Performance Production

Overview

On the live stage the actors and dancers are only part of the transformation that takes place. Costumes, scenery, lighting, and sound—these are the elements of transformation that bring the audience to a medieval castle, an Asian jungle, an apartment inHarlem, or someplace that exists solely in our minds.

When you enter Performance Production at Cornish, you’re joining an independent program, not an offshoot of another department. Whether you want to be a stage manager, technician or designer, you’ll have one-on-one experiences with both full-time faculty and adjunct professors—who themselves are working artists in Seattle’s theater community. In fact, it’s not uncommon for one of them to say, “Come with me” to a production in progress. Students have opportunities to observe and sometimes assist.

We tailor your training to your goals, immersing you in all tools of the stage trade, from the traditional to the technical. The program is by nature collaborative, and you’ll begin work immediately in building and staffing a number of main stage productions co-produced with the Theater and Dance departments each year. Paired with classes in history and the liberal arts, students emerge well rounded and prepared for successful careers.

Seattle itself is a city rich with live stages. The faculty, students, and alumni of Performance Production are fully woven into the fabric of Seattle’s theater scene, from ACT Theatre to Strawberry Theater Workshop to Seattle Children’s Theatre. We create relationships for students through internships with Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre Festival, Seattle Opera, and numerous other companies.

This is hands-on production. It’s where you create and manipulate stage magic. In Performance Production, you make the drama real.

Training Designed By Practicing Professionals

The Performance Production Department at Cornish College of the Arts is dedicated to educating the next generation of designers, technicians, and artisans who will create and manipulate the magic that surrounds the actors, dancers, and musicians on the live stage.Students seeking a career in Lighting, Costume, Scenic, or Sound Design, Stage Management, or Technical Direction are passionate about the work they want to do. The Performance Production Department at Cornish College of the Arts provides a unique environment for that student who is determined to pursue a career in the production elements of the performing arts. Decisions about curriculum and production issues are made by professionals in your own field. We tailor the training program to your needs, whether your goal is to be a designer, stage manager, technician, or artisan. In the classroom you will find an atmosphere open to curiosity, encouraging exploration to the limits of expression. Classroom work exposes you to the traditional tools of the trade: from perspective drafting to the techniques of pattern making, from basic electrical theory to the use of the computer in the sound studio. Beyond the classroom, you will be immediately engaged in the work of a busy production company, building and staffing seven main stage productions of the Dance, Music and Theater departments each year. Both in the classroom and in production, you will work with and learn from a faculty of accomplished designers and artists who are practicing professionals in the Pacific Northwest production community.


Curriculum

The purpose of the Performance Production Department is to educate students in the theory and practice of performance design, technology, and management through rigorous classroom and practical experiences, providing opportunities for students to become self-driven, collaborative, practicing artists of the highest quality. For the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Performance Production, students may choose to pursue one of the following six concentrations: Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scenic Design, Sound Design, Stage Management, or Technical Direction.

Model Program

Model Programs are updated at the beginning of each academic year. This PDF contains the current year’s model programs for this program. Students should refer to the model program that was in effect for the year and term of their entrance to Cornish.View archived catalogs and model programs.

Concentrations

Costume Design

Frequently the most exciting rehearsal during the technical process is the first dress, when the actor seems transformed into the character in a way that is stunning to observe. The Costume Designer must understand each character in the production both as individual and as member of the ensemble, and must have a conceptual grasp of both the text and the thrust of the particular production.

Read More

The Performance Production Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree concentration in Costume Design provides a carefully balanced curriculum including both highly practical hands-on experience and intensive focus on artistic development. From the first week of the first year, students find themselves engaged in the practice of production, building costumes, settings, and properties, working on production crews, building and running Theater, Dance and Music department shows. While Costume Design students will work in many different capacities on productions in their first year, their work will be increasingly focused in Costumes as they progress, so that the successful student will be working as primary Costume Designer on main stage productions in their final years.

As with all of the concentrations in Performance Production, the goal of the Costume Design Concentration is to ground the student in the traditions and well established techniques of the discipline, while encouraging them to develop their own unique artistic voice. The faculty, all highly accomplished professional designers and artists, provide students with mentorship, evaluation and both formal and informal feedback in classes, during the production process, and through regular student portfolio reviews.

