M.F.A. Lighting Design Degree Requirements

Over three years, each lighting student will design lights for seven to ten productions and must crew over twenty a year. The lighting program supports seven M.F.A. and two undergraduate productions for the Department of Theatre. It also supports three opera productions and six dance concerts for the Conservatory of Music. Lighting students will assist professional lighting designers on every production at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, a LORT B regional theatre. In the past, they included Tony Award winner Don Holder, David Weiner, Jason Lyons, Beverly Emmons, Phil Monat, Dawn Chiang, Michelle Habeck, Dennis Parichy and many others. With digital projection design’s emerging importance, lighting students will assist professional projection designers when projections are used at the KC Rep. Likewise, if projections are required on UMKC productions, lighting students will design those projections.

In the first two years, lighting students will take four semesters of Professional Lighting Design, two semesters of Rendering, four semesters of Theatre History and one semester each of Text Analysis, AutoCAD drafting, Theatre Collaboration and Lighting Equipment.

Electives will include two semesters in either another design area, stage management or technical direction. Residency and professional design are the key components of the third year. Students are encouraged to spend at least one semester of their third year off-campus assisting professional designers at major theatres, operas and ballets, and/or designing professional productions.

In the past, lighting students have assisted professionals such as Ken Billington on the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas show, the “Stars on Ice” TV special and at the Houston Grand Opera; Mary Jo Dondlinger at the Boston Ballet; Dawn Chiang at the Arizona Theatre and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre; and Russell Champa at the American Conservatory Theatre. For those interested in opera, there are opportunities to assist or observe at major regional opera companies. While on residency, students often find opportunities to design lights for several small Kansas City Equity Theatres or for the second stages of major regional theatres.

First Semester

  • Professional Lighting Design
  • Theatre History or Text Analysis
  • History of Design and Technology I
  • Rendering Tech for Theatre Design I
  • Stage Lighting Technology
  • Theatre Collaboration

Second Semester

  • Professional Lighting Design
  • Advanced Tech Drafting: AutoCAD
  • History of Design and Technology II
  • Theatre History or Text Analysis
  • Rendering Tech for Theatre Design II
  • Stage Lighting Technology

Third Semester

  • Professional Lighting Design
  • Theatre History or Text Analysis or Dramatic Literature
  • Elective: Theatre Design (Scenic, Costume, Sound)

Fourth Semester

  • Professional Lighting Design
  • Theatre History or Text Analysis or Dramatic Literature
  • Elective: Theatre Design (Scenic, Costume, Sound)

Fifth Semester

  • Residency or Intern
  • Dir Grad Studies: Lighting