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BFA Design & Technology

Curriculum and Production

The design/technology program provides intensive hands-on experience for students desiring a career in professional theatre. This B.F.A. program is a four-year sequence of courses in basic design, theatre technology and visual arts. Photo Credit: Afton WelchClass work is augmented with a wide variety of practical production experience in all areas, with the goal of ensuring that students have a basic working knowledge of all technical areas. Students have the opportunity to build a portfolio that will display a significant level of professional preparation.

The first two years focus on practical technical skills, drafting, rendering and visual arts courses. Technical assistantships are available in all shops. From the beginning, students work on mainstage productions in a variety of roles, and in progressively more responsible positions. Otterbein DTs serve as master carpenters, wardrobe masters, master electricians, sound assistants, and stage managers just to name a few.

During the junior and senior years, emphasis is on specialization in comprehensive design or technology training that provides in-depth development and skills necessary for a professional career in theatre. Students also take courses in Theatre History and Directing to build their understanding of theatre as an art form. Many students have the opportunity to assist principal designers, the technical director or costume shop supervisor, and may be selected to design and execute in all areas for mainstage productions.

The senior year is highlighted by a 10- to 12-week internship in a major regional theatre where work and exposure to practicing professionals is assured. Students continue to refine design or technology skills with assignments in major production projects to complete the portfolio and training necessary for pursuit of professional careers or further work in graduate school.

Photo Credit: Afton Welch

Students are evaluated annually and must meet professional standards to complete the B.F.A. Design and Technology program.  

Stage Managers in the Department of Theatre and Dance may approach their professional training through one of two possible degree paths: the B.F.A. degree in Design/Technology, which stresses the technical elements in management, or the B.A. degree in Theatre, which allows the student more freedom to combine courses in theatre with courses in business, psychology, and personnel management.

Design Samples from Students and Faculty

Application: Pre-Screening

All students interested in applying for the B.F.A. degree in Design Technology must submit a sample portfolio through www.getacceptd.com. Please do not apply for admission to Otterbein University until you have completed the pre-screening process. If you have applied already, as part of the Common Application for example, do not be concerned. But if you have not yet applied, wait until you hear that you have been invited to a portfolio review to do so. Portfolio reviews are by invitation only and the number of available places is limited. 

For your pre-screen, please upload four to five samples of your strongest work, along with a theatre resume. Art work, photographs, sound clips, and video are all acceptable. For valuable information on how to prepare a portfolio click here (PDF)

Application: The Next Step

If you are invited to complete a more in depth portfolio review in person, you will receive instructions from our coordinator, Matt Wolfe, regarding how to schedule. Portfolio reviews will be held on campus on Saturday February 21, 2015.

Students from outside the state of Ohio can meet with our department chair at a national unified audition site. Our National Unified Audition dates are:

New York: Saturday, January 24, 2015 (1:30pm- 6pm) & Sunday, January 25, 2015 (9am-1:30pm
Chicago: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, February 2-4, 2015
Los Angeles: Saturday, February 7, 2015 & Sunday February 8, 2015

If you choose to complete a portfolio review on campus, you should plan to spend most of the day on campus. If you choose to interview at one of the Unified sites, you will be given a specific portfolio review time. Unified slots last 15 minutes. Candidates receive equal consideration whether they interview on campus or off campus.

If and when you are invited to complete a portfolio review in person, you will need to apply for admission to Otterbein University. Please do not apply for admission until you have been invited to do a portfolio review. Our Admissions Liaison, Elizabeth Doyle, will be in touch with you. Any questions about the admission process, including financial aid, should be directed to her. She can be reached at edoyle@otterbein.edu or at 614-823-1219.

University admission decisions and BFA design technology decisions are made on a rolling basis. Students must be accepted to both the university and the BFA program to enroll in Design Technology coursework. Applications are due to getacceptd.com by February 15, 2015.  Application to the University is also due at this time and must be complete.  Students interviewing for the BFA in Design/Technology degree must attend the February 21, 2015 on campus interview day or schedule a visit/ interview through Matt Wolfe

Talent Awards and Acceptance Dates

Most students accepted into one of our degree programs are also offered a talent award, ranging from $500 to $4000 annually. Grants are made on the basis of the audition, portfolio review, and interview. Notification of acceptance and talent awards begins in mid-March. Some students may be placed on a waiting list. Final offers will be made by May 1.

Admission is selective and we admit a freshman class of 32 to 34: 8 BFA Acting; 4 BFA Musical Theatre and 4 Musical Theatre/Dance; 8-10 in the BFA in Design/Technology; and 8-10 in the BA degree. Even though you audition for one degree program, the faculty may offer you admission to another degree program if they believe your talent, goals and current strengths are better suited to that program.

Transfer Students

The Department of Theatre and Dance accepts transfer students in two degree programs: the BA Theatre, and the BFA in Design/Technology. Requirements vary by degree program.

Potential transfer students should consult Elizabeth Doyle, Admission Counselor for the Arts, in the Admission Office before applying.

Peter Sichko

Samantha Fremer

BFA Design Technology '12

Samantha is a Production Assistant for ​The Fortress of Solitude ​at The Public Theatre in New York.

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Department of Theatre and Dance

Department Office
M-F: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
p/ 614.823.1657

Box Office
M-F: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
p/ 614.823.1109
e/ boxoffice@otterbein.edu

For general questions about admission and financial aid:
Elizabeth Doyle
Admission Counselor
p/ 614.823.1219
e/ edoyle@otterbein.edu

For questions about BFA Acting and Musical Theatre auditions:
Harriet Hill, Audition Coordinator
e/ audition@otterbein.edu

For questions about BA, Design/Tech, and Dance Minor admission:
Matt Wolfe, Administrative Assistant
p/ 614.823.1657
e/ mtwolfe@otterbein.edu

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