First Year

The first year curriculum is designed to immerse the student in the fundamentals of production and design and is shared by all Performance Production concentrations. Students work in both shops, serving as the primary build crew for 7 main stage productions during the year. The Theater Graphics class is focused on development of the craft of graphic communication including drafting, rendering, and model building. Students begin their exploration of text with a year-long Literature of Theater sequence. They study the crafts and traditions of both the costume and scene shop in Fundamentals of Technical Production. During the spring semester, they begin to study the principles of design with Introduction to Production Design 2D. All first year students participate in the Integrated Studies program in Humanities and Sciences meeting and collaborating with students from all departments at Cornish. Integrated Studies creates a foundation for future study at the College by focusing on the strengthening of academic skills, particularly reading analysis, writing, critical thinking, and research.

Second Year

Students are given specifically targeted production assignments which involve increasing responsibilities and begin to hone in on the area of costumes. Each student will complete one or two primary assignments on crew or design teams during each semester. Lighting and Scenic classes round out the study of fundamentals, and students begin a sequence of courses in drawing both still life and the human form. In the fall, they continue the study of production design with Introduction to Production Design 3D, and Scenic Painting. The exciting and intensive Theater History sequence and electives or additional Humanities and Sciences coursework round out the busy second year schedule. Second year students also present their portfolio of work to the faculty at the end of the Spring semester. These portfolio reviews are designed to assist the student in preparing a professional portfolio by the time they complete the BFA degree.

Third Year

Intensive concentration in the practice and process of design is the hallmark of the third year. Production assignments are progressively more responsible, with students serving as heads of departments and assistants to designers on production teams by the end of the third year. Some advanced students may even find themselves designing a main stage show. Costume students will take Intermediate Studio in Costumes, digging deeper into the conceptual and practical approach to costume design. In addition they may select a second design concentration, or study stage management or technical direction in studio. Most Costume Design students will select from various life drawing electives available in the Art and Design Departments. The Theater History sequence continues with Contemporary Theater Studies, and the business of working as a freelance designer or technician is discussed in Technical Management. Students take elective courses in various areas, and continue their sequence of Humanities and Sciences courses. Portfolio reviews become more directly focused on selecting work for the professional portfolio, and on developing a style of presentation that best communicates the individual artist's work.

During the summer between their third and fourth years many students choose to do their Professional Internship, a full-time work experience with a professional arts organization or with an established artist working in the Costume area. This 12-week experience exposes the student to the realities of working in their chosen field and begins the important process of developing contacts in the professional world. Internships are arranged by the student with the assistance of the department and may satisfy up to 9 credits of in-major requirements. They may be taken at any time after the student has completed 60 credits toward the degree.

Fourth Year

Fourth year Costume Design students continue their formal design training with the Advanced Study in Costume Design sequence. Often working one on one, or in very small groups with their mentor, students work on advanced rendering skills, continue to develop their technical craft, and work toward thorough mastery of the operation of the costume shop. They are working as primary Costume Designers on main stage productions, and sometimes as designers in their secondary area of focus. Usually, they are completing their Humanities and Sciences requirements with elective courses of their choosing, and they are putting a great deal of energy into completing their portfolios and preparing for their final project. The Final Project is usually based on the Costume Design for a major production, and is documented with sketches, research, drawings, pictures, and an appropriate narrative. In their final semester, seniors make a formal public presentation of their portfolios. This public review is intended to launch the student into the local production community, and is well attended by staff of local performing arts organizations.

Lighting Design

It is said that if you can’t see an actor, you can’t hear the actor. Perhaps, but Lighting Design is about so much more than illumination. Without the Lighting Designer, the work of the other visual designers becomes invisible. It’s the Lighting Designer who reveals (or conceals) the world of the play, establishes the time of day, the time of the year, possibly even the geographical location. A lighting cue may establish movement, passage of time, motivation of characters, and a wide range of emotional states.

Read More

The Performance Production Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree concentration in Lighting Design provides a carefully balanced curriculum including both highly practical hands-on experience and intensive focus on artistic development. From the first week of the first year, students find themselves engaged in the practice of production, building costumes, settings, and properties, working on production lighting and sound crews, building and running Theater, Dance and Music department shows. While Lighting Design students will work in many different capacities on productions in their first year, their work will be increasingly focused in Lighting as they progress, so that the successful student will be working as primary Lighting Designer on main stage productions in their final years.

As with all of the concentrations in Performance Production, the goal of the Lighting Design Concentration is to ground the student in the traditions and well established techniques of the discipline, while encouraging them to develop their own unique artistic voice. The faculty, all highly accomplished professional designers and artists, provide students with mentorship, evaluation and both formal and informal feedback in classes, during the production process, and through regular student portfolio reviews.

