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Theatre - Design and Technical Theatre, BA , Track

Overview

Designers and Technicians receive the benefit of a focused and individualized education from six full-time faculty and professional staff members. Students participate in a sophisticated and demanding production system that provides multiple leadership opportunities in all technical areas.  As students advance through their degree, DeSales faculty and staff encourage students to hone their skills by choosing to concentrate in a specific discipline of theatrical design or production.  The combination of rigorous theatrical courses, intensive hands-on experience, and outside workshops attributes to the success of our highly sought after alums.

Areas of Concentration:  Scene Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Sound Design, Stage Management, Technical Production and Costume Production.

Unique to DeSales is the chance to work with seasoned professionals from the University-hosted Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

Program highlights feature:

  • A professional faculty of scholar/artists
  • Beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities
  • Critically acclaimed productions attended by 25,000 patrons annually
  • Scores of studio productions
  • Study abroad opportunities at the same cost as a term at DeSales
  • A long list of successful alumni

Admissions Requirements

At DeSales, we not only look at your past academic and artistic achievement, but also your potential for future growth to determine your admission.

As a performing arts candidate you must apply and be accepted both academically to DeSales University and artistically to the major.

Academic Acceptance
We encourage you to apply early in your senior year. We use a rolling admissions system, which means you will be notified promptly about your admissions status—usually within four weeks of our receipt of your completed application.

Priority deadline for scholarship consideration is December 1 of your senior year.

We find that students who have demonstrated significant achievement within a demanding curriculum are best suited for academic life at DeSales. Quality of academic performance plays a critical role in the admissions decision making process. This helps indicate a student's potential for academic growth going forward. DeSales University welcomes applications from all qualified students regardless of race, religion, sex, national, or ethnic origin.

Apply Academically 

Artistic Acceptance
To be accepted artistically into a performing arts major, you must audition/interview for our faculty during our annual Scholarship Audition/Interview Day(s) hosted on the DeSales campus.

Apply Artistically 

Application Checklist

  • Application Fee: None
  • Transcripts: Official High School Transcript
  • Recommendations: Completed Guidance Counselor Form and Teacher Recommendation Form
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT scores—official from the College Board or on your official high school transcript.

All materials can be mailed to:
DeSales University Admissions Office
2755 Station Ave.
Center Valley, PA 

Auditions / Scholarship Day

To be accepted artistically into a performing arts major, you must audition/interview for our faculty during our annual Scholarship Audition/Interview Day(s) hosted on the DeSales campus.

Additional recommendations

Remember, there is no single preferred high school academic program, but a college preparatory course of study is highly recommended. Here's an example:

  • Four years of English
  • Three or four years of college preparatory mathematics
  • A minimum of two years of modern, foreign, or classical language
  • At least two laboratory science courses
Learn more about Undergraduate Admissions & Aid

Curriculum

The B.A. in Theatre at DeSales is designed to provide students with varied opportunities to grow as artists, as scholars, and as maturing human beings. 

Design and Technical Theatre

Receive the benefits of focused, individual attention from our full-time design and technology faculty and staff members. You'll participate in a sophisticated and demanding production system that provides multiple leadership opportunities to develop proficiency in all technical areas, including stage management, and may choose to concentrate in a particular area of interest.

Courses Offered

Introduction to Theatre Technology. An introduction to the backstage crafts of theatre production. This lecture and laboratory course is designed to give students experience in backstage and shop safety, production techniques, and the terminology of technical theatre. Half of the semester is spent in the scene shop and half is spent in the costume shop. The course requires participation on two backstage crews for ACT ONE productions.

Costume History. A study of clothing styles from early civilization to the present day with emphasis on research and the creation of visual reference collection.

Elements of Design. A beginning course designed to acquaint the student with an understanding of the individual elements of design composition. Students will combine the elements of design to create imaginative and individual artistic statements within a theatrical context.

Stagecraft. An in-depth look at safety in the workplace and advanced construction techniques. The course include instruction in advanced joinery, rigging, and welding techniques. Theoretical and practical work is involved.

Scene PaintingA course of instruction in painting for the stage. The classroom experience will include lecture and discussion of theory and practical application of those theories as actual painted objects. Projects begun in class will be completed as studio homework.

