Skip to main content.

Theatre BFA - Design/Technology Concentration

(HEGIS: 10.07 DRAMATIC ARTS, CIP: 50.0501 Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General)

Department of Theatre and Dance

285 Alumni Arena
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-5030

Anne Burnidge
Chair, Department of Theatre & Dance

Dyan Burlingame
Director of Theatre BFA, Design & Technology Concentration

Veronica Sedota
Assistant to the Chair

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Why study Theatre BFA - Design/Technology Concentration at UB?

The BFA in Theatre with a Design & Technology concentration is for students interested in developing specific skills and who are willing to commit to structured, intensive, studio-based training. In the classroom, you learn to recognize your inspiration, analyze it, connect it to the script and communicate your vision. In the Center for the Arts you work with professionals to realize those ideas through the execution of the production process. Student designers, technicians and stage managers work side by side with faculty directors and designers and with the CFA staff. Our program provides students with challenging and sophisticated opportunities to learn in the classroom and to apply that learning through the actual process of designing and building departmental productions in a variety of venues.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will have knowledge of:

Scenographic Practice

(Theatrical Design: Costumes, light, projection, sets, and sound)

  • Visual Imagination - Simultaneity of analytical and abstract thinking used to produce art in response to a text. Fearlessness in artistic expression based on ability to clearly articulate a design concept
  • Graphic Communication Clarity of design ideas expressed through visuals: drafts, renderings, and models, light plots, etc.
  • Research Methods - Period Styles; Use of resources (print & digital) effectively to support a design idea

Theatrical Production

(Fabrication and Engineering of Elements and Systems for the Stage)

  • Materiality
  • Craftsmanship
  • Ability to move the theoretical to reality multiple solutions to a technical problem are explored
  • Identifying high and low tech solutions to design problems, and knowing the value of one over the other
  • Understandings the role of aesthetics in the engineering of clothes and scenery, appreciating the importance of function (as in physical requirements) and appearance (as to appropriately communicate a design idea to an audience)

Organization and Time Management

  • Ability to bring thought to action
  • Interpersonal dynamics: ability to listen and be heard
  • Situation assessment and ability to formulate questions
  • Supporting an ensemble and honoring the importance of the individual (essential cog in the production engine)
  • Ability to create a prompt book, show bible, working drawings, and signal paths


Establishing good working relationships such as:

  • Between director/choreographer and design team in the creation of an original staged work
  • Between the performer, space, sound and light in order to convey theme/story/idea
  • Between designer and technician (a shop)
  • Working outside your comfort zone; ability to dovetail your thinking to someone else's point of view
  • Visual storytelling

Production Theory & Protocol

  • Industry standards as set forth by: Actors' Equity Association, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, League of Resident Theatres, United Scenic Artists, the United States Institute for Theatre Technologies, Broadway and National Tours
  • Observation learning as industry professionals cross-pollinate with students in lab environments

The Learning Environment

The Department of Theatre & Dance offers a comprehensive catalog of courses including seminar-based instruction, studio training and hands-on mentoring through experiential learning opportunities. All modes seek to integrate theoretical and practical instruction. Seminar and lecture courses, ranging from 20 to 100 seats, engage students in discussion on historical trends, contemporary practice, philosophical and aesthetic principles, criticism and analysis, and technical skills. Studio courses apply theory to technique in small, practice-based classes ranging from 16 to 28. Coursework often includes attendance at live performances as well participation in live production and contributes to the development of professional portfolios, performance reels and academic resumes. Practicums, tutorials, and independent studies supplement classwork with focused, in-depth exploration of the discipline through close mentorship with faculty and guest artists.

About Our Facilities

UB’s Department of Theatre & Dance boasts an array of resources for both instruction and practical preparation for productions, including performance and classroom space in the Center for the Arts on UB’s North Campus. Within the CFA students directly benefit from the use of:

  • The Drama Theatre: a 388-seat theatre 
  • The Black Box Theatre: a flexible space with seating of 100-120
  • Rehearsal Workshop: a mirror image of the Black Box Theater used for acting classes and rehearsals
  • Dance Studios: 4 spacious studios with full-length mirrors, Marley floors, and specially designed sound systems
  • Scene Shop
  • Costume Shop
  • Craft Studio
  • Katharine Cornell Theatre: a unique performance space that functions as a rehearsal room, acting classroom and performance venue.
  • Alumni Arena: includes the Design Suite with drafting studio, lighting lab and 10-seat computer lab; an acting classroom and rehearsal space; dance studio; a seminar room; and departmental offices.

About Our Faculty

In Theatre & Dance you will study with active practitioners and internationally recognized scholars who are dedicated to the development of the next generation of theatre and dance artists, teachers, and supporters. UB’s Theatre & Dance Faculty are members of professional networks including Actor’s Equity Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Society for Theatre Research, Dance Masters of America, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, National Dance Education Organization, Stage Actors Guild, and United Scenic Artists. They have extensive professional experience in directing, designing, dramaturgy, and performance on and off Broadway, on regional stages, in major dance festivals, in documentaries, and in film and television work. Twenty-five full-time faculty members along with adjuncts from the professional community, production staff, and Teaching Assistants from our graduate programs in support our undergraduate programs.

Faculty List Directory

Please visit the Department of Theatre and Dance website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

The skills required for success in the performing arts are broadly applicable across a range of professional careers. UB Theatre & Dance Alumni work on international and national stages, at private and public sector institutions, and lead major production companies as well as their own Internet start-ups. Our graduates work in film, television, and a wide array of live events. Many of our students have received national recognition for their design work and have been awarded full scholarships at prestigious graduate schools in design, technology and management programs.

Career Paths Include:

  • College Professor/Academia
  • Company Director/Artistic Director
  • Costume Designer
  • Director: Stage, Film, Media Entertainment
  • Lighting Designer
  • Presentation Consultant
  • Producer
  • Production Manager
  • Set Designer
  • Sound Designer
  • Stage Manager
  • Technical Director

See more alumni achievements.

Academic Advising

First semester students are required to meet with their academic advisor. All students are expected to meet with their departmental major advisor each semester to ensure progress toward your degree. In addition to the major advisor, students meet with an academic advisor through the College of Arts & Sciences regarding general education requirements. Area Directors also provide close mentorship and oversight of students’ schedules, academic and artistic progress, and professional development.

Prospective majors should also arrange for an interview with the department academic advisor to ensure they are taking courses in the proper sequence and to obtain the most benefit from departmental advisement.

Academic Advising Contact Information

Email the Department of Theatre and Dance

Scholarships and Financial Support

Students in this program may qualify for scholarships and financial support from a number of sources, including:

  • The Perry Watkins scholarship is available to African American freshman students majoring in design/technology. Talent-based scholarships are also available to all students. Auditions, portfolios, and a personal interview are required for all scholarship students
  • UB Financial Aid, including Scholarships
  • Nationally Competitive Fellowships and Scholarships
  • UB College of Arts and Sciences Scholarships and Awards

Associated Programs

Associated Subjects

Published: Feb 01, 2023 08:51:15