First Year

The first year curriculum is designed to immerse the student in the fundamentals of production and design and is shared by all Performance Production concentrations. Students work in both shops, serving as the primary build crew for 7 main stage productions during the year. The Theater Graphics class is focused on development of the craft of graphic communication including drafting, rendering, and model building. Students begin their exploration of text with a year-long Literature of Theater sequence. They study the crafts and traditions of both the costume and scene shop in Fundamentals of Technical Production. During the spring semester, they begin to study the principles of design with Introduction to Production Design 2D. All first year students participate in the Integrated Studies program in Humanities and Sciences meeting and collaborating with students from all departments at Cornish. Integrated Studies creates a foundation for future study at the College by focusing on the strengthening of academic skills, particularly reading analysis, writing, critical thinking, and research.

Second Year

Students are given specifically targeted production assignments which involve increasing responsibilities and begin to hone in on the area of Lighting. Each student will complete one or two primary assignments on crew or design teams during each semester. Lighting and Scenic classes round out the study of fundamentals, and students begin a sequence of courses in drawing both still life and the human form. In the fall, they continue the study of production design with Introduction to Production Design 3D, and Scenic Painting. The exciting and intensive Theater History sequence and electives or additional Humanities and Sciences coursework round out the busy second year schedule. Second year students also present their portfolio of work to the faculty at the end of the Spring semester. These portfolio reviews are designed to assist the student in preparing a professional portfolio by the time they complete the BFA degree.

Third Year

Intensive concentration in the practice and process of design is the hallmark of the third year. Production assignments are progressively more responsible, with students serving as heads of departments and assistants to designers on production teams by the end of the third year. Some advanced students may even find themselves designing a main stage show. Lighting students will take Intermediate Studio in Lighting, digging deeper into the conceptual and practical approach to Lighting design. In this class, they begin working with the LIGHTBOX, our fiber-optic scale model lighting laboratory. In addition they may select a second design concentration, or study stage management or technical direction in studio. Most Lighting Design students will select from various electives available in the Art and Design Departments. The Theater History sequence continues with Contemporary Theater Studies, and the business of working as a freelance designer or technician is discussed in Technical Management. Students take elective courses in various areas, and continue their sequence of Humanities and Sciences courses. Portfolio reviews become more directly focused on selecting work for the professional portfolio, and on developing a style of presentation that best communicates the individual artist’s work.

During the summer between their third and fourth years many students choose to do their Professional Internship, a full-time work experience with a professional arts organization or with an established artist working in the Lighting field. This 12-week experience exposes the student to the realities of working in their chosen field and begins the important process of developing contacts in the professional world. Internships are arranged by the student with the assistance of the department and may satisfy up to 9 credits of in-major requirements. They may be taken at any time after the student has completed 60 credits toward the degree.

Fourth Year

Fourth year Lighting Design students continue their formal design training with the Advanced Study in Lighting Design sequence. Often working one on one, or in very small groups with their mentor, students work on advanced plotting and cueing skills, continue to develop their technical craft, and work toward thorough mastery of the equipment and process of the lighting profession. They are working as primary Lighting Designers on main stage productions, and sometimes as designers in their secondary area of focus. Usually, they are completing their Humanities and Sciences requirements with elective courses of their choosing, and they are putting a great deal of energy into completing their portfolios and preparing for their final project. The Final Project is usually based on the Lighting Design for a major production, and is documented with sketches, drawings, research, pictures, and an appropriate narrative. In their final semester, seniors make a formal public presentation of their portfolios. This public review is intended to launch the student into the local production community, and is well attended by staff of local performing arts organizations.

Scenic Design

The Scenic Designer is a true magician, transforming a tiny empty room into a vast open field, then in just 30 seconds converting it into a castle great room, or a third floor walk-up flat in the city. Not just any city, but New Orleans, in the summer, in 1935. Knowing how to create what you need, and not one thing more or less than you need, to help the audience enter into that “willing suspension of disbelief” that allows the performers to exist in the world of the play, instead of just trudging across an empty stage.

Read More

The Performance Production Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree concentration in Scenic Design provides a carefully balanced curriculum including both highly practical hands-on experience and intensive focus on artistic development. From the first week of the first year, students find themselves engaged in the practice of production, building costumes, settings, and properties, working on production lighting and sound crews, building and running Theater, Dance and Music department shows. While Scenic Design students will work in many different capacities on productions in their first year, their work will be increasingly focused in the area of scenery, props and paint as they progress, so that the successful student will be working as primary Scenic Designer on main stage productions in their final years.

