Stage Design Props and Scenic Art

Student performers sing during a performance of Chess with American and Soviet flags hanging over a chess board floor

CCM offers a BFA in Stage Design, Props and Scenic Art, as well as MFA programs in Stage Design and Stage Properties.

Stage, Set or Scenic Design is the art, craft and practice of designing and implementing theatrical 3-D environments for plays, opera, musical theatre, dance performance, live concert events, film, video and television productions and themed events and environments. Though similar in some ways to interior or architectural design, Stage Design goes beyond decoration to visually and environmentally support and thematically expand a script, screenplay or scenario by facilitating human interaction and/or choreography within the context of a theatrical event.

Stage Design: BFA and MFA

The student of Stage Design should work to develop his or her artistic talent in the visual and decorative arts; exercise the imagination to create dramatic space, imagery and effects; acquire a broad-based knowledge of theatre arts and technical production; become very observant; practice drawing, painting, rendering, model-making, drafting and research; and develop a strong interest in the spoken or lyric theatre.

The study of mankind and his surroundings – past, present and future – is of ongoing importance for a familiarity of periods and styles and for a strong sense of history. The focus of theatre throughout history is the human condition, and the stage designer creates the visual 'world' – realistic, suggestive or abstract – in which to dramatize this, whether a serious play, an entertaining musical or a dramatic opera. Professional stage designers have various training backgrounds but essentially share all these characteristics.

CCM is well-prepared to train the student set designer in these requirements. Post graduation career opportunities include stage design for plays, musicals, opera, dance, video and film, exhibitions and displays, themed attractions, environments and special events.

Stage Properties: MFA

One of the only programs of its kind in the nation, CCM’s MFA in Stage Properties provides professional training for talented and motivated students who wish to pursue a career in theatre, opera, film production or related fields. Stage Properties involves the management, acquisition and creation of items used practically or decoratively onstage: furniture, draperies, weaponry, puppets, fake food and much more.

A Properties Master’s bag of skills might include carpentry, leatherwork, puppetry, mold-making, welding, electronics and digital imaging, to name just a few. Graduate and undergraduate specialists from CCM’s Stage Properties program have produced props for film, opera, television, Cirque du Soleil and Broadway.

Faculty

Headshot of Charlie C Calvert

Charlie C Calvert

Associate Professor of Scenic Design

513-556-9452

Headshot of Anna Catton

Anna Catton

Adjunct Instructor of Stage Design (Props)

513-556-5803

Headshot of Ashley Crockett

Ashley Crockett

Adjunct Instructor of Theatre Design and Production

513-556-5803

Headshot of Mark A. Halpin

Mark A. Halpin

Associate Professor of Scenic Design

859-620-8365


Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration Division Head and Staff

Headshot of Rebecca Bromels

Rebecca Bromels

Interim Division Head of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration (TAPAA); Chair and Associate Professor of Arts Administration

513-556-5803

Headshot of Jen Lampson

Jen Lampson

TAPAA Production Manager

513-556-9439

Headshot of Deborah Neiheisel-DeZarn

Deborah Neiheisel-DeZarn

TAPAA Program Manager

513-556-5803

CCM's admissions process begins on August 1 (undergraduate) and September 1 (graduate) for entrance in the following year's fall semester. All application materials must be submitted on or before December 1 to be considered for specific scholarship awards. Visit the CCM Admissions website for additional application instructions.

Theatre Design and Production - BFA

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm on or before December 3 in order to be considered for admission and invited for an audition.

Pre-screening Requirements
  • Current resume
  • 500-word applicant statement
    • Use the 500-word statement to express: how you came to your area of theater design and production, what you expect to gain out of the CCM experience, and what direction you intend to go upon graduation. What are your personal and professional goals and how does CCM get you closer to those goals?
  • Upload contact information for three references
  • Portfolio (include theatre, artistic, and/or craft work)
  • Theatre Design and Production questionnaire

Interview

Interview Requirements
  • Application materials, along with experiences, achievements and long-range goals will be discussed at the applicant’s interview. All applicants will interview with faculty from the Theatre Design and Production department.

Additional Information

  • Candidates should only apply to one major within Theatre Design and Production unless you are seriously considering two areas.

Theatre Design and Production - MFA

Pre-screening

Applicants must submit the required pre-screening materials via getacceptd.com/ccm in order to be considered for admissions. The applications for all MFA degree programs will remain open until July 1.

Pre-screening Requirements
  • Current resume
  • 500-word applicant statement
    • Use the 500-word statement to express: how you came to your area of theater design and production, what you expect to gain out of the CCM experience, and what direction you intend to go upon graduation. What are your personal and professional goals and how does CCM get you closer to those goals?
  • Portfolio (include theatre, artistic, and/or craft work)

Interview

Interview Requirements
  • Application materials, along with experiences, achievements and long-range goals will be discussed at the applicant’s interview. All applicants will interview with faculty from the Theatre Design and Production department.
  • MFA Interviews should be scheduled directly through the appropriate faculty. Visit the Theatre Design and Production website for the faculty directory.

News and Events

1

CCM shares spring 2023 schedule of major performances and events

November 22, 2022

Audiences are invited to return to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s (CCM) concert halls and theaters to experience world-class performances and presentations by the next generation of performing and media artists! The college’s spring 2023 schedule of free and ticketed events is now available. Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning on Monday, Nov. 28, through the CCM Box Office.

2

CCM's Opera Series presents Poulenc’s harrowing 'Dialogues of...

Event: November 18, 2022 8:00 PM

The UC College-Conservatory of Music opens its 2022-23 Opera Series with Francis Poulenc’s 1953 masterpiece, Dialogues of the Carmelites. One of the most revered operas of the 20th-century, this profound drama runs November 18-20 in CCM’s Corbett Auditorium. Guest artist Christopher Larkin conducts with stage direction by CCM Professor Robin Guarino. Tickets are on sale now through the CCM Box Office.

3

CCM Play Series continues with 'A Dream Play'

Event: November 3, 2022 8:00 PM

The UC College-Conservatory of Music continues its Play Series with August Strindberg’s 1901 "A Dream Play" (translated by Harry G. Carlson), which runs Thursday, Nov. 3, through Sunday, Nov. 6, in CCM’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Tickets are on sale now through the CCM Box Office.

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