Stage Management. A course that explores the techniques and methods used in stage management for all types of  theatrical productions. Emphasis is put on production books, blocking, calling cues, and communication with the production team, director, and actors.

Drafting and Draping. An introduction to pattern drafting and draping for theatrical costumes. Students will learn to draft from measurements , to manipulate basic patterns for different forms of clothing, and fundamentals of draping a garment.

Stage Make-up. An introduction to the treatment of materials, theory, and application, of character, three dimensional, old age, and fantasy make-up.

Introduction to Lighting Technology. An introduction to the basic mechanics of lighting for the theatre. The course will cover basic electricity, instruments, accessories, lighting control systems, paperwork, troubleshooting, and organization of a production for lighting. Each student is required to work on department productions.

Basic Design, Scenery. A consideration of principles and techniques of set design. Fundamentals of drafting will be taught. Emphasis will be placed on research, development, and communication of the design.

Basic Design, Costume. A consideration of the principles and techniques of costume design. Emphasis will be placed on research, development, and communication of the design.

Basic Design, Lighting. A consideration of the principles and techniques of lighting design. Emphasis will be placed on research, development, and communication of the design.

Basic Design and Production Sound. A consideration of the principles and techniques of sound design. Emphasis will be placed on research, development, and communication of the design including the selecting and editing of sound music. The production segment will deal with the principles and practice of setting up and operation of sound systems for theatrical productions.

Special Topics in Design/Technology. An opportunity for faculty to present a topic of specialized focus not covered extensively elsewhere in the Design/Technology curriculum.

Technical Drawing. An introduction to the standard practices of drafting used in the execution of design for the stage. Drafting projects in the areas of sets and lights will be required of all students.

CAD Drafting for the Theatre. This course will take the concepts learned in TR-250 Technical Drawing and apply them to the computer. Students will learn to draft 2-dimensional scenery and lighting in both Vectorworks and AutoCAD using industry standart practice. Course fee.

Patterning and Draping. A course that explores the advanced techniques and methods employed in patterning and draping. Emphasis is placed on using flat-patterning computer software.

Advanced Lighting Design. Advanced theoretical study and practice in the area of lighting design, Diverse design methodologies, advanced technology, and troubleshooting techniques will be discussed.

Design/Technology Seminar. A seminar in theatre for Design and Technology sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Students examine and integrate key elements in the design/technology curriculum and undertake career planning. Various projects, workshops, field trips, and guest lectures will be utilized. The students in the course will meet as a group throughout the semester and will also have individualized mentoring and instruction.

Independent Study. Enables qualified Theatre majors to initiate, plan and carry out a private investigation in any area of theatre. The proposal for such a project must be submitted to a department faculty member for his/her approval in the semester prior to registration for the course. Permission of department chair is also required.

Facilities

Main Stage Theatre Design and Tech

Main Stage Theatre

The Main Stage Theatre is the primary performance space for the department. It is a contemporary, proscenium facility with an extended apron. The auditorium seats 473 in an orchestra and balcony arrangement. The stage house features a trapped stage and a t-track counterweight system with an auxiliary pinrail. The proscenium opening is 37′-10″ wide and 18′-0″ high and the stage is approximately 38′ deep above the plaster line. The grid is 42′-0″ above the stage deck, and the wingspace is approximately 16′ deep on stage right and 29′ deep on stage left.

Schubert Theatre

The Schubert Theatre is a flexible performing space that offers students experience in non-proscenium technique. The theatre, in its usual configuration, will seat 200. It is an exceptionally intimate space, with the furthest seat being no more than twenty-five feet from the stage. The stage consists of a low platform built as a sprung floor, suitable for dance. The stage is approximately 20′-0″ wide and 32′-0″ deep with an open pipe grid.

Studio Theatre

Studio Theatre

The Studio Theatre serves as a classroom for Acting and Directing, and as a performance space for Act Two productions. Located in the addition on the North end of the building, the Studio Theatre is generally configured as an intimate proscenium space. The stage is approximately 24′-0″ wide and 20′-0″ deep. The auditorium has a seating capacity of approximately 100.