As with all of the concentrations in Performance Production, the goal of the Scenic Design Concentration is to ground the student in the traditions and well established techniques of the discipline, while encouraging them to develop their own unique artistic voice. The faculty, all highly accomplished professional designers and artists, provide students with mentorship, evaluation and both formal and informal feedback in classes, during the production process, and through regular student portfolio reviews.

First Year

The first year curriculum is designed to immerse the student in the fundamentals of production and design and is shared by all Performance Production concentrations. Students work in both shops, serving as the primary build crew for 7 main stage productions during the year. The Theater Graphics class is focused on development of the craft of graphic communication including drafting, rendering, and model building. Students begin their exploration of text with a year-long Literature of Theater sequence. They study the crafts and traditions of both the costume and scene shop in Fundamentals of Technical Production. During the spring semester, they begin to study the principles of design with Introduction to Production Design 2D. All first year students participate in the Integrated Studies program in Humanities and Sciences meeting and collaborating with students from all departments at Cornish. Integrated Studies creates a foundation for future study at the College by focusing on the strengthening of academic skills, particularly reading analysis, writing, critical thinking, and research.

Second Year

Students are given specifically targeted production assignments which involve increasing responsibilities and begin to hone in on the areas of scenery, props and paint. Each student will complete one or two primary assignments on crew or design teams during each semester. Lighting and Scenic classes round out the study of fundamentals, and students begin a sequence of courses in drawing both still life and the human form. In the fall, they continue the study of production design with Introduction to Production Design 3D, and Scenic Painting. The exciting and intensive Theater History sequence and electives or additional Humanities and Sciences coursework round out the busy second year schedule. Second year students also present their portfolio of work to the faculty at the end of the Spring semester. These portfolio reviews are designed to assist the student in preparing a professional portfolio by the time they complete the BFA degree.

Third Year

Intensive concentration in the practice and process of design is the hallmark of the third year. Production assignments are progressively more responsible, with students serving as heads of departments and assistants to designers on production teams by the end of the third year. Some advanced students may even find themselves designing a main stage show. Scenic students will take Intermediate Studio in Scenic Design, digging deeper into the conceptual and practical approach to scenic design. In addition they may select a second design concentration, or study stage management or technical direction in studio. Most Scenic Design students will select from various drawing and history of art electives available in the Art and Design Departments. The Theater History sequence continues with Contemporary Theater Studies, and the business of working as a freelance designer or technician is discussed in Technical Management. Third year students continue their sequence of Humanities and Sciences courses. Portfolio reviews become more directly focused on selecting work for the professional portfolio, and on developing a style of presentation that best communicates the individual artist's work.

During the summer between their third and fourth years many students choose to do their Professional Internship, a full-time work experience with a professional arts organization or with an established artist working in the field of scenery, props, or painting. This 12-week experience exposes the student to the realities of working in their chosen field and begins the important process of developing

Fourth Year

Fourth year Scenic Design students continue their formal design training with the Advanced Study in Scenic Design sequence. Often working one on one, or in very small groups with their mentor, students work on advanced rendering, and model making skills, continue to develop their technical craft, and work toward thorough mastery of the equipment and process of the Scenic profession. They are working as primary Scenic Designers on main stage productions, and sometimes as designers in their secondary area of focus. Usually, they are completing their Humanities and Sciences requirements with elective courses of their choosing, and they are putting a great deal of energy into completing their portfolios and preparing for their final project. The Final Project is usually based on the Scenic Design for a major production, and is documented with sketches, drawings, research, pictures, and an appropriate narrative. In their final semester, seniors make a formal public presentation of their portfolios. This public review is intended to launch the student into the local production community, and is well attended by staff of local performing arts organizations

Sound Design

Wind howls across the bleak landscape, thunder is heard in the distance, the sound of footsteps becomes audible as the lights fade up from black. In just 20 seconds, in the dark, before any actor is on stage, the Sound Designer has transported the audience into the world of the play. Sound has such a visceral connection to the human psyche, the audience may even shiver when they hear that cold wind, and they can tell what direction those footsteps are coming from before they see the actor approach.

Read More

The Performance Production Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree concentration in Sound Design provides a carefully balanced curriculum including both highly practical hands-on experience and intensive focus on artistic development. From the first week of the first year, students find themselves engaged in the practice of production, building costumes, settings, and properties, working on production lighting and sound crews, building and running Theater, Dance and Music department shows. While Sound Design students will work in many different capacities on productions in their first year, their work will be increasingly focused in the area of sound as they progress, so that the successful student will be working as primary Sound Designer on main stage productions in their final years.<br />

As with all of the concentrations in Performance Production, the goal of the Sound Design Concentration is to ground the student in the traditions and well established techniques of the discipline, while encouraging them to develop their own unique artistic voice. The faculty, all highly accomplished professional designers and artists, provide students with mentorship, evaluation and both formal and informal feedback in classes, during the production process, and through regular student portfolio reviews.

