Plan of Study

The student’s training is accomplished through approximately equal parts classroom work and production experience. A balance between theoretical work, which students conceive of and develop on their own, and projects which are realized on stage in collaboration with others, is the ever-present goal.

Students of visual design study set, costume, lighting, and projection design in their first year. Lighting and projection designers also study sound design. Starting in the second year, the required sequence of courses for each student focuses more closely on the student’s primary area or areas of concentration. The goal of the department is that students achieve mastery of their own discipline and working knowledge of all disciplines. Given that no two students arrive at training with the same skill sets, the department reserves the right to make different course assignments for each student in pursuit of this aim.

Sound design students who are admitted into the Design department are also required to take introductory visual design classes in an attempt to develop a common body of knowledge within the entire design team, and to provide opportunities for all designers to develop collaborative communication and presentation skills.

For course descriptions, electives, and additional information, please view the David Geffen School of Drama Bulletin.

Our Costume Design concentration is dedicated to the training of new generations of designers in a diverse community of students and teachers where we fully embrace different perspectives and backgrounds as we actively promote diversity through our curriculum, performances, and student experiences. The study of costume design requires us to continuously explore new ways of storytelling as we examine the human spirit to be able to communicate the life condition of the character through clothing on the stage. Students must have knowledge of the vocabulary of design and be able to communicate all aspects pertaining to the profession in order to achieve this goal in a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment that promotes anti-racist practices. Through class projects, practical and theoretical, and real experience working on academic and professional productions, students will leave the university setting and become valuable, vocal, and seen members of the entertainment industry.

The first year of study is dedicated to the background and practice of costume design to develop the students’ technical skills in life drawing and costume construction, their knowledge of costume history, and a thorough grounding in the business of professional costume design, integrating technical skills with theoretical understanding as students take courses in every design concentration. The second year enhances the students’ analytical/dramaturgical thinking and critical aesthetic voices in the execution of designs in collaboration with student and professional directors, with advanced classes in life drawing and digital costume illustration. The third-year students continue their training based on professional-level processes and practices with an established director, culminating in the design of a professional production. Our training strives to create new and lasting relationships between designers, directors, actors, and technicians, evolving into a diverse community that shares a unique and bold aesthetic as our students enter the professional world.

 

Class of 2024

Year Two (2021-22)

DRAM 6a/b - Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 135a/b - Advanced Costume Design
DRAM 165a/b - Costume Life Drawing
DRAM 185a/b - Digital Costume Illustration
DRAM 232a/b - Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 489a/b - Costume Seminar

Year Three (2022-23)

DRAM 145a/b - Advanced Professional Costume Design for the Stage
DRAM 155a/b - Evolution of Cut and Cloth
DRAM 165a/b - Costume Life Drawing
DRAM 185a/b - Digital Costume Illustration
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 489a/b - Costume Seminar

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

Year Four (2023-24)

DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 489a/b - Costume Seminar

Two one-term electives and professional development seminars over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School and/or Yale Rep productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Class of 2023

Year Three (2021-22)

DRAM 145a/b - Advanced Professional Costume Design for the Stage
DRAM 165a/b - Costume Life Drawing
DRAM 185a/b - Digital Costume Illustration
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 489a/b - Costume Seminar

Design assignments for School and Yale Rep productions

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

Year Four (2022-23)

DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 489a/b - Costume Seminar

Two one-term electives and professional development seminars over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School and Yale Rep productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Class of 2022

Year Four (2021-22)

DRAM 155a/b - Evolution of Cut and Cloth
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 489a/b - Costume Seminar

Two one-term electives and professional development seminars over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School and Yale Rep productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Lighting cannot be taught in the classroom. Words and two-dimensional representations are not adequate to express all that needs to be expressed or to communicate all that needs to be communicated when exploring and discovering the role light can play in live theatrical performance. Light must be experienced firsthand, in space and in time. Moreover, like playing an instrument, the skills involved in lighting must be practiced constantly.

Therefore, in the Lighting Design concentration, we prioritize realized production work and exercises done in theaters or the light lab over theoretical, paper projects.