Theatre Scene Shop

Scene Shop

The DeSales University Scene Shop oversees the construction of the scenery for the Act One, Second Stage, Act III, and Spring Dance Ensemble productions during the school year.  During the summers, the Scene Shop is utilized by professional carpenters, welders, and riggers for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.  The Scene Shop is equipped with a variety of stationary power tools for carpentry construction as well as a large inventory of pneumatic and power hand tools.  In addition to carpentry tools, the Scene Shop is also fully stocked with metal working tools, including an Oxy/Acetylene Torch and new Millermatic MIG Welder, and two Metal Cut Saws.  The growing inventory of motion control equipment currently includes two motors, pneumatic cylinders, and a large variety of accessories such as sprockets, switches and valves.

Theatre Costume Shop

Costume Shop/Dressing Rooms

The DeSales University Costume Shop oversees the patterning and creation of the costumes for the Act One, Second Stage, Act III, and Spring Dance Ensemble during the school year. It is also home to the professional costuming staff of the summer Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Students have access to ten computerized domestic sewing machines and two domestic sergers, as well as an industrial blind hemmer, two industrial sewing machines, one industrial long-arm machine, two industrial overlock machines, and two industrial gravity-feed irons. Costume storage is shared between the University and the Festival, and is located in three spaces on campus in addition to storage within the shop itself. A separate dye and craft room off the Costume Shop is home to a 30-gallon dye vat as well as a washer and industrial-grade triple-load dryer. Our two full-sized cutting tables, curtained fitting area, and two spacious dressing rooms ensure that students receive a professional and engaging experience in costume technology. As a bonus, stitchers and designers enjoy the luxury of natural light thanks to a full bay of windows along the north wall.

Theatre Lighting Loft

Lighting

The lighting loft is a series of rooms and hallways where the majority of our lighting stock and accessories are kept. Our inventory count, between the Mainstage, Schubert, and Studio theater, is approximately 500 lights, including 3 Robert Juliet Super Korrigan Followspots. We keep a very generous gel and template stock as well.  There are two lighting / sound booths in Labuda. In the mainstage, the booth houses an ETC ION light board, the mainstage’s Clear Com system, and is storage for all of Labuda’s audio equipment as well as a work station and 16 wireless microphones. Upstairs in the balcony of the mainstage, lives our Midas Verona 400 with a designated computer station for running SFX.

Theatre Sound Booth

Sound

Mainstage

  • Yamaha CL5 Digital Mixing Console
  • Yamaha Rio 3224 Digital IO Rack Unit
  • 28 Channels of Shure ULXD4Q Wireless Microphones
  • Mac Mini Running QLab via Dante Virtual Soundcard
  • Windows Control Computer Running CL Editor, Dante Controller, NWare Kiosk (Media Matrix), and Shure Wireless Workbench
  • Media Matrix Digital Audio Distribution and Processing System
  • Redundant Dante Digital Audio Networking Infrastructure
  • Flexible, Distributed House Sound System with 30 Permanently Installed Speakers
  • Clear-Com Intercom System with Wireless Intercom Integration
  • Audio and Video Program Monitoring System for Booth, Dressing Rooms, and Backstage Areas
  • Dedicated Assistive Listening System
  • Wireless Control of CL5 Console and Media Matrix via iPad

Schubert

  • Yamaha CL1 Digital Mixing Console
  • Yamaha Rio 1608 Digital IO Rack Unit
  • Mac Mini Running QLab via Dante Virtual Soundcard
  • Windows Control Computer Running CL Editor, Dante Controller, and NWare Kiosk (Media Matrix)
  • Media Matrix Digital Audio Distribution and Processing System
  • Redundant Dante Digital Audio Networking Infrastructure
  • Flexible, Distributed House Sound System with 12 Permanently Installed Speakers
  • Clear-Com Intercom System with Wireless Intercom Integration
  • Audio and Video Program Monitoring System for Booth, Dressing Rooms, and Backstage Areas
  • Dedicated Assistive Listening System
  • Wireless Control of CL1 Console and Media Matrix via iPad

Careers & Internships

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for actors is expected to be faster than the average for all occupations through 2026.

Job growth in the motion picture industry will stem from continued strong demand for new movies and television shows. The same trend is expected for various director positions and producer jobs through the same period.