First Year

The first year curriculum is designed to immerse the student in the fundamentals of production and design and is shared by all Performance Production concentrations. Students work in both shops, serving as the primary build crew for 7 main stage productions during the year. The Theater Graphics class is focused on development of the craft of graphic communication including drafting, rendering, and model building.&nbsp; Students begin their exploration of text with a year-long Literature of Theater sequence. They study the crafts and traditions of both the costume and scene shop in Fundamentals of Technical Production. During the spring semester, they begin to study the principles of design with Introduction to Production Design 2D.&nbsp; All first year students participate in the Integrated Studies program in Humanities and Sciences meeting and collaborating with students from all departments at Cornish.&nbsp; Integrated Studies creates a foundation for future study at the College by focusing on the strengthening of academic skills, particularly reading analysis, writing, critical thinking, and research.

Second Year

Students are given specifically targeted production assignments which involve increasing responsibilities and begin to hone in on the area of sound engineering and design. Each student will complete one or two primary assignments on crew or design teams during each semester. Most Sound Design students will take a Basic Sound Engineering course in their second year. Lighting and Scenic classes round out the study of fundamentals, and students begin a sequence of courses in drawing both still life and the human form. In the fall, they continue the study of production design with &nbsp;Introduction to Production Design 3D, and Scenic Painting. The exciting and intensive Theater History sequence and electives or additional Humanities and Sciences coursework round out the busy second year schedule. Second year students also present their portfolio of work to the faculty at the end of the Spring &nbsp;semester. These portfolio reviews are designed to assist the student in preparing a professional portfolio by the time they complete the BFA degree.

Third Year

Intensive concentration in the practice and process of design is the hallmark of the third year. Production assignments are progressively more responsible, with students serving as heads of departments and assistants to designers on production teams by the end of the third year. Some advanced students may even find themselves designing a main stage show. Sound students will take Intermediate Studio in Sound Design, digging deeper into the conceptual and practical approach to Sound design. In addition they may select a second design concentration, or study stage management or technical direction in studio. Most Sound Design students will select from electives available in the Music or Design Departments. The Theater History sequence continues with Contemporary Theater Studies, and the business of working as a freelance designer or technician is discussed in Technical Management. Third year students continue their sequence of Humanities and Sciences courses. Portfolio reviews become more directly focused on selecting work for the professional portfolio, and on developing a style of presentation that best communicates the individual artist&rsquo;s work.

During the summer between their third and fourth years many students choose to do their Professional Internship, a full-time work experience with a professional arts organization, a professional sound company, or with an established artist working with sound. This 12-week experience exposes the student to the realities of working in their chosen field and begins the important process of developing contacts in the professional world. Internships are arranged by the student with the assistance of the department and may satisfy up to 9 credits of in-major requirements.&nbsp; They may be taken at any time after the student has completed 60 credits toward the degree.

Fourth Year

Fourth year Sound Design students continue their formal design training with the Advanced Study in Sound Design sequence. Often working one on one, or in very small groups with their mentor, students continue to develop their design approach and technical craft, and work toward thorough mastery of the equipment and process of the Sound profession. They are working as primary Sound Designers on main stage productions, and sometimes as designers in their secondary area of focus. Usually, they are completing their Humanities and Sciences requirements with elective courses of their choosing, and they are putting a great deal of energy into completing their portfolios and preparing for their final project. The Final Project is usually based on the Sound Design for a major production, and is documented with audio samples, drawings, research, pictures, a recording of the soundscape of the production, and an appropriate narrative. In their final semester, seniors make a formal public presentation of their portfolios. This public review is intended to launch the student into the local production community, and is well attended by staff of local performing arts organizations.

Stage Management

At the hub of every production, connecting the actors with the director and designers and technicians, the Stage Manager is the most informed and the most necessary member of the team. Stage Managers make it all happen, they call the cues, organize the meetings, support the cast, assist the director, and control the flow of information. A good Stage Manager can make the most hectic and complex technical rehearsal a thing of joy and beauty to watch.

Read More

The Performance Production Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree concentration in Stage Management provides a carefully balanced curriculum including both highly practical hands-on experience and intensive focus on artistic development. From the first week of the first year, students find themselves engaged in the practice of production, building costumes, settings, and properties, working on production lighting and sound crews, building and running Theater, Dance and Music department shows. While Stage Management students will work in many different capacities on productions in their first year, their experience will be increasingly focused on the work of the Stage Manager as they progress, so that the successful student will be working as primary Stage Manager on main stage productions in their final years.