Light is intricately intertwined with all the other design concentrations. The configuration of the scenery determines what lighting possibilities exist in any given production; the silhouettes created by the costumes and their color palette have everything to do with the composition of the stage picture and the color palette of the lighting; the aural landscape and the rhythm of the lighting are two parts of a single whole; projected imagery is a kind of light itself. For these reasons, lighting students study the other concentrations, and we include students of the other concentrations in our lighting classes, as far as the schedule will allow. Lighting students also study figure drawing, as the human figure is the basis of our sense of composition, and drawing is the best possible training for the eye.

Class of 2024

Year Two (2021-22)

DRAM 104b - Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Lighting Designers*
DRAM 134a/b - Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting†
DRAM 162a/b - Life Drawing Studio‡ (if schedule allows)
DRAM 202a/b or DRAM 132a/b - Second-Year Set Design for Non-Majors or Advanced Discussions in Scenography (with permission of instructor)
DRAM 224a/b - Introduction to Projection Design
DRAM 232a/b - Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 404a/b - Lighting Seminar

Design assignments for School productions and assistant design assignments for School and/or Yale Rep productions.

*Class repeats. Advanced skill levels are taught in 2021–2022.
†Class repeats. Focus in 2021–2022 is on practical, light lab, and in-theater work.
‡Class repeats. Drawing is a basic skill that requires constant practice.

Year Three (2022-23)

DRAM 6a/b - Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 164a/b - Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 334a/b - Projection Design in Practice
DRAM 404a/b - Lighting Seminar

Design assignments for School and Yale Rep productions

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

Year Four (2023-24)

DRAM 174a/b - Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 404a/b - Lighting Seminar

Design assignments for School and Yale Rep productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Class of 2023

Year Three (2021-22)

DRAM 6a/b - Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 174a/b - Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 334a/b - Projection Design in Practice
DRAM 404a/b - Lighting Seminar

Design assignments for School productions and assistant design assignments for School and/or Yale Rep productions

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

Year Four (2022-23)

DRAM 174a/b - Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 404a/b - Lighting Seminar

Electives
Design assignments for School and Yale Rep productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Class of 2022

Year Four (2021-22)

DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 404a/b - Lighting Seminar

Electives
Design assignments for School productions and possible design assignments for Yale Rep
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

To dedicate three years of one’s life to the study of projection design is a tremendous privilege, and for the majority, an experience they will not repeat. Projection is fluid and endlessly malleable, both abstract and concrete; it is the poetic and rhythmic addition to the visual environment of performance.

The focus of the first-year core curriculum is to explore communication in the various modalities and languages of theatrical design, whether it be through the generating of technical drawings, the expressive loose communication of a sketch, or the construction of a scenic model. Other courses look at how we receive communication: close listening and consideration of the aural world in sound class; the intentional observation and controlled experimentation with lighting; and a deep consideration and exploration of how we receive and read image and sequence and how we create story. Student design assignments to be determined.

Collaborative projects anchor the second year of study, allowing for exploration of different approaches to collaboration and creative team dynamics. The long-term projects in the second year allow for the conception and exploration of a full production as a member of the creative team. Short collaborative projects range from the classroom exploration of a moment from a new play, curiosity, or idea a class participant has about projection, to two produced evenings of Opera Scenes with Yale School of Music. In the second year, there are elective slots students should program according to their specific needs and interests, and in conversation with the faculty. Student design assignments to be determined.

In the third year our role as teachers at Yale begins to shift to that of colleagues. Our role is to mentor and support students in their exploration, discovery, and creation of a thesis project, as well as to prepare them to enter the ever-changing landscape of media design.

Projection design is democratic, the skills of listening and storytelling can be had by anyone, and our ideal candidate has a relentless curiosity about humanity and the world as well as the passion to share their discoveries.

