The goal of the M.F.A. in Scenic Design is to prepare you for participation in professional theatre, academic teaching, or other associated industries. The M.F.A. is a three-year, sixty credit hour minimum curriculum which includes coursework in scenic design, scenic painting, properties, technology courses, and dramatic literature.
Over the three years you will receive instruction in the use of both traditional and contemporary visual communication tools as they relate to the theatre and allied fields. Along the way, you gain experience in script analysis, design thinking, research interpretation, drawing, painting, model building, AutoCAD drafting, resume, portfolio, 3D previsualization, and other digital design applications and processes.
The M.F.A. in Scenic Design combines a solid classroom curriculum with diverse opportunities for realized design work: these are the foundation for the training. Working professionals offer intensive instruction in both classroom and studio settings.
Coursework is equally balanced and enhanced with participation in production work, within an atmosphere of healthy collaboration and effective communication. To ensure a deep understanding of related fields, the scenic design curriculum allows for elective coursework in Costume Design, Lighting Design, Theatre Technology, and Sound Design.Learn more about requirements in our Student Portal
Our M.F.A candidates are assigned to be scenic designers on three to four productions to design during their tenure in the program. As part of your assistantship (20 hours/week), you receive hands-on professional training in the scenic studio with the building, painting and prop acquisition of the department’s productions.
Candidates also take on positions of leadership with assigned scenic charge artist or property master positions under the guidance of the Properties and Scenic Paint Supervisor. In addition, candidates lead teams of undergraduate scenic studio employees during the build of productions and may assist faculty designers.
One production in the third year will be designated as the M.F.A. thesis project, which will be documented and evaluated by the Thesis Committee.
You will complete the M.F.A. with a diverse portfolio of realized designs, highly developed research process, collaborative and communication skills, a professional design process, production leadership experience, and a rich understanding of the breadth and depth of scenic design.
Reuben Lucas, assistant professor and head of Scenic Design
Reuben has a varied professional design portfolio, which includes scenic and projection designs for theatre and museum exhibits. His designs have been seen onstage at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, National Theatre Conservatory, Theatre Aspen, Indiana Festival Theatre, Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, Curious Theatre Company, among others. He is the head of the graduate scenic design program at Indiana University in Bloomington and continues freelance designing as well. Before Indiana University, he was a Chicago-based freelance associate scenic and exhibit designer on museum and theatre projects at various national companies. Additionally, he served as the resident scenic design associate at the Denver Center Theatre Company for four years. Reuben received his M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.
You are admitted into the program after proving competency as shown by your portfolio, statement of goals and required interview. Judgments of portfolio, writing quality and professional potential are made by members of the Design and Technology Faculty Committee.