As with all of the concentrations in Performance Production, the goal of the Stage Management Concentration is to ground the student in the traditions and well established techniques of the discipline, while encouraging them to develop their own unique approach. The faculty, all highly accomplished professional designers and artists, provide students with mentorship, evaluation and both formal and informal feedback in classes, during the production process, and through regular student portfolio reviews.

First Year

The first year curriculum is designed to immerse the student in the fundamentals of production and design and is shared by all Performance Production concentrations. Students work in both shops, serving as the primary build crew for 7 main stage productions during the year. The Theater Graphics class is focused on development of the craft of graphic communication including drafting, rendering, and model building. Students begin their exploration of text with a year-long Literature of Theater sequence. They study the crafts and traditions of both the costume and scene shop in Fundamentals of Technical Production. During the spring semester, they begin to study the principles of design with Introduction to Production Design 2D. All first year students participate in the Integrated Studies program in Humanities and Sciences meeting and collaborating with students from all departments at Cornish. Integrated Studies creates a foundation for future study at the College by focusing on the strengthening of academic skills, particularly reading analysis, writing, critical thinking, and research.

Second Year

Students are given specifically targeted production assignments which involve increasing responsibilities and begin to hone in on the area of Stage Management. Each student will complete one or two primary assignments on crew or design teams during each semester. Most Stage Management students will take the Stage Management seminar course each semester in their second year. Lighting and Scenic classes round out the study of fundamentals, and students begin a sequence of courses in drawing both still life and the human form. In the fall, they continue the study of production design with Introduction to Production Design 3D, and Scenic Painting. The exciting and intensive Theater History sequence and electives or additional Humanities and Sciences coursework round out the busy second year schedule. Second year students also present their portfolio of work to the faculty at the end of the Spring semester. These portfolio reviews are designed to assist the student in preparing a professional portfolio by the time they complete the BFA degree.

Third Year

Intensive concentration in the practice and process of the field is the hallmark of the third year. Production assignments are progressively more responsible, with students serving as heads of departments and assistants to designers on production teams by the end of the third year. Stage Management students usually will be filling Assistant Stage Manager slots, and possibly will be selected as primary Stage Manager for a main stage show. Stage Management students will continue to take the Stage Management seminar class, where they learn both from faculty and from their fellow stage managers. Most Stage Management students also take Intermediate Studio in one of the design disciplines, digging into the conceptual and practical approach to the discipline they select. Most Stage Management students will select from electives available in the Theater, Music, Design or Art Departments (frequently Acting for Non-Majors). The Theater History sequence continues with Contemporary Theater Studies, and the business of working as a freelance designer or technician is discussed in Technical Management. Third year students continue their sequence of Humanities and Sciences courses. Portfolio reviews become more directly focused on selecting work for the professional portfolio, and on developing a style of presentation that best communicates the individual artist&rsquo;s work.

During the summer between their third and fourth years many students choose to do their Professional Internship, a full-time work experience with a professional arts organization. This 12-week experience exposes the student to the realities of working in their chosen field and begins the important process of developing contacts in the professional world. Internships are arranged by the student with the assistance of the department and may satisfy up to 9 credits of in-major requirements. They may be taken at any time after the student has completed 60 credits toward the degree.

Fourth Year

Fourth year Stage Management students may continue their formal training with the Stage Management course, or may choose to take independent studies or design electives. Often working one on one, or in very small groups with their mentor, students continue to develop their understanding of the stage management process. They are working as primary Stage Managers on main stage productions, and sometimes as designers or technical directors in their secondary area of focus. Usually, they are completing their Humanities and Sciences requirements with elective courses of their choosing, and they are putting a great deal of energy into completing their portfolios and preparing for their final project. The Final Project is usually based on the Stage Management for a major production, and is documented with a Production Notebook including calendars, blocking notes, and thorough documentation of the entire production process together with an appropriate narrative self-evaluation. In their final semester, seniors make a formal public presentation of their portfolios. This public review is intended to launch the student into the local production community, and is well attended by staff of local performing arts organizations.

Technical Direction

There is a standing joke among Technical Directors that they are pretty much invisible until something goes wrong. The fact is that the art of the Technical Director is the most all-encompassing in any company. Turning the ideas of the Scenic Designer and the rest of the production team into real, solid stage scenery that supports the performers and does the necessary tricks is immensely satisfying work. Successful completion of almost every single phase of moving the production into the theater and putting it before the audience depends on the work of the Technical Director.

