theatre design and production. The alternate weekdays are reserved for academic classes. First-year students study all aspects of production to gain shared skills and vocabulary, creating life-long collaborative skills and production techniques.

More on the First Year

At the end of the first year all students will have a basic understanding of how to read a play, develop a point of view on that play and express that point of view through the vocabulary of theatrical sets, costumes, lights and sound. They will be able to communicate these ideas to a director and to the support staff. They will be able to execute that work at the level of very small production, such as student directed projects or other student generated work.

First year students are not expected to focus tightly on a singular aspect of production. The goal of the first year curriculum is that all students are trained and experienced in multiple areas of production. This foundation should lead to an informed choice of specialization in the second year. 

The Second Year

Students entering the second year of Production & Design choose two areas of focus from the following: Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Sound Design, and Stage Management. Focused course work builds upon the basic information provided in the first year of training and students work toward improving specialized skills, broadening their ability to interrogate text, and deepening their understanding of the collaborative process. 

Advanced Training

Third and fourth year training in Production & Design provides intensive individualized study in the student’s primary area of focus by synthesizing rigorous dramaturgy, personal creativity, and best practices of the discipline. Students will participate in professional internships in New York City as well as working with their faculty mentor on realized production within Tisch Drama. Advanced training also offers students the flexibility to enrich their academic experience by choosing to study abroad or complete a minor or double major if they wish. 

More About Internships

Production and Design students have recently held internships at: 

• ABC, CBS, MTV/VH1, NBC & Viacom, Focus Features – Film & Television – design and management positions 

• Jim Henson Company, Bednark Studios 

• Alvin Alley Dance Company, Atlantic Theater Company, The Metropolitan Opera, New Victory Theatre, The Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music 

• 321 Management, Dodgers, Juniper Street, Tinc Productions 

• Professional scenic, costume, lighting, sound and projection designers: Gregg Barnes, Randy Carfagno, John Gromada, Constance Hoffman, Don Holder, Christine Jones, Anna Louizos, Derek McLane, Tyler Micoleau, Sven Ortel, George Tsypin, Jennifer Tipton, Donyale Werle, Catherine Zuber 

Production Laboratory

The production experience is where classroom learning is put into practice. In a typical year, there are more than 100 different plays and projects presented in the Tisch Drama’s various studios and performance spaces offering different levels of production from extra-curricular student driven work to fully supported department-wide collaborations.  Production & Design students are assigned to at least one department-wide production each semester and often will volunteer for three or four additional shows per year. First-year students will be assigned crew or support positions on department productions – typically one each semester – to observe, collaborate and contribute to the production. Second-year students will assist the designers, stage managers, or production staff on fully produced shows. In the final two years, students will have the opportunity to take on a position of substantial responsibility or to design or manage full productions. The faculty decides when each student is prepared to take on a major leadership role in production. 

Production: First Year to Graduation

A typical Production & Design student will participate in nearly a dozen department productions prior to graduation. In the first year, each student will be assigned crew or support positions on department productions – typically one each semester – to observe, collaborate and contribute to the production.

In each semester of the second year, students will assist upper level student designers or stage managers on department productions or they might assist the staff technical director, costume director or master electrician in a technical position. Second year students often will volunteer to take leadership positions on student generated projects.

In the third year, P&D students will be assigned responsible positions designing or managing a small-to-moderately scaled departmental production and/or might be the associate designer on a major production.

In the final year, a final project will be assigned that is appropriate to the student’s interest and abilities.