B.F.A. in Theatre, Design & Technology Emphasis
A Specialized Degree
The Bachelor of Fine Arts, design & technology program is designed for students who are serious about specialization in one or more areas of design and technology with an eye toward professional careers or further study at the graduate level. For those students who choose the B.F.A. design & technology program, the course is set for an exciting and demanding road.
A Focused Curriculum
B.F.A. students are expected to take more classes in the specific areas of design and technology and to be more actively engaged in production than their Bachelor of Arts counterparts. They are expected to consistently excel in these areas. The available coursework includes stagecraft, introduction to scenic and lighting, scenic design, advanced scene design, stage lighting, advanced stage lighting, stage sound engineering, introduction to costume and makeup, intermediate makeup, costume design, costume design studio, advanced theatrical makeup, and a wide variety of design and technology laboratories for hands-on experience.
Some of these courses are offered on a rotating basis, which means they are offered only once per year or in alternate years. Although it is possible for students to complete the B.F.A. in four years, the department cautions that some students may take longer to complete the program. This is particularly true of students transferring in from other programs. The curriculum and production demands on B.F.A. design and technology students are intense. One of the identifying characteristics of such students is the way in which they take on leadership roles in production in the third and fourth years of study. The most committed and talented of these students may eventually be given design or assistant design responsibilities for the main stage theatre season or for dance concerts.
Travel and exposure to the broader world of theatre are critical to the development of actors. Southern Miss is an active participant in our ten-state region in both the Southeastern Theatre Conference and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The university's Department of International Studies' travel abroad programs rank among the best in the country, and its five-week British Studies program features internationally renowned guest artists in musical theatre, Shakespeare and contemporary drama. Two-week programs in London Theatre and in the Performing Arts at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland have been offered as well. All of these credit programs are eligible for financial aid. Noncredit travel is also available: the New York Theatre Tour and the London Theatre Tour delight students and community members during spring break. Southern Miss theatre students who take advantage of these extraordinary learning opportunities may be better prepared to enter the professional world.
A Team Spirit
No undergraduate theatre experience is complete without a few late nights (and many afternoons) rehearsing a scene, hanging lights, or painting scenery. At Southern Miss, student artists in the B.F.A. programs are expected to work with all other students, faculty and staff in the team effort to produce our exciting and demanding season. This is due to the conviction that everyone must collaborate and learn as many areas of the theatre as possible. This attitude builds our sense of community. It creates actors who are empathetic to the crews and designers they work with and designers and technicians who are sensitive to the actors' needs. It develops theatre artists who exhibit a clear work ethic and who create reputations for being team players. These are the people who get hired a second and third time by professional companies. By the time a student graduates, he or she will have gained marketable skills in several aspects of the theatre. "Hands-on" work will include learning in a proscenium space, a thrust theatre and a convertible black box theatre.