Undergraduate Programs
Lighting Design

The School of Drama Lighting Design Option is an integrated, hands-on program committed to teaching leadership in the world of theater design and technology through practical, theoretical, conceptual, lighting design and production.

Students become visual communicators using light as their primary medium. The design process involves analysis, research and exploration of light as a visual design element.

Students are mentored in class and production work ranging across drama, musical theater, new plays, devised work, opera, dance, television, concert, architectural lighting and media design. All School of Drama productions are designed and technically supported by the students.

Course and production work focuses on the artistry of design as well as exposing students to the latest technological tools, software and industry trends.

State of the art lighting inventory available to students includes:
  • ETC Conventional and LED fixtures
  • Vectorworks and Autocad
  • Vari-lite, Clay Paky and Martin automated lights
  • Color Kinetics LED fixtures
  • Consoles such as EOS, ION, Virtuoso, GrandMa and Whole Hog IV
  • Curriculum

    Lighting students learn processes that explore all aspects of light as a visual design element.

    Learning to communicate ideas verbally, visually and in written documentation is central to the program. Students explore methods involving analysis, research, exploration, problem solving and the implementation of the design process into productions.

    Students are encouraged to develop their unique vision and creative voice, as well as cultivate a collaborative approach to the theatrical process.

    Lighting Design students gain knowledge and expertise in the latest technology including automated lighting fixtures, LED fixtures, computer consoles, visualization software programs and media design software.

    Additionally, Lighting students learn to become efficient in focus and cueing, Vectorworks and Autocad drafting, designer and master electrician paperwork, lighting design for a range of genres, scales of productions and different types of spaces.


    Students in the School of Drama’s Lighting Design Option have many opportunities to experience work as a professional lighting designer and technician through internships with local theaters and production companies.

    Local partners include: Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Quantum Theatre, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre and City Theatre Company.

    In addition, students gain experience in the wider field of lighting design through national internships with professional designers and lighting firms including Lightswitch, Visual Terrain, Nyx Design, Focus Lighting, Full Flood Lighting, Nautilus Entertainment Design and Reveal Design Group.

    School of Drama alumni and visiting artists share their expertise with students through project work, visiting lectures, workshops and professional development seminars. As students ready themselves for graduation, alumni introduce them to the profession during Showcases in New York City and Los Angeles.

    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 are encouraged to develop their unique vision and creative voice, as well as cultivate a collaborative approach to the theatrical process.


    Undergraduate Lighting Design Curriculum


    Mary Ellen Stebbins

    Thomas Feather

    Cindy Limauro

    C. Todd Brown

    Robert Thomson

    News & Alumni

    Notable Alumni

    Graduates of the School of Drama’s Lighting Design program are prepared for a wide range of professional opportunities that combine their skills both artistically and technically.

    Many graduates work in New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago as well as regionally and internationally. Professional opportunities include positions as a lighting designer, assistant lighting designer, lighting director, media designer and moving light programmer in the areas of theater, opera, dance, television, concert lighting, cruise ships, theme parks and architecture.

    • Broadway: Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauer
    • Television: Noah Mitz, Kevin Hardy
    • Architecture: Brett Andersen, Michael Cummings, Scott Hay
    • Theatre Consultants: Roger Morgan, Len Auerbach
    • Concert Lighting:Drew Findley, Jeremy Lechterman
    • Cruise Ships: Jim Tetlow
    • Entertainment Design:Mike Mahlum, Norm Schwab, Manny Treeson, Chris Werner
    • Media Design:Loren Barton, Bart Cortright, Robert Figueroa

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