Design and Production

BFA in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Design and Production

About the concentration

As a first-year student, you’ll enjoy a rotation through our shops, learning the vocabulary, techniques and practices of each discipline. You’ll learn both the technical and design aspects of each area. In costume, you’ll learn to read a pattern, sew, analyze a script and craft renderings. In lighting, you’ll learn the function of each instrument and how to hang them properly and safely. In scenic design, you’ll learn how to make models and construct flats. In scenic construction, you’ll learn how to read drafting, work with numerous tools and build a set. A lab component in each area will give you hands-on experience directly related to a mainstage production in the ECU/Loessin Playhouse.

You’ll select an area of focus within the concentration: scenic design, scenic painting, properties, scenic construction, costume design, costume construction, lighting design or electrics.

As a sophomore, you’ll study stage management and immerse yourself in higher-level scenic, costume, lighting and sound design classes. You’ll take on special projects, like a show assignment, or a custom project that suits your interests. Perhaps you’d like to compare the process of draping a costume for an actor to the use of a commercial pattern, or perhaps you’ll want to design a show for a non-proscenium space. You’ll present and refine a portfolio of work prior to the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) or other conferences so you can begin making industry connections and seek summer employment.

As a junior, you’ll serve in a position within a production, as paint charge, props master, assistant props master or assistant costume designer, or you’ll direct a major build for a stage element. You might serve as assistant lighting or scenic designer. Your professors will support you as you test your limits. Once you’ve reached an assistant position, you’ll participate in production meetings.

In your senior year, you’ll complete a capstone portfolio project in whichever area you’ve selected. Perhaps you’ll serve as a technical director, master electrician, sound designer, paint charge, props master, costume designer, scenic designer or shop supervisor.

To strengthen your abilities and create an understanding and respect of each area within the school, you’ll experience classes in performance, movement and possibly dance.

As a senior, you’ll enroll in the capstone portfolio class, through which you’ll demonstrate your expertise. Perhaps you’ll be the scenic designer on a large project, or serve as the technical director, master electrician, sound designer for a major production. The opportunity exists so that you can demonstrate and document your expertise, which in turn will prepare you for employment in the field.

Student experiences

Many students join the Design and Production Club, an organization that supports professional practice. Design and Production students participate in the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) to compete in design and technical categories and find summer employment and first jobs. Some students attend USITT conferences, a convening of the association for theatre and live entertainment production professionals.

Stellar lighting design students may apply for the Howell Binkley Internship. Mr. Binkley (BFA ‘77) is a decorated lighting designer, with multiple Helen Hayes, Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards for shows including Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jersey Boys and Hamilton.

The selected student will work with Binkley’s lighting company on Broadway and regional theatre projects, becoming intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the company and in the developmental process of the designer himself. The recipient receives a stipend.


How do I learn more about the program?

Contact Delta Childers-Smith at or 252-328-6338.


Jason Ammons, scenic design

Dorothy Austin-Harrell, properties

Jeni Parker, stage management

Reid Parker, design and production/production manager

Rebekah Rose, costume shop supervisor

Michael Shoaf, lighting/sound design

Delta Childers-Smith, costume design/Design and Production area coordinator