School of Theater
Scene Design Program
Head of Scene Design: Christopher Barreca
Focusing on the development of the skills and knowledge needed for professional scene designers, this program is based on the understanding that the designer’s multifaceted contribution to a production involves much more than providing a visual background. Under the leadership of scenic designer Christopher Barreca, whose teaching is informed by his active design practice in international, regional and Broadway venues, the curriculum explores all aspects of live performance as a collaborative process, giving special attention to the shaping of artistic vision, aesthetic sophistication, critical thinking and craft. Since scene designers are visual artists who work in theater, the program is closely allied with other visual arts programs at CalArts, as well as programs in dance, performance art, and film and video.
Scene Design Specialization in Scene Painting
Head of Scene Painting: Mary Heilman
Available to applicants to the MFA Scene Design Program, this specialization is under the supervision by scenic artist Mary Heilman, who maintains deep connections to the professional community. The rigorous curriculum combines scene painting coursework with the direct application of new techniques and materials, as well as traditional processes, on a wide range of School of Theater productions.
The training is supported by coursework in design, figure and perspective drawing, lighting, scenery and prop construction, play analysis, and theater history.
Scene Design Specialization in Video for Performance
Head of Video for Performance: Peter Flaherty
The Video for Performance Specialization at CalArts trains visionary artists in the creation of interactive tools and moving imagery for live and time-based artwork. The program will focus on four major areas of application: Integrated Media Performance (including theatre, opera, dance, and concerts), Interactive Installation and Site-Specific Art, Architectural Projection and Digital Image Surfaces, and “Living Room Interactive” (the employment of physical sensors, advanced display technology, socially-networked remote participants, and fictional narrative in a self-guided experience). The program focuses on the development of each student's artistic process, technology/software skills, and awareness of contemporary media theory in lab and discussion-oriented classes. The focused, small group of Interactive Media MFA students will engage in personal and Institute projects under the direct mentorship of their advisors. The program aims to attract a variety of collaboratively-minded students from the various areas of art and technology that will make these ambitious interactive projects possible, including Film/Video, Computer Programming, Visual Art, Interactive Systems, and more.