May 21, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 [Archived Catalog]

Production Technology - MFA

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Degree Title and Name:  Master of Fine Arts in Production Technology

Program Name and Number:  Production Technology – MF5160

Department/Unit:  School of Theater

Delivery Mode:  Athens Campus

Term(s) of Entry:  Fall, Spring, Summer

Program Overview:  The goal of the Production Technology degree is to prepare students to understand and work in the professional theater. Our training provides a strong foundation in design and technology and the skills to compete in the professional market. We strive to provide students opportunities that will be a first step into their professional careers.

The first year focuses on unleashing the imagination and examining the process of translating visual images into practical physical reality. The second year emphasizes skill development and specialization in an area of concentration. The third year contains three primary elements: thesis project, portfolio refinement and internship, as well as rounding out skills. Technology students are involved in production, craft, and skill classes leading to the development of fine craft, technical skills and top-notch managerial skills.  Participation in a specified production activity which is related to a student’s area of concentration is required each semester. These assignments will require mastery of senior supervisory staff positions on the main stage, such as shop manager, technical director or cutter/draper. 

Students are expected to attend at least one national convention yearly. Students are encouraged to spend their summers and winter breaks working in professional theaters. At least 6-8 weeks of the third year is expected to consist of an internship at a major LORT or commercial theater in the United States or abroad if it can be arranged. The thesis consists of a main stage supervisory technical assignment and a formal exit portfolio review demonstrating prevailing professional standards. 

Total credit-hour requirements reflect a normal load of 15 credit hours per academic semester for six semesters of residency. Minimum course requirements for the degree include 39 credits of core courses (including intradisciplinary, academic, and applied studies), at least 36 credits of specific area requirements (including studio courses and directed electives), and 15 credits of thesis studies for a total of 90 credits. Any course may be waived at entry in recognition of previous academic or professional experience.

Concentrations:  Areas of Concentration include Costume Technology and Costume Crafts Technology, Props Technology, and Technical Direction.

Program Learning Outcomes:  Successful Theater M.F.A. students at Ohio University will:

  • Demonstrate heightened skills in professional presentation, collaboration and communication.
  • Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of research practices, dramatic literature, theory and history.
  • Apply heightened skills and demonstrate a comprehension of theories and methodologies as they relate to professional practice in each track.

Competencies required in specific tracks:

Technical Direction: (To regional theater standards)

  • Fulfill the duties of the Production Technical Director.
  • Oversee the scenic construction projects of the scene and welding shops.
  • Demonstrate project management skills including production flowcharting, resource allocation, schedule creation and maintenance, and the creation of a production bible.
  • Demonstrate focus on safety aspects of shop equipment and project materials.
  • Demonstrate strong research, collaborative and communication skills.
  • Demonstrate effective budget management skills such as estimation and bid process for productions.
  • Shop supervision and crew management:
    • Maintain attendance logs.
    • Oversee tool maintenance and repair.
    • Assign crew to projects and oversee their work.
    • Maintain shop supply inventories.
    • Participate theater facility upkeep.
    • Prepare theaters for special events.
  • Hand drafting skills (to United Scenic Artists standard).
  • AutoCAD and/or Vectorworks computer drafting skills (to USITT standard).
  • Ability to devise technical design solutions for productions involving challenges such as automation, pneumatics, structural design, rigging, and unique construction materials.
  • Demonstrate technical proficiency in welding, carpentry, rigging, and the safe use of all scene shop, paint shop, and welding shop tools and equipment.
  • Demonstrate ability to safely set-up and program contemporary stage automation equipment and electric motor hoist systems.
  • Demonstrate ability to train students in the safe and proper use of shop equipment and tools including stage rigging systems.
  • Portfolio development techniques for both digital and paper portfolios.

Scenic Technology (Props Artisans)

Scenic Technologists (Props Artisans) are expected to work as scenic artists, prop artisans, charge artists and prop crew heads. Scenic technology majors lead crews for a minimum of 2 main stage productions and 1 studio production. In addition, scenic technologists are strongly encouraged to lead crews or work as a props artisan on off-campus productions.

Specific skills for the MFA in Scenic Technology: (to regional theater standards)

  • Strong research, collaborative and communication skills.
  • Prop research and purchasing.
  • Effective and accurate budgeting.
  • Labor flowcharting and the creation of a production bible.
  • Demonstrate crew management skills.
  • Demonstrate ability to engineer viable solutions to complex prop challenges.
  • Demonstrated ability to train students in the safe and proper use of shop equipment.
  • Demonstrate proficiency among a range of technical skills including:
    • scenic artistry
    • woodworking and furniture construction
    • steel work (including stage weaponry and armor construction)
    • upholstery and soft goods construction
    • fiberglass and mold making
    • foam construction
  • Effective portfolio development techniques for both digital and paper portfolios.

