BFA Technical Production

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in theatre, technical production at Boston University College of Fine Arts provides students with the tools and skills to excel in their chosen field. Those skills include woodworking, drafting, metal work, rigging, organization and personnel management, and leadership.

Degree Type

  • Undergraduate

Formats

  • In-Person

Availability

  • Full-Time

Location

  • On-Campus
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BU’s BFA in technical production aims to prepare students for the rigors at the highest levels of the professional world. Students are encouraged to develop skills in multiple areas. Courses in welding, drafting, rigging, and production are combined with design, art, and management classes to create well-rounded and insightful technicians.  

Utilizing the newest technologies, the BFA program offers students the opportunity to become proficient in areas such as automation, CNC, 3D printing, and AutoCAD. Graduates of the program have gone on to work in the highest levels of the industry.

Offering the flexibility to tailor the work to the individual student.

“The path through the program is not necessarily linear, it’s a little more fluid. There is a linear path for the technical production courses but the rest of education has a lot more fluidity to it. A student can say ‘I want to learn about lighting.’ That’s great, they can take lighting design courses. They can take audio production or production management courses, too. The assignments will often be based on what they’re looking to get out of the program.”

“Everyone’s different and we celebrate that.”

-Joel Brandwine, technical production program head and assistant professor

Program of Study

Before officially declaring a BFA Design, Production & Management major, each first-year student entering the BU School of Theatre is admitted into the First Year Design, Production & Management 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. This program offers a mix of the hands-on production approach to go along with the classroom theoretical approach. The small student-to-teacher ratio (15:1) allows for faculty mentorship on a regular basis.  The small class size enables plenty of time for hands-on opportunities. 

Students learn how to manage large crews, organize large projects, and delegate to those that will help the show succeed. Tactile skills learned include carpentry, welding, rigging, AutoCAD, automation, scenic engineering, and spreadsheet organization.

The BFA degree affords students the ability to obtain a job without the prospect of graduate school. The MFA degree is recommended for students who wish to teach or want to change careers in their future.

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.

Opportunities

Gain hands-on experience at the CFA Production Center, located in the heart of campus next to BU’s Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre, which has a number of shops from scene to costume. The technical production shop has 7000 sq. ft. of unencumbered space. Included in the facility are 4x CNC, 4 mig welders, all standard hand and power tools, and 4 chain motors. Booth Theatre is a flexible space with 24 axes of automated rigging and a fully trappable floor to a 12’ trap room. Students are also able to use the automation lab where they have access to a 3D printer, pneumatic gear, and 4 axes of Creative Connors Automation.

Students will act as carpenters, lead carpenters, head riggers, assistant technical directors, technical directors, and at times project managers in CFA School of Theatre productions.

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.

Guest lecturers are brought in to expand upon the students’ exposure to the professional world. Study abroad and internships are available, plus summer work opportunities in high-profile summer theatres are available to students.

Participate in the School of Theatre’s annual Showcase, held in Boston and/or New York City, and share your work with alumni and working professionals in the field.

Faculty

Faculty Accolades

The Technical Production faculty at BU is ETCP Rigging Certified, OSHA 30 Certified, and Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).


Your education is just that, yours. We provide the laboratory but you need to bring the curiosity. You need to be a self starter and unafraid to ask questions and seek out answers. The students that succeed in this program are the ones that ask for more and are not afraid to put themselves out there.

– Joel Brandwine, technical production program head

Meet BU’s Technical Production Program Head

Aside from training future technical production experts at BU, Joel Brandwine has been a technical director, production carpenter, automation technician, and rigger for over 20 years. His Broadway credits include Jersey Boys, American Idiot, Legally Blond, Catch Me if You Can, Cinderella, American Psycho, 9 to 5, and Evita.

In CFA’s Faculty Feature series, Brandwine talks with CFA about BU’s technical production programs, the facilities at BU, and the advantages of choosing a large research university in a major city versus a university in a rural area with less competition.

“When you go to a smaller, more rural market, you are the arts for that area so the budgets are typically a little larger. You will have more opportunities within the school itself to do that work. We can provide you with more outside professional opportunities. I’ve seen our students get work at the American Repertory Theater or The Huntington Theatre. There are significant professional opportunities in Boston to round out your education and bolster your resume while in school.

read Q&A

Notable Graduates

Graduates of BU’s technical production programs go on to work in the highest levels of the industry.

  • Greg Bird (CFA’14) | Carpenter, I.A.T.S.E. Local 1
  • Molly Block (CFA’16) | Freelance Producer, New York
  • Alex Brandwine (CFA’09) | Broadway, Automation Operator
  • Victoria Bullard (CFA’15) | Asst. Prod. Supervisor, Juniper Street Productions
  • Adam Godbout (CFA’03) |  Technical Director, Huntington Theatre
  • Erik Hansen (CFA’01) | Broadway, Production Carpenter
  • Christine Jones (CFA’05) | Technical Director, Lincoln Center
  • Johnny Kontogiannis (CFA’02) | Production Manager, Boston University
  • Logan Lower (CFA’19) | Project Manager, TAIT Towers
  • Dan Oleksy (CFA’07) | Asst. Technical  Director, Huntington Theatre Company
  • Michael Parrella (CFA’97) | Theatre Consultant, Artec Theatre Consultants
  • Eleanor Richards (CFA’15) | Technical Director, Signature Theatre
  • Ana Rose Greene (CFA’04) | Production Supervisor, Juniper Street Productions
  • Kevin Twomey (CFA’03) | Technical Project Manager, Rosebrand

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.

Fill out our request for info about BU theatre programs form to receive additional information about your program of interest and to send us any questions you may have.

REQUEST INFO ABOUT THE BFA THEATRE ARTS, DESIGN & PRODUCTION (TECHNICAL PRODUCTION) PROGRAM

We are happy to discuss your educational interests and career goals.

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