Class of 2024

Year Two (2021-22)

DRAM 124a/b - Introduction to Lighting Design
DRAM 141b - Law and the Arts
DRAM 202a/b - Second-Year Set Design for Non-Majors
DRAM 224a/b - Introduction to Projection Design
DRAM 232a/b - Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 239a - Projection Engineering
DRAM 244a/b - Motion Graphics and Film Production
DRAM 248b - Sound Designers and Directors Workshop II
DRAM 334a/b - Projection Design in Practice
DRAM 364a/b - Animation Studio
DRAM 384a/b - Projection Production Process
DRAM 394a/b - Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b - Projection Seminar
DRAM 434a/b - Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography Projection Companion Class

Year Three (2022-23)

DRAM 302b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 334a/b - Projection Design in Practice
DRAM 339b - Advanced Projection Engineering
DRAM 384a/b - Projection Production Process
DRAM 394a/b - Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b - Projection Seminar

Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Projection design and assisting assignment(s)

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

Year Four (2023-24)

DRAM 302b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 334a/b - Projection Design in Practice
DRAM 344a/b - Advanced Professional Projection Design
DRAM 384a/b - Projection Production Process
DRAM 394b - Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b - Projection Seminar

Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Projection design and assisting assignment(s)
Thesis Project: conception, creation, and presentation of a live performance in which projection ideas and content are fully integrated into the performance and are essential to the design and storytelling

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Class of 2023

Year Three (2021-22)

DRAM 141b - Law and the Arts
DRAM 302b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 334a/b - Projection Design in Practice
DRAM 384a/b - Projection Production Process
DRAM 394b - Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b - Projection Seminar

Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Projection design and assisting assignment(s)

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

Year Four (2022-23)

DRAM 302b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 334a/b - Projection Design in Practice
DRAM 344a/b - Advanced Professional Projection Design
DRAM 384a/b - Projection Production Process
DRAM 394b - Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b - Projection Seminar

Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Projection design and assisting assignment(s)
Thesis Project: conception, creation, and presentation of a live performance in which projection ideas and content are fully integrated into the performance and are essential to the design and storytelling

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Class of 2022

Year Four (2021-22)

DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 334a/b - Projection Design in Practice
DRAM 344a/b - Advanced Professional Projection Design
DRAM 384a/b - Projection Production Process
DRAM 394a/b - Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b - Projection Seminar

Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Projection design and assisting assignment(s)
Thesis Project: conception, creation, and presentation of a live performance in which projection ideas and content are fully integrated into the performance and are essential to the design and storytelling

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

The Three-Year Curriculum Arc (Scenography)

In the first year, students delve into a wide spectrum of classic texts, operas, and musicals alongside modern and contemporary works. The goal is to create three-dimensional models every week and present the completed model (1/8-in. or 1/4-in. scale) the following week. This structure provides the foundation on which the following two years are based. During the course of the year the students will also assist on student productions and at the Yale Repertory Theater.

In the second year, the set designers meet twice per week. On Wednesdays the students take part in an interdisciplinary course with the Directing program in DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography. This course seeks to cultivate and reinforce the creative relationship and professional-level processes between directors and designers, concentrating on an in-depth analysis of a selection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century plays and operas. On Fridays the students meet with the Set Design faculty in discussions that expand and deepen the exploration of the texts discussed in the Wednesday collaborative class from a scenographic perspective. There are two projects per term, each culminating in a final presentation. During the course of the second year, students will also be designing for David Geffen School of Drama productions.

In the third year, the students will choose their own texts and operas, including adaptations. Having a strong foundation in classic, modern, and contemporary works to draw on, the students will be able to develop a more personal approach. The second term of the third year will concentrate on a thesis that will be presented to the entire Design faculty. During this year the students will also be interviewing with directors for Yale Repertory Theatre productions.

The overall mission of the program is to nurture a thorough appreciation of existing scenographic traditions as well as a vigorous commitment to developing individual voices for a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive American theater.

Class of 2024

Year Two (2021-22)

DRAM 124a/b - Introduction to Lighting Design*
DRAM 132a/b - Advanced Discussions in Scenography
DRAM 152a/b - Scene Painting
DRAM 224a/b - Introduction to Projection Design
DRAM 232a/b - Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 242a/b - Drafting Review Session
DRAM 262a/b - Advanced Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Set Designers
DRAM 402a/b - Set Seminar

Design assignments for School productions and assistant design assignments for School and/or Yale Rep productions

*DRAM 124a/b repeats. Focus in 2021–2022 is on practical, light lab, and in-theater work.