Costume Technology

Costume Technologists (costumers) are expected to work as first hands/stitchers, drapers, tailors, craft artisans, assistant costumers, and crew heads (costumers). Costumers drape for a minimum of 6 mainstage productions and act as costumer for 1 mainstage production. 

Specific Skills for the MFA in Costume Technology (to regional theater standards)

  • Oversee the costume construction activities of the costume shop.
  • Demonstrated technical proficiency in cutter, draper/flat patterning, first hand, and stitcher skillsets.
  • Demonstrated tailoring skills.
  • Period and modem costume construction research.
  • Craft skills in:
    • buckram or felt millinery
    • felt or fiberglass armor construction
    • thermoplastic mask making
    • face casting
    • dyeing and distressing
    • fabric printing
    • fabric modification
    • dye painting
  • Demonstrated ability to train students in the safe and proper use of costume shop equipment and tools.
  • Demonstrated project management skills including production flowcharting, resource allocating, creating schedules, and the creation of a production bible.
  • Strong collaborative and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated effective budget management skills such as estimation and bid process for productions.
  • Shop supervision and crew management:
    • Creating labor flowcharts
    • Maintain attendance logs
    • Oversee tool maintenance and repair
    • Oversee crew work
    • Assign crew to projects
    • Maintain shop supply inventories
  • Effective portfolio development techniques for both digital and paper portfolios

Costume Craft Technology:

As part of the MFA in Costume Technology, there is a specialization in Costume Craft Technology.

Costume Craft Technologists are expected to work as craft artisans, first hands/stitchers, drapers, prop artisans, and craft department crew heads. Craft technologists drape for a minimum of 1 mainstage production, and act as craft crew head for a minimum of 2 mainstage productions. Craft technologists are strongly encouraged to head crews or work as a crafts or prop artisans for off campus productions.

Specific skills in Costume Craft Technology: (to regional theater standards)

  • Demonstrated effectiveness in labor flowcharting and crew management.
  • Creation of a production bible.
  • Development of period and modern craft construction research.
  • Demonstrated collaboration and communication skills.
  • Draping and flat patterning.
  • Felt and buckram millinery construction.
  • Felt and fiberglass armor construction.
  • Demonstrated expertise using wonderflex and vacu-form techniques.
  • Mask-making and head casting.
  • Mold making.
  • Fabric modification.
    • dyeing and distressing
    • stenciling, stamping
    • silk-screening
    • direct dye painting
  • Foam construction.
  • Wig setting.
  • Make up design.
  • Effective portfolio development techniques for both digital and paper portfolios.
  • Demonstrated ability to train students in the safe and proper use of shop equipment.
  • Optional skills for marketability:
    • Basic woodworking and furniture construction.
    • Steel work (including stage weaponry and armor construction).
    • Upholstery and soft goods construction.

Opportunities for Graduates:  Students completing their MFA in Production Technology commonly choose to enter the professional market for performing arts companies, specialized production companies or pursue academic careers.

Link to Program:

Graduation Requirements:

  1. Complete 90 course credits for graduation.
  2. Fulfill a thesis production assignment to the highest professional standards possible. While each area of technology varies, the thesis production includes all processes of the production. Beginning in the spring semester prior to the production, these processes range from attending the first production conference through strike of the production.  A product of the process includes the creation of a fully produced “Production Bible” that details the development and execution of the assignment.  Specific documentation required for the Production Bible differs somewhat among technology areas but the main focus is that of documenting process. 
  3. Create and continuously update a portfolio up to professional standards.
  4. Form a thesis committee made up of at least 3 PD&T faculty/staff and 1 reviewer from outside PD&T, and schedule and sit for the exit portfolio review which is formatted as an oral defense.

Admission Requirements:  Admission to the PD&T program is by interview and portfolio review, conducted at the University Resident Theatre Association (URTA), the SETC conference, the annual USITT Conference & Stage Expo, as well as on the OHIO campus in Athens. Our recruiting season begins in late January/early February with the URTA event and tends to conclude by the end of April. The faculty is looking for talented students with the potential for advanced skills in theater technology studies.  Candidates should have the ability to communicate practical, interesting production challenges and the means by which they resolved them as well as portfolio samples that demonstrate a potential toward professional growth.

In addition to the portfolio review/interview, an online application to Ohio University is required. That application requires a Bachelor’s degree, undergraduate transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.  If a talented student has a GPA of less than 3.0, the student will enter on probationary status, and be re-evaluated at the end of the first semester’s work. A visit to inspect the facilities and an interview with the design staff is encouraged. The GRE is NOT required for this program. International students must consult the University webpage for international studies for further information on such topics as the TOEFL, speak test, visas, and others.

International Students:  This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

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