Graduate Programs
Scenic Design

The School of Drama Graduate Scenic Design program prepares student for careers as scenic designers for theater, opera, dance, camera and environments for all forms of entertainment.

Emphasis is placed on developing the individual artist. Under the guidance of world-class faculty, including three scenic design professors, students will focus on the creative process of idea building and effective collaboration.

Class projects, coursework and realized production designs in a variety of the school’s performance venues (proscenium, black box, video studio and warehouse site) encourages students to explore their unique vision.

The faculty encourages students to develop their individuality as an artist. We celebrate diversity of style and process.

Students have access to state-of-the-art production support such as: digital drawing and modeling, a laser cutter, 3D printer, automation package, video equipment and computer facilities.


The School of Drama Graduate Scenic Design program provides students with an intensive, three-year course of study. Course work is centered on idea building, collaboration skills, critical thinking, artistic process and studio skills.

Coursework includes scenic design for plays, opera, musicals, new plays, devised work and film.


  • Drafting
  • Model making
  • 2-3D digital drawing and painting
  • Hand drawing and painting
  • Scenic Painting
  • Costume
  • Video & Media
  • Sound
  • Lighting
  • Additionally, courses that emphasize text analysis, mediated performance and professional preparation are taken throughout the three-year curriculum. Production work will include fully realized and resourced designs on stage with assignments customized to individual students' needs. Students work as assistant scenic designers and scenic designers and each student is assigned an advisor to mentor them through production development.


    Students in the School of Drama’s Graduate Scenic Design Program create fully realized productions, receive extensive one-on-one mentoring, and collaborate with peers and instructors across all School of Drama disciplines.

    Internships include Scenic Design Assistant and Scenic Design positions with Quantum Theatre, City Theatre and the Pittsburgh Public Theater.

    Advanced students may assist faculty in their work for the profession. Extensive alumni relationships and strong professional associations create opportunities and contacts for students locally, nationally and internationally.

    Many programs exist for students to develop and expand their skills within the School of Drama during the year.

    Unique Platforms

    All School of Drama students have to opportunities to participate in the following:

    Dance/Light is a performance opportunity for students across all disciplines to collaborate in the creation of original dance and movement pieces.

    A Festival of Independent Student Work: Playground is the annual, School of Drama, three-day performance festival showcasing independent, student-produced work across multiple disciplines.

    The Visiting Artists Program brings distinguished national and international guests to campus to work with students across all disciplines.

    The School of Drama Showcase presentations in Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles are designed to give graduating students from all disciplines the opportunity to meet with and present work to leading arts and entertainment professionals.

    Students have access to state-of-the-art production support such as: digital drawing and modeling, a laser cutter, 3D printer, automation package, video equipment and computer facilities.

    Feel free to change the subtitle!


    Graduate Scenic Design Curriculum


    Gianni Downs

    Chelsea M. Warren

    Anne Mundell

    Dick Block

    News & Alumni

    Notable Alumni

    Graduates from the School of Drama Scenic Design Program are sought after to work in a range of professional capacities throughout the performance arts and entertainment industry.

    • Alana Billingsley: Art director and actress, known for 71st Golden Globe Awards (2014), The 54th Annual Grammy Awards (2012) and The 55th Annual Grammy Awards (2013).
    • Camille Connolly: Owner and principal designer, 3C Studio, creative solutions for scenery and visuals.
    • Jeff Crye: Award-winning production designer and art director, notably for Law and Order, Special Victims Unit.
    • Bryce Cutler:Designer and founder of Third Space, a political theater group creating experiential performances in community spaces.
    • Jeff Hinchee:New York-based illustrator and theater designer.
    • Doug Huszti:Award-winning art director, notably for Boardwalk Empire.
    • Malchus Janocko:Art director for 60 episodes of Gossip Girl.
    • Jessica Kender:Production Designer for Medium and October Road.
    • Adam Koch:Award-winning scenic designer for theater and events.
    • Danielle Laubach:Los Angeles based production designer.
    • Eugene Lee:Award-winning designer for theater and TV. He was inducted into ‘The American Theatre Hall of Fame’ in 2006.
    • Patrick Rizzotti:Award-winning scenic designer working in theater, opera, dance, and television. He received the 2014 USITT Scenic Design Award, is a winner of the 2013 OPERA America Director-Designer Showcase.
    • Jerrod Smith:Founder of Designsmith Collaborative.
    • Josh Smith:Freelance scenic and lighting designer based in Brooklyn, NY.
    • Scott Storey:Production designer. Won an Emmy Award in 2008 for the “MTV Music Video Awards.”
    • Joe Stuart and Jon Shaffner:Production designers who have been nominated a total of 29 times for Primetime and Daytime Emmys, and have received numerous Art Directors Guild and CableACE Nominations.
    • Scott Tedmon-Jones:Award-winning scenic designer, based in NYC.
    • Nicholas Vaughan:Scenographer and visual artist. He is a founding member of TEAM (Theater for the Emerging American Moment).
    • Marie Wagner:Art director and production designer for film and television.
    • Mark Worthington:Award-winning production designer for television and film.
    • John Zuiker:Los Angeles based art director working in Television and theater. John is the recipient of the 2010 Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding Scenic Design, Non-Equity for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble's I Am My Own Wife.

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