Applying Your Skills

DeSales theatre majors have the opportunity to learn experimentally through professional internships with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, a world class professional regional theatre located on the DeSales campus.  Additionally, professional internships are available with partner theatre companies and casting agencies in Ireland and London.

Tuition & Fees

DeSales can help make your college expenses affordable through a combination of grants, loans, student employment, and scholarship resources.

Cost of attendance for undergrads for 2020-2021

Resident Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $38,500

Room and Board - $13,300
Mandatory Fees - $1,000
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200
Total = $53,000 (including freshman/transfer fees)

Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $674
Personal Expenses - $3,720
Total cost for resident students: $57,394

Commuter Students

Direct Costs
Tuition - $38,500
Mandatory Fees - $1,000
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200
Total = $39,700 (including freshman/transfer fees)

Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $674
Personal Expenses - $3,720
Transportation Costs - $2,370
Total cost for commuter students: $46,464

Off-Campus*

Direct Costs
Tuition - $38,500
Mandatory Fees - $1,000
One-time Orientation Fee for Freshmen and Transfers - $200
Total = $39,700 (including freshman/transfer fees)

Indirect Costs
Books/Supplies - $674
Personal Expenses - $3,720
Transportation Costs - $2,370
Living Expenses - $7,250
Total cost for off-campus students: $53,714
*First year students are required to reside on campus or commute from home.

Parking Fee - $75

Dual Degree Undergraduate-to-Graduate Programs

If you are enrolled in an undergraduate-to-graduate degree program — for example a 5-year, 3+2, 3+3, program — the undergraduate tuition and fees apply only to the undergraduate portion of the program. As you progress into the graduate phase of your program, graduate tuition and fees apply. Please see your respective graduate program for more information. 

The financial aid process may appear overwhelming at first glance, but don't worry, we'll help you through it.

Accepted students are automatically be considered for scholarships upon receipt of a completed application and are awarded regardless of financial need. Funds for scholarships are limited, so we do encourage students to apply early.

Our comprehensive financial aid packages carefully explain the types and amounts of assistance —including federal, state, and institutional — that you may be eligible for to help cover education related expenses.

Total cost of attendance includes estimates for tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal, transportation, and living expenses.

You can estimate your total cost of attendance with our Net Price Calculator

 
BrandonCarcella-quote
Because I knew I wanted to be a technical director or production manager, the thing that immediately attracted me to DeSales was the quality and style of the performance spaces and technical facilities. My study at DeSales has reinforced my love for the art. Theatre is beautiful and I am here to learn and do as much as I can. I want to work in theatre the rest of my life. Of all the lessons I have learned at DeSales, the ones that guide me most strongly are the qualities of collaboration and positivity. Both are crucial to the success of the art form and serve as great metaphors for our lives ahead.
Brandon Carcella - Theatre '21
Performing Arts Scholarship Day

Performing Arts Scholarship Days

As a candidate for the DeSales Dance, Theatre, or TV/Film majors, you must apply and be accepted academically and artistically. To be accepted artistically into one of the performing arts majors, you must interview with our programs' faculty during our annual Scholarship Audition/Interview Day(s) hosted on the DeSales campus.
Apply for a performing arts scholarship
Employers

Career Preparation from Day One

We're passionate about helping our students and alumni explore major and career options, find experiential education, and achieve post-graduation success in an evolving global world. 

Explore the Career Development Center

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

A leading Shakespeare festival with an emerging national reputation for excellence, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) is a professional theatre company on the campus of DeSales University.

Each summer, PSF produces a season of Shakespeare and other classics, musical theatre, and children’s theatre. 

Visit PSF
PA Shakespeare Festival at DeSales
DeSales Act1 Godspell 2018

Act 1 Performing Arts

Act 1 is DeSales University’s highly-acclaimed performing arts company featuring professional-caliber productions of plays and musicals, dance concerts, film festivals, and choral concerts.

Each year we welcome another group of eager young artists, all drawn to DeSales to hone their craft and create art that will inspire and entertain. We offer enchanting and provocative stories that will — with the mere rise of a curtain — unlock the limitlessness of your imagination. 

Learn More about Act 1