Year Three (2022-23)

DRAM 6a/b - Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 142a/b - Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 242a/b - Drafting Review Session
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 402a/b - Set Seminar

Design assignments for School and/or Yale Rep productions

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

Year Four (2023-24)

DRAM 242a/b - Drafting Review Session
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 402a/b - Set Seminar

Two one-term electives over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School and/or Yale Repertory productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Class of 2023

Year Three (2021-22)

DRAM 6a/b - Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 142a/b - Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 242a/b - Drafting Review Session
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 402a/b - Set Seminar

Design assignments for School and/or Yale Rep productions

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

Year Four (2022-23)

DRAM 152a/b - Scene Painting
DRAM 242a/b - Drafting Review Session
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 402a/b - Set Seminar

Two one-term electives over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School and/or Yale Rep productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Class of 2022

Year Four (2021-22)

DRAM 242a/b - Drafting Review Session
DRAM 302a/b - Professional Production Seminar*
DRAM 402a/b - Set Seminar

Two one-term electives over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School and/or Yale Rep productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

*If assigned to a production at Yale Rep or any other professional theater.

 

Sound is inherently personal. Beautiful sonics for any two people will be different, yet the overall goal of the Sound Design concentration at David Geffen School of Drama is to find the bridge between the personal and the universal, to discover the essence and atomic quality of sound such that one can bring one’s personal perspective while being able to effectively communicate one’s concepts with anyone. Openness, inclusiveness, and rigorous work ethic are the necessary qualities one must have to achieve this goal in the Sound Design concentration. There will be many collaborative circumstances, from the classroom to the professional stage at Yale Repertory Theatre, for students to have an opportunity to sharpen their technical skills and develop their creative voice.

The Sound Design experience at the School is unique in that the five areas of design—set, costume, lighting, projection, and sound—are integrated. This ensemble approach provides a foundation for the collaborative experience at the School. Students must be dedicated and willing to work hard. The course work covers design aesthetics, script interpretation, dramaturgy, music composition, critical listening, professional collaboration, sound and music technology, acoustics, aural imaging in large spaces, investigations into psychoacoustics, digital audio production, advanced sound delivery systems, advanced problem solving, advanced digital applications, production organization, and professional development, all in concert with a wide variety of practical assignments.

 

Class of 2024

Year Two (2021-22)

DRAM 128a/b - Sound Seminar (variable dates/times in the first term)
DRAM 138a - Production Sound Engineering
DRAM 138b - Production Sound Design and Technology
DRAM 158b - Recording Arts
DRAM 224a/b - Introduction to Projection Design
DRAM 238a - Advanced Engineering for Sound Design
DRAM 278b - Advanced Problems in Sound Design
DRAM 288a/b - Individual Music/Composition Lessons
DRAM 418a/b - Design Production Review

One term of music elective
One term of general elective
Up to three production assignments (if prepared)

Year Three (2022-23)

DRAM 128a/b - Sound Seminar
DRAM 232a - Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 248b - Sound Designers and Directors Workshop II
DRAM 258a - Composition for Sound Design I
DRAM 258b - Composition for Sound Design II
DRAM 358a/b - Professional Development*
DRAM 388a/b - Individual Music/Composition Lessons
DRAM 418a/b - Design Production Review

One term of music elective (optional)
One term of general elective
Up to three production assignments (if prepared)
Thesis (full production, research paper, or an original creation)

*DRAM 358a/b may be taken in either the third or fourth year or both.

Year Four (2023-24)

DRAM 128a/b - Sound Seminar
DRAM 358a/b - Professional Development*
DRAM 418a/b - Design Production Review
DRAM 488a/b - Individual Music/Composition Lessons

Up to three production assignments (if prepared)
One term of music elective (optional)
One term of general elective (optional)

*DRAM 358a/b may be taken in either the third or fourth year or both.