Theatre Design and Technical Production

  • Stage production
  • Actors on stage
  • Student at computer with headset
  • Two people welding

“This program is a superstar in undergraduate theatre education. Western Michigan University is considered an elite program, with some of the highest quality students in the nation.” —Brant Pope, chair, Department of Drama and Dance, University of Texas-Austin

The Bachelor of Fine Arts program in design and technical production accepts up to 15 students each year, allowing for small classes and one-on-one interaction with the faculty. A comprehensive curriculum is offered in scenery, costumes, lighting and sound. The curriculum is designed to give students a general overview of all aspects of theatre production, as well as advanced course work in specific areas.

Students work as designers and technicians on fully produced, faculty-directed productions in three different theatre spaces using state-of-the-art equipment. Technical assistantships and work-study assignments are also available in all production areas and provide additional opportunities for hands-on, practical experience. Master classes with nationally recognized, professional artists are provided to expand the academic experience beyond the classroom even further.

Students study their craft in a state-of-the-art Design Studio with 24 CADD workstations at custom designed drafting tables. A large scene shop is located on site and is equipped for metal and wood construction. The department also maintains a costume shop with dye facilities, a lighting lab, automated fixtures, and digital audio and projection systems. Our advanced facilities ensure that students are exposed to the most current technology.


Preparing Your Interview

Candidates will interview with members of the theatre design faculty and staff.  The interview is designed to allow the potential student an opportunity to show their work in theater and the arts and share any information about themselves and their interest in the theatre. Please note that a formal portfolio presentation with realized design work is not necessary to have a successful interview. For the interview, dress professionally and comfortably.  Present yourself and your work in a way that allows you to make the best impression possible.
Applicants should bring any of the following items to their interview:
  • Resume 
  • Photos of Theatre Production Work
  • Designs 
  • Any other art or design-related work (art projects, photography or schoolwork)
  • Examples of carpentry, sewing, craft skills, etc.
  • Examples of any drafting (may be architectural, industrial, mechanical, etc.)
  • Graphic work or projects (posters, programs, t-shirt designs, etc.)
For candidates living more than 200 miles from campus, please contact Kathryn Wagner here for information regarding the option of scheduling a Skype interview and instructions on uploading your portfolio for this interview.

Watch this video for more information on how to prepare for your interview:

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The Department of Theatre makes annual awards of scholarships in several categories and for varying amounts. These are made in recognition of the variety of talents necessary for success in the performance, design, technical, stage management, and arts management areas of the theatre.

Explore Scholarships


Professionally, our alumni work at all levels of the industry including educational theatre, civic theatre, regional theatres Off-Broadway and even on Broadway in productions including Avenue Q, Jersey Boys, South Pacific, Sundays in the Park With George, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Phantom of the Opera. We have additionally placed students in related industries with companies like Pixar, Cirque de Soleil, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander and Meyer Sound Laboratories. 

For further information on Department of Theatre majors or the minor, email Debra Gambino, academic advisor.