School of Theatre + Dance


Some want to be in the spotlight. You want to move the spotlight yourself, and get your hands on every other piece of complex electronic and mechanical lighting system used in professional theatre, film, and television production.


The qualitative focus of the production program is to present the most effective and affective dance and theatre performances possible.  It also provides a laboratory for students and the opportunity for practical application of classroom exercises and theories.

Today’s theatre design and production depend heavily on the complex electronic and mechanical systems used in professional theatre, film, and television production.  The production curriculum is designed to meet the diverse aesthetic and technological demands of contemporary society.  This curriculum provides academic instruction and professional training for careers in costume, scenery, and lighting.

Students enrolled in theatre production: costume, lighting, scenery, sound, and digital media will complete course work in all three areas.  Selected independent study, advanced electives, and production assignments in THE 4950 focus on the specialization.

A portfolio is required for admission to all production majors.  For more information, consult the School of Theatre and Dance Undergraduate Advisor, Kevin Austin.

BFA Theatre Production Components


1. Demonstrate skills in recording and communicating design plans through mechanical drawing, pattern drafting, model building, plotting, and rendering.

2. Demonstrate knowledge of management skills relative to time, cost, space, personnel, and safety. 

3. Demonstrate knowledge of basic machinery, equipment, tools, hardware, and materials used to realize theatre designs. 

4. Demonstrate current technological and media literacy. 


1. Demonstrate the principles of two-dimensional and three-dimensional design aesthetics as applied to the theatre arts of set, light, and costume. 

2.       Demonstrate sensitivity to, knowledge of, and aptitude for the art, craft, and process of moving the script onto the stage. 

3.       Demonstrate the ability to apply a conceptual approach to production; organizing, developing, and guiding the creative collaboration with designers, performers, and technicians. 

4.       Demonstrate the unique collaborative skills necessary to assimilate and realize the visions of playwright, performer, director, and designer in performance. 

5.       Demonstrate the ability to articulate the creative process as production. 

6.       Understand traditional and innovative techniques appropriate for varying production formats. 


The Graduate Lighting Design program at the University of Florida takes a comprehensive view of electric and solar light in our world. Because of this broad perspective, graduates of the program will be expected to be conversant in all areas where lighting design is applied. The graduate of this program is prepared in a holistic way, from traditional theatre and dance forms, the fusion of lighting/video/projection applications, and architectural lighting design (in collaboration with the School of Architecture).

The program is sensitive to the individual's talents and professional aspirations and can be modified slightly to include areas of specific interest and/or to bolster areas of weakness. The faculty's professional networks are assets, helping students to achieve their short and long term career goals. While some students will certainly pursue design careers, others will apply their training in a variety of areas within the lighting industry. The program responds to the quickly changing needs of the industry without losing sight of traditional artistic values.

Industry advancements are staggering. The program not only embraces these developments, but also participates in moving the industry forward through research and development with software developers and equipment manufacturers. Automated luminaries, large format projection, (film and digital) state of the art control systems, and special projects that incorporate performers and new technologies are all part of the program.

Graduates of UF Lighting Design are prepared as artists, as well as technologists, to advance a discipline that is on the threshold of realizing its full potential.

First Year
In the first year, two levels of graduate classes are expected. TPA 5025 seeks to initiate the designer to professional practices and fulfill any gaps in their previous experience or education and clarify and formalize the lighting design process. In TPA 6026 the designer focuses on complex lighting problems through a paper project, refinement of concept, documentation, and integration of equipment. An emphasis on design aesthetics is coupled to the technical information discussions of assigned readings such as In Praise of Shadows and The Dramatic Imagination are used. Award-winning works in both architectural and theatrical lighting design are studied and analyzed. An introduction to lighting engineering is introduced and a small architectural project is executed.

Some designers will be assigned a realized production in their first year and their ability to synthesize knowledge, theory, and development of constructive, interpersonal relationships will be observed and assessed. Ability to achieve the level of expectation of the program is evaluated.

Second Year
All lighting design students design extensively in this year while taking two additional lighting courses. Programming and Presentation for the Lighting Designer (currently taught as TPA 6905) focuses on the use of new control technology and brings them to a level of programming skill where they understand the capabilities of sophisticated new lighting tools. The presentation portion of the course focuses on a specific play or dance and provides the young designer with techniques to present ideas over the arc of the piece in visual format, this work includes use of WYSIWYG software coupled with the use of Photoshop and use of digital photography utilizing three dimensional models in the LuxLab fiber optic system. This work is complemented by TPA 5082 advanced theater graphics with Professor Ciupe.

ARC 6670 is a collaborative course developed between the Schools of Theatre and Dance and the School of Architecture with initial funding from the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education. The course focuses the student on lighting design from a theoretical perspective as it is applied to permanent architecture. Second year theatrical designers work closely with third year graduate architecture students on technical and creative projects. Designers learn at a deeper level the science of light and human visual faculties, and get a deep understanding of light as a scientific, measurable phenomenon. This knowledge is then applied in a project; typically, the Howard Brandston Lighting Design Competition which coincides with spring semester. Students are thrust into working in an architectural design process mode with their architecture colleagues. This work results in a body of knowledge, gleaned from the presentations in the seminar that each student group presents and the realized projects for the Competition entries are submitted. These include CAD drawings, radiosity analysis, image storyboards, fixture designations, foot-candle distribution, and narratives regarding design concept. Formal presentations are made to the class by each competition team.

Third Year
In year three the focus shifts to applied work through the thesis project, further study in a selected area or secondary area, e.g. scenic design, costume design, or other courses. Teaching opportunities are also offered for those students who may seek careers in education.

Students are also encouraged to take advantage of courses outside of the school that will enhance their work as artists; such courses include, photography, perception courses, additional architectural courses, drawing classes, or business, marketing, and management courses. At this point it is hoped that the students have been able to find the direction they wish to go after graduation and we work to help them build the bridge to their chosen employment goal. These goals differ from student to student and by marshalling all the resources of the school, we prepare them to enter the workforce. This is achieved by building on existing contacts that the students have made over their time at UF, making new contacts, working with USA- Local 829, USITT, professional theaters and lighting industry companies.

A portfolio review/interview evaluating the student's development is conducted at the conclusion of each semester.

The assistantship is a crucial element in the set design MFA It provides an opportunity for students to increase their skill level and to better understand the production process.

In addition to classroom training and assistantship work, students are required to fulfill a position of responsibility on a School of Theatre and Dance production each semester. Such positions are assigned according to the needs of the production season and the individual goals of the student. Students must fulfill the assigned duties in a satisfactory manner to remain in good standing in the program.

University of Florida Application Deadlines
November 1, 2024
Application deadline for Fall 2025
Transfer Students
September 15, 2024
Application deadline for
Spring 2025
March 1, 2025
Application deadline for
Summer B or Fall 2025

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