Storytelling through sound and examination of both creative and technical choices in classwork and productions encourages sound design students at BU to discover their voices as sound designers and collaborative theatre artists.
BU’s BFA sound design program teaches students to work collaboratively and in concert with directors, performers, other designers, managers, administrators, and technical crews. Students plan and execute system designs, participating in every work call. Each sound design student is rigorously challenged with creative and technical projects alongside production assignments each semester, drawing artistic inspiration from individual exploration and research alongside confident expression through collaborative team effort.
What’s unique about our program?
The balance of theoretical class projects and practical production experiences fosters resourcefulness to think and create beyond conventional notions of sound in a theatrical context. Within this small design program (two to 12 students enrolled in sound design and audio skills classes), each student has the opportunity to work closely with their faculty mentor on a regular basis.
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. Students are regularly mentored by the sound design faculty at BU, comprised of professional designers who work regularly in all facets of theatre, in the classroom, weekly colloquium, hands-on production advising, and end-of-semester conferences. Students take courses in sound design, production audio, systems design, lighting design, tech production, sound design for film and television, and more.
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.
Can a board game café and sound design go hand-in-hand? You absolutely bet they can!
Studies show millennials are feeling increasingly lonely and isolated, and there’s speculation that social media and technology are partially to blame. So Nicholas Chen (CFA’17), a sound design alum, decided to do something that would bring young people together.
In 2019, Chen opened the board game café Tavern of Tales in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood. The café has immersive, sound-enhanced narration tracks for the popular games Eight-Minute Empire, Five Minute Dungeon, Forbidden Island, Mysterium, Robots on the Line, and others.
As an undergrad, Chen was a sound designer for many CFA school productions and also worked as an assistant to Huntington Theatre Company sound designers. When it came time to choose a senior thesis, Chen, a big board game fan, decided to create an interactive board game experience. Over the next two and a half years, he further developed the idea and ultimately secured funding from banks to open his board game café.
When introducing a new game for his café, Chen thinks about what kind of narration, music, and sound effects to add. He and his colleagues then hire a composer and voice actors, write a script, and finally incorporate sound effects. The whole process can take more than six months.
“I approach it much as I did in theater,” Chen says. “When we designed a new show, the lighting designer, sound designer, costume designer, and director would sit in a room and talk about the aesthetics and the script. We do the same for board games.”
Gain hands-on experience at BU’s Light and Sound Lab, the Sound Studio, and the Sound Production Shop, providing opportunities for project development and experimentation in studio and lab environments before implementation in theatre spaces.
Students work in theatre venues of varying scales and resources, working with both analog and digital audio technologies. All sound design students work alongside each other extensively, as designers, assistants, and system and production audio engineers. Production calendars transpire on a quarterly basis, with ample opportunities for both conceptual design and system implementation.
Develop professional skills through production work, internships, and mentored work and design that will serve as a basis for your transition from the academic world to the larger community of theatre professionals. Be trained by School of Theatre faculty who are working theatre artists that maintain active professional careers.
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.
I decided to study at CFA because it’s a place where you are safe to fail and succeed, and I felt like that was the environment I wanted to be in. That proved to be incredibly true in my experience. I took classes in theatre, music, and sculpture in my time at CFA, and all of them have taught me to learn and grow from my failures by finding the successful things within them.
Lecturer, Sound Design
Assistant Professor & Program Head, Sound Design
Meet BU’s Sound Design Program Head
Aside from training future sound designers at BU, David Remedios is a Boston-based sound designer and composer who has designed extensively for theatre and dance around the globe. His work has been honored with an Elliot Norton Award, a Connecticut Critics’ Circle Award, and four Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards.
In CFA’s Faculty Feature series, Remedios shares with CFA what makes BU’s sound design programs stand out. From taking students on a journey, beginning with how they listen to the environment and then learning to apply it to a script in a stereo concept before adding loudspeakers, to all the training coming together in BU School of Theatre productions. The opportunities are endless for undergraduate and graduate-level sound design students, who work together to get the production done.
“What’s unique about our program is the interplay between graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate students have a certain amount of experience and can offer guidance to undergraduate students. We have some really talented undergraduate students who bring a lot to the table. I try to structure my production teams into groups of designers and engineers. They’re all working together to get this production done and support each other in their endeavors.“
I want to get students thinking about sound, its rhythmic possibilities, its rhymic and timbral possibilities, and how you might orchestrate it.
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 email@example.com with any questions along the way. We are happy to discuss your educational interests and career goals.