Theatre Technology, BA

As a Theatre Technology student, you’ll gain a comprehensive overview of the practice of technical theatre in production and stage management. At Columbia, we produce up to 40 performances a year, so you’ll try your hand at many technical skills, from costume and set design to lighting and sound. You’ll join a diverse group that is the very definition of an ensemble and form bonds across disciplines: Actors, directors and playwrights work closely with their team members in design and tech. And the bonds you create will last for years as you move from Columbia into the professional world together. You’ll tap into a thriving network of performers and theatre professionals in the Chicago community. You’ll also gain a strong historic and theoretical foundation to help you thrive in any profession after graduation.

What to Expect Your First Year

Theatre students from all disciplines and majors come together in a first-year Theatre Foundation course. In your first-semester Theatre Making course, we’ll explore the artistic processes of theatre making within the contemporary landscape of the discipline. You’ll be part of a small cohort of students from all backgrounds working together in a collaborative atmosphere.

As a Theatre Technology student, you’ll get involved right away. You’ll have a chance to crew, hang lights, and build sets and costumes. You’ll crew the Main Stage shows as well as student-driven work. You’ll build puppets and create a spectacle for Manifest, our end-of-the-year celebration.

What to Expect Your Last Year

Over the course of your study, you will have worked on more than a dozen shows, constructing costumes, programming concerts, managing productions and crafting everything from makeup prosthetics to staircases. Your Career class will have helped you develop an impressive portfolio and keen interview skills. You’ll know about job possibilities that you never knew existed.

With your passion for creation, your training, and the sheer volume of production work you’ve accomplished, you’ll begin thinking about what you want to do after you graduate. You’ll work with faculty to identify your options: joining companies in town, starting your own theatre company, or touring. You can tap into Columbia’s vast network of support to launch your career: peers, alumni, internship supervisors, and your faculty advisors, who are now your mentors.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

You’ll have interdisciplinary opportunities to explore related areas. If your focus is on makeup or costumes, you can find opportunities to collaborate with Fashion, Cinema Art and Science, or Television students and faculty. If you focus on lighting, you’ll likely have the chance to apply your skills in concert lighting and dance. Scenic design works with Cinema as well, and with exhibitions and installations.

What are my internship options?

Internships are strongly suggested for juniors and seniors. They emphasize your exposure to professional theatre and expand your awareness of the industry.

The internship experience in Theatre Technology can be diverse. You may work as a crew member in a professional theatre, sometimes as an assistant stage manager or assistant technical director. You may work weekly on many aspects of creating and maintaining a theatre’s season, or you may work on a specific show for a brief, intense period. Often you will assist one of the faculty members on their professional work. Internships are crafted to your interests, skill sets and schedule.

We host two internship fairs each academic year, with attendees ranging from prominent theaters like Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens and the Goodman to small storefronts and everything in between.


Admissions


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