Production & Design Studio Curriculum

Production & Design Studio Class

Production & Design Studio Class

The First Year

The first year of study in the Production and Design Studio is considered a foundation year. There are four major components to the student's training: 

1. Graphic Communication (drafting and drawing) 

2. Stagecraft (encompassing multiple areas of the backstage craft including: scenery, costumes, lighting, sound, scene painting, model making) 

3. Introduction to Stage Management and Theatre Organization 

4. Fundamentals of Design (expression of ideas using form, color, composition, reading and interpreting texts, locating, interpreting and using research) 

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 the Production and Design Studio choose two areas of focus from the following: Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Sound Design, and Management.

Coursework builds upon the basic information provided in the first year of training. Assignments are structured to develop more elaborately scaled production, improve specialized communication skills, and deepen the students’ understanding of the role of production personnel in the creative process. In addition to focus classes, second year students also participate in advanced graphics classes as well as script analysis, directing, and courses that are designed to introduce them to the entertainment business. 

Advanced Training

Third and fourth year training in Production and Design provides focused individualized study in the student’s area of focus which we refer to as "Mentorship Classes." Students also participate in professional internships in New York City, each selected individually based upon the student's interest.

Students synthesize the components of their NYU studio and course work with their New York experiences to define their personal style through the internship experience. 

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 extraordinarily important. Production is the laboratory where training is put into action. In 2014-2015 more than 50 different plays and projects were presented in the department's six performance spaces. There are four types of production done each year: department, studio, curricular student directed/created projects and extra-curricular projects. 

Department or StageWorks productions are intended to provide a near professional level experience while still in the university environment. The majority of these shows are designed by upper level Production & Design students; occasionally a show is designed by the MFA candidates or P&D Faculty. All of these productions are stage managed by Production & Design management students. The productions are fully supported by the departmental shops and staffs along with student crews to facilitate the construction and installation of the designs. A normal schedule for a departmental production will include five to eight weeks of rehearsal, four weeks of construction, one week of tech and dress rehearsal and ten performances over two weeks. 

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.