Read More

The Performance Production Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree concentration in Technical Direction provides a carefully balanced curriculum including both highly practical hands-on experience and intensive focus on technical craft. From the first week of the first year, students find themselves engaged in the practice of production, building costumes, settings, and properties, working on production lighting and sound crews, building and running Theater, Dance and Music department shows. While Technical Direction students will work in many different capacities on productions in their first year, their experience will be increasingly focused on the work of the Technical Director as they progress, so that the successful student will be working as primary Technical Director on main stage productions in their final years.

As with all of the concentrations in Performance Production, the goal of the Technical Direction Concentration is to ground the student in the traditions and well established techniques of the discipline, while encouraging them to develop their own unique artistic voice. The faculty, all highly accomplished professional designers and artists, provide students with mentorship, evaluation and both formal and informal feedback in classes, during the production process, and through regular student portfolio reviews.

First Year

The first year curriculum is designed to immerse the student in the fundamentals of production and design and is shared by all Performance Production concentrations. Students work in both shops, serving as the primary build crew for 7 main stage productions during the year. The Theater Graphics class is focused on development of the craft of graphic communication including drafting, rendering, and model building. Students begin their exploration of text with a year-long Literature of Theater sequence. They study the crafts and traditions of both the costume and scene shop in Fundamentals of Technical Production. During the spring semester, they begin to study the principles of design with Introduction to Production Design 2D. All first year students participate in the Integrated Studies program in Humanities and Sciences meeting and collaborating with students from all departments at Cornish. Integrated Studies creates a foundation for future study at the College by focusing on the strengthening of academic skills, particularly reading analysis, writing, critical thinking, and research.

Second Year

Students are given specifically targeted production assignments which involve increasing responsibilities and begin to hone in on the area of technical direction. Each student will complete one or two primary assignments on crew or design teams during each semester. Most Technical Direction students will take a Basic Sound Engineering course in their second year. Lighting and Scenic classes round out the study of fundamentals, and students begin a sequence of courses in drawing both still life and the human form. In the fall, they continue the study of production design with Introduction to Production Design 3D, and Scenic Painting. The exciting and intensive Theater History sequence and electives or additional Humanities and Sciences coursework round out the busy second year schedule. Second year students also present their portfolio of work to the faculty at the end of the Spring semester. These portfolio reviews are designed to assist the student in preparing a professional portfolio by the time they complete the BFA degree.

Third Year

Intensive concentration in the practice and process of the field is the hallmark of the third year. Production assignments are progressively more responsible, with students serving as heads of departments and assistants to designers on production teams by the end of the third year. Some advanced students may even find themselves Technical Director for a main stage show. Technical Directing students will take Intermediate Studio in Technical Direction, digging deeper into the practical approach to translating a designer&rsquo;s concept into practical working drawings for the shop, and a plan for bringing them to the stage. In addition they may select a design concentration in studio, or study stage management. Most Technical Direction students will select from electives available in the Design or Art Departments. The Theater History sequence continues with Contemporary Theater Studies, and the business of working as a freelance designer or technician is discussed in Technical Management. Third year students continue their sequence of Humanities and Sciences courses. Portfolio reviews become more directly focused on selecting work for the professional portfolio, and on developing a style of presentation that best communicates the individual artist&rsquo;s work.

During the summer between their third and fourth years many students choose to do their Professional Internship, a full-time work experience with a professional arts organization, or with an established scenic studio or props shop. This 12-week experience exposes the student to the realities of working in their chosen field and begins the important process of developing contacts in the professional world. Internships are arranged by the student with the assistance of the department and may satisfy up to 9 credits of in-major requirements. They may be taken at any time after the student has completed 60 credits toward the degree.

Fourth Year

Fourth year Technical Direction students continue their formal training with the Advanced Study in Technical Direction sequence. Often working one on one, or in very small groups with their mentor, students continue to develop their understanding of mechanical and structural design, polish their technical craft, and work toward thorough mastery of the equipment and process of the profession. They are working as primary Technical Directors on main stage productions, and sometimes as designers or stage managers in their secondary area of focus. Usually, they are completing their Humanities and Sciences requirements with elective courses of their choosing, and they are putting a great deal of energy into completing their portfolios and preparing for their final project. The Final Project is usually based on the Technical Direction for a major production, and is documented with extensive drafting plates, research, pictures, labor and materials tracking paperwork related to the build of the production, and an appropriate narrative. In their final semester, seniors make a formal public presentation of their portfolios. This public review is intended to launch the student into the local production community, and is well attended by staff of local performing arts organizations.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the BFA in Performance Production students will:

