Whether it’s a dramatic stage production or a musical, a movie set or a television series, the final effect depends on a large group of people that the audience never sees — the professionals who work with the lighting, sound, costumes, set design and stage management. Elon’s theatrical design and production major will help you thrive as one of these professionals.
The theatrical design and production program emphasizes learning by doing. You get involved right away with significant jobs on Elon productions. Throughout your Elon years, you will put your skills and talent to the test by participating in musicals, plays, revues and workshops.
Elon faculty combine national and international professional theatre experience with a passion for teaching. They will work closely with you to identify your talents, sharpen your skills and deepen your understanding of all aspects of theatre. You also will make valuable professional contacts through faculty connections and participation in festivals, competitions and workshops.
“I had an opportunity to work in all aspects of the technical field, as well as experience life on campus. There are opportunities in the department that I believe you cannot get in a larger campus or at a conservatory, where you usually don’t get to have a major role on a show until your junior or senior year.”
Elon’s Bachelor of Arts degree in theatrical design and production is a well-rounded program designed to give majors a solid grounding in all aspects of theatre: performance, production, design, and theatre history and literature. Theatrical design and production majors also explore script analysis, directing and take several courses in design and production. These include technical production, scenic design, lighting design, costume design and construction, stage management, properties design and construction, scene painting, rendering, drafting and computer-aided drafting.
The Department of Performing Arts offers minors in theatre arts and dance, which complement the theatrical design and production program.
Elon’s theatrical design and production faculty combine years of professional experience with a passion for developing the talents of others. Their credits include Broadway productions, theatres throughout the nation and abroad, and television and film. They are dedicated to sharing that expertise with you. The mentoring relationships they build with students continue after graduation and the professional contacts they maintain are invaluable in helping you move from the academic world into the professional one.
Professional designers, performers and touring companies come to Elon each year to hold workshops and master classes. Recent visiting artists include Tony Walton, Scott Bradley, Olympia Dukakis, The Acting Company, Montana Repertory Theatre, the American Repertory Ballet, Pilobolus Dance Co., the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Trips frequently are taken to various design studios, such as William Ivey Longs, for private touring and instruction.
An interview/portfolio showing is required for entry to the A.B. theatrical design and production program. View a list of upcoming interview dates.
At Elon, you will put your talents to work in live productions beginning your first semester. Students are involved in all aspects of the production process, from making key decisions to the final curtain. Work/study positions are available in the scenic and costume shops, and working for Elon’s cultural programs office. Leadership opportunities include crew chief and management positions on productions.
Recent on-campus productions include “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cabaret,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Noises Off,” “Marriage of Bette and Boo,” “Music Man,” “The Cherry Orchard” and “Sweeney Todd.”
Students may be selected for Elon’s nationally recognized chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre honor society. The society provides recognition for outstanding participation in college theatre and serves as a producing student organization.
The theatrical design and production program is housed in the Center for the Arts, a 75,000-square-foot facility specifically designed for teaching and performance. The centerpiece stage is McCrary Theatre, a fully equipped performance space that seats 575. The 125-seat Yeager Recital Hall offers a more intimate setting, along with digital recording capabilities. The 100-seat Black Box Theatre can be configured to any arrangement, from proscenium to arena.
Behind the scenes, the Center for the Arts includes modular practice rooms and studios, rehearsal rooms, a scenery shop and costume shop, a design studio with SMART Board technology, computer labs, classrooms and Steinway concert grand pianos.
Through internships, summer theatre work and on-campus productions, you will have the opportunity to accumulate professional credits on your resume before you graduate. Most students work professionally between the spring and fall semesters at summer stock theatres all over the country. Elon’s involvement with the Southeastern Theatre Conference and United States Institute for Theatre Technology provides the chance for students to interview with dozens of professional companies each year. Before you move into the “real world,” you will have already built an impressive portfolio and made many useful professional contacts to help you begin your professional career.
Elon students have worked behind the scenes at venues such as:
Theatre studies majors frequently supplement their on-campus studies by participating in Elon’s nationally ranked study abroad program. In recent years, students have completed classical studies in Greece, fine arts residencies in London, and jobs and internships with the London Theatre.
A theatrical design and production degree opens doors to entry-level positions in a variety of venues. Elon’s job placement rate is excellent and the majority of graduates enter the professional world in stage management, production, design, arts management, casting direction, directing, acting, lighting and technical direction.
Those who desire further education often pursue M.F.A. degrees at universities all over the country. This is required of those who wish to teach at the college level. Students who wish to teach in the public school system may require further study to meet the needs of the public education standards in their state systems.
Regardless of the path you choose after Elon, the career preparation and coaching you will receive in Elon’s theatrical design and production program will make you a valuable commodity in the professional theatrical field.