BFA Costume Production

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in theatre, costume production at Boston University College of Fine Arts aims to develop a complete theatre artist by fostering a passion for theatre, storytelling, design, and the collaborative process. Costume production majors gain technical and interpretive skills to excel in professional positions in the performing arts.

Degree Type

  • Undergraduate


  • In-Person


  • Full-Time


  • On-Campus
Link to the bulletin

BU’s BFA in costume production program prepares talented and committed students for careers in the professional world of theatre and related entertainment media. The program curriculum emphasizes the development of a student as a theatre artist, focusing on collaboration, imagination, intellect, communication skills, and oral critique, as well as preparation for a professional career.

During each year of the BFA program, courses in design, production, graphic skills, management, and dramatic literature follow a carefully integrated sequence of class exercises and production opportunities. Students who pursue the BFA–Theatre degree in costume production discover who they are, what they do well, and what they are capable of doing. They learn to be collaborative theatre artists who work productively under the stresses of the theatrical profession and, most importantly, they learn to integrate design, production, and management skills with their own personal sensibility.

BU’s costume production program is incredible because it’s hands on. Students learn the basic ideas in the classroom, then they get to use them on stage in a production.
-Nancy Leary, CFA assistant professor of production and design and costume production program head

Program of Study

Before officially declaring a BFA Design & Production major, each first year student entering the BU School of Theatre is admitted into the First Year Design & Production Core. The First Year Core experience establishes a base vocabulary that serves as the foundation for a student’s progression into their chosen BFA degree program. In addition, the First Year Core is designed to provide an appropriate context for faculty evaluation of each student’s strengths, interests, and potential for success in the upper years of training. At the end of the first year, each student will declare a BFA major; these decisions are reviewed and mentored by members of the School of Theatre faculty before a student is officially enrolled in their BFA program.

Training includes a rigorous curriculum, production opportunities, and collaboration with theatre professionals. Costume production majors are regularly mentored by working professional faculty and advisors through their weekly seminars, hands-on, in-process production advising, and end-of-semester conferences. The average class size ranges from 8 to 10 students.

Students will gain skills in draping, flat patterning, tailoring, dye and millinery, and management skills. Upon completing the program, students will demonstrate an ability to enrich creative storytelling through costume production, taking artistic risks, plus have the ability to engage with diverse communities as a theatre artist.

Costume production students also participate in SOT’s annual Theatre Showcase that takes place in Boston or New York City. The event serves as a celebration of the graduating class and the group’s formal introduction to the professional theatre community. 

Situated within a large, top-tier research institution, students pursue coursework in the University Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the undergraduate student experience. This provides students with the chance to dive into other topics, from other colleges and schools, to enhance their studies.

Angels in America | Photo by Natasha Moustache

The Legend of Georgia McBride | Photo by Jacob Chang-Rascle

The Cunning Little Vixen | Photo by Andrew Brilliant


Students receive one-on-one mentoring by professional faculty members, whose work has been seen throughout the world, in regional theaters, on Broadway, and internationally. Costume production majors see their work in BU School of Theatre productions. They also have opportunities to dive into costume production work at off-campus theatre productions.

Study Abroad programs are also available at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), Academia Dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy, or other programs through BU Study Abroad.


The CFA Production Center, a state-of-the-art center unifying the performance, design, and production programs at BU School of Theatre, offers a costume shop where costume production students take courses and work on their projects. There’s also a separate craft and dye space, plus a costume stock room filled with more than 10,000 costume pieces.


Faculty Highlights

  • Nancy Leary: Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) award for costume design of Into the Woods at New Repertory Theatre, an Elliot Norton for contribution to the production of Permanent Collection, and a nomination for best production of Twelve Night with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
  • Denise Wallace-Spriggs: Resident Crafts/Artisan Dyer for the Huntington Theatre Company, which won a Tony award for Best Regional Theatre

Meet BU’s Costume Production Program Head

BU’s costume production program head happens to be an award-winning costume designer whose visionary work for opera and theater spans several decades (and has graced stages across the United States and Europe). Nancy Leary, assistant professor of costume design and production at BU, has worked on established operas and newly conceived productions, including premieres for Boston Lyric Opera, Juilliard Opera, and others.

In CFA’s Faculty Feature series, Leary talks with CFA about BU’s costume production programs and the skills students bring to the program and get from the program.

“When Costume Production students graduate they should be able to look at any type of rendering, technical or abstract, and be able to dissect, understand and apply the skills and knowledge they have learned in order to create a three-dimensional version of the painting or sketch. This application includes understanding primary research, applying flat patterning and draping skills, and most importantly using an individual artistic perspective.”

read Q&A

Notable Graduates

  • Colin Jones (CFA’11): After graduating from BU in 2011, Jones moved to New York City. While working in several top shops, Jones gained valuable experience and with the dedication of his loyal clients, he founded his own costume production and tailoring shop in 2013 called Colin Davis Jones Studio.
  • Anna Light (CFA’05,’08): Light is a patternmaker and draper for live theatre, television, and film. She’s been a draper for the New York City Ballet since 2012 and has worked as an independent contractor for a variety of industries. Light now resides in Philadelphia and she’s a member of the Association of Sewing & Design Professionals. More on Light can be found on her official website.

Next Steps for Applicants

The best way to determine if BU is right for you is to explore our admission requirements, financial tools, and resources.

Reach out to our Director of Admissions at with any questions along the way. We are happy to discuss your educational interests and career goals.

Admissions info



Explore More

News & Events