  1. Be strong in craft, 2-dimensional communication, and be digitally literate.
  2. Know the practice, theory, and historical and social contexts of the elements of Performance Production.
  3. Implement a collaborative approach to production design and communication
  4. Thoroughly command the practice of research and critical thinking to use and adapt information from a diversity of media and historical and social contexts.
  5. Research, consider and articulate production design concepts at every stage of a project, both verbally and in writing.
  6. Master a personal time management system to effectively meet deadlines, using various communication systems to inform collaborators of progress.
  7. Accumulate a digital and physical portfolio of exemplary work.

Faculty & Staff

News

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August 10, 2016

Seattle, Summer, Science Fiction & Cosplay

All over the City of Seattle there are things to do all year long, but summer is special — especially if you're into cosplay.

Right around the corner from Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center is the International DOTA 2 Champio...

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May 25, 2016

Cornish Challenged To Meet $35,000 Match For Visiting Artists

Cornish's supporters have been challenged and we need your help to spread the word! Three generous donors are matching up to $35,000 in contributions to the Cornish's new Visiting Artists Fund. Donate online to the program of your choice and help continue a storied tradition that brings amazing guest artists to our students for in-depth and up-close interactions through master classes, residencies, workshops, and presentations.

Alumni and Cornish supporters are spreading the word that a donation to the Visiting Artist Fund giv...

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May 17, 2016

Commencement 2016 Welcome: Be Thoroughly Outrageous

In her welcome to the graduating Class of 2016, Dr. Nancy J. Uscher, President of Cornish College of the Arts, exorted them to not only be ready for what comes next, but to meet it head on, to be thoroughly outrageous in their approach to the arts and to life.

Delivered May 14, 2016 Commencement 2016 Welcome by President Nancy J Uscher, PhD. This is a mome...

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March 23, 2016

Tony Award Winner Ben Vereen To Give 2016 Commencement Address

Broadway legend Ben Vereen will give the Commenncement address as part of the 2016 graduation ceremonies at McCaw Hall on May 14.

Cornish College of the Arts President Nancy J. Uscher announced today that Honorary Doctorate degree...

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March 3, 2016

Cornish Faculty Shows Coming In April

Cornish faculty are working artists. Even after they retire from teaching, their work in their field continues. Both Performance Production's Karen Gjelsteen and Music's Janice Giteck will be honored at events in April.

Two events on campus will feature the work of retired or retiring Cornish faculty this April. The...

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February 25, 2016

Cornish Theater Offers A Wide Variety Of Shows In Spring

Cornish's Spring semester is in full bloom now. Upcoming spring shows include the popular O!Fest clowns and original works, famous musicals, and Shakespeare for good measure.

Cornish's spring theater shows fill the majority of the college's South Lake Union and Seattle Cente...

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February 20, 2016

Kronos Quartet Residency Begins This Month

As previously announced, the Kronos Quartet will be in Seattle from February 20 to 24. They will lead a two-day interdisciplinary residency on campus with Cornish students that extends well outside of the music department. There will also be a number of free off-site events for students.

Cornish students from all departments will have an opportunity to interact with the famed Kronos Qua...

The Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cel...

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February 10, 2016

The Three Yells: Her Name Is Isaac

Aided by a Cornish Playhouse Arts Incubator Residency, Veronica Lee-Baik brings her finished multidisciplinary piece back to campus. At a time when people are tweeting #AskHerMore, Lee-Baik tackles gender and pay equity through a distinctly Asian lens. Blending modern technology with modern dance, she creates a thought-provoking work guaranteed to spark interesting discussions afterward.

The Three Yells: Her Name Is Isaac returns to Cornish this week. This multidisciplinary dance work d...

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February 7, 2016

StuART Kicks Off Cornish Presents’ Spring Season

Cornish Presents' spring season brings master musicians and multidisciplinary programs to campus. Many programs provide students with additional opportunities to perform with major artists in their field.

Cornish College of the Arts’ visiting and resident artists series “Cornish Presents” opened it...

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February 4, 2016

Performance Production Senior Shelby Choo Receives USITT Award

Cornish senior Shelby Choo has been selected to participated in the 2016 USITT Gateway Program. This program and the USITT Diversity Initiative are committed to expanding diversity within the performing arts by focusing on mentorships for designers, technicians, and managers.

Cornish senior Shelby Choo will attend the USITT 56th Annual Conference & Stage Expo in March as...