Design (M.F.A. and Certificate)

Stephen Strawbridge, Michael Yeargan, Cochairs

Due to the current and inevitable future disruptions of COVID-19, neither Yale School of Drama nor Yale Repertory Theatre will produce a season of plays in 2020–2021. In service of our mission, the School of Drama is temporarily extending the M.F.A. and Certificate programs by one fully funded year of study. All sections pertaining to production work in this chapter of the bulletin refer to a typical production schedule and are not necessarily applicable for the 2020–2021 academic year.

The purpose of the Design department is to develop theater artists who are masterful designers in set, costume, lighting, projection, and sound for the theater. The department encourages students to discover their own process of formulating design ideas, to develop a discriminating standard for their own endeavors, and above all to prepare for a creative and meaningful professional life in the broad range of theater activities.

In the belief that theater is a collaborative art, it is hoped that through their Yale School of Drama experience design students discover a true sense of joy in working with other people, especially directors, and realize the excitement of evolving a production through the process of collaboration.

Finally, the department endeavors to create an atmosphere conducive to creative experimentation, tempered by honest, open criticism and disciplined study.

Theater is an act of transformation, and for designers it is the transformation of words into visual and musical imagery. Set, costume, and, to a certain extent, lighting and projection designers must have the capacity for visual expression, with its foundation set firmly in the ability to draw and sketch clearly and expressively. Drawing is not merely a technique for presentation; it is the language that reveals one’s thoughts, and thus creates a dialogue among the director, the designers, and their colleagues. Through drawing, one observes and records one’s world. Drawing informs and clarifies one’s vision and is an integral part of the formulation of a design. Drawing should be as natural to the visual designer as speaking; therefore, the department offers a weekly life drawing class so that design students can keep their skill honed.

Students are admitted to the department on the basis of their artistic abilities as shown in their portfolios, as well as their commitment to the theater and their ability to articulate their ideas.

Each entering class is unique, with the ratio of set to costume to lighting to projection designers varying according to the qualifications of the applicants. Approximately twelve students are admitted each year. The Design department faculty make a strong commitment to each student that is accepted. There is no second-tier status. All students participate at the same level and are expected to complete the program of study.

The student’s training is accomplished through approximately equal parts classroom work and production experience. A balance between theoretical work, which students conceive of and develop on their own, and projects which are realized on stage in collaboration with others, is the ever-present goal.

Students of visual design study set, costume, lighting, and projection design in their first year. Lighting and projection designers also study sound design. Starting in the second year, the required sequence of courses for each student focuses more closely on the student’s primary area or areas of concentration. The goal of the department is that students achieve mastery of their own discipline and working knowledge of all disciplines. Given that no two students arrive at training with the same skill sets, the department reserves the right to make different course assignments for each student in pursuit of this aim.

Designing for Yale Cabaret

The permission of the Design department cochairs is necessary in order to participate in any capacity in a Yale Cabaret production.

Plan of Study: Set Design

The Three-Year Curriculum Arc (Scenography)

In the first year, students delve into a wide spectrum of classic texts, operas, and musicals alongside modern and contemporary works. The goal is to create three-dimensional models every week and present the completed model (1/8” or 1/4” scale) the following week. This structure provides the foundation on which the following two years are based. During the course of the year the students will also assist on student productions and at the Yale Repertory Theater.

In the second year, the set designers meet twice per week. On Wednesdays the students take part in an interdepartmental course with the Directing department in Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography. This course seeks to cultivate and reinforce the creative relationship and professional-level processes between directors and designers, concentrating on an in-depth analysis of a selection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century plays and operas. On Fridays the students meet with the Set Design faculty in discussions that expand and deepen the exploration of the texts discussed in the Wednesday collaborative class from a scenographic perspective. There are two projects per term, each culminating in a final presentation. During the course of the second year, students will also be designing for YSD productions.

In the third year, the students will choose their own texts and operas, including adaptations. Having a strong foundation in classic, modern, and contemporary works to draw on, the students will be able to develop a more personal approach. The second term of the third year will concentrate on a thesis that will be presented to the entire Design faculty. During this year the students will also be interviewing with directors for Yale Repertory Theatre productions.

The overall mission of the program is to nurture a thorough appreciation of existing scenographic traditions as well as a vigorous commitment to developing individual voices for a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive American theater.

Class of 2024

Required Sequence

Year one (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 112a/b Scenic Design: Background and Practice
DRAM 115a/b Costume Design: Background and Practice
DRAM 122a/b Survey of Stagecraft and History of Stage Design
DRAM 124a/b Introduction to Lighting Design*
DRAM 162a/b Life Drawing Studio
DRAM 172a/b Digital Imaging for Designers
DRAM 222a Drafting for Designers
DRAM 222b Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Set Designers
DRAM 224a/b Introduction to Projection Design
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Year two (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 124a/b Introduction to Lighting Design*
DRAM 132a/b Advanced Discussions in Scenography
DRAM 152a/b Scene Painting
DRAM 224a/b Introduction to Projection Design
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 262a/b Advanced Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Set Designers
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Design assignments for School of Drama productions and assistant design assignments for YSD and/or Yale Repertory Theatre Productions

*DRAM 124a/b repeats. Focus in 2020–2021 is on theory. Focus in 2021–2022 will be on practical, light lab, and in-theater work.

Year three (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 142a/b Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 134a/b Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Design assignments for School of Drama and/or Yale Repertory productions
Year four (2023–2024)
Course Subject
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 262a/b Advanced Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Set Designers
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Two one-term electives over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School of Drama and/or Yale Repertory productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

Class of 2023

Required Sequence

Year two (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 132a/b Advanced Discussions in Scenography
DRAM 134a/b Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Year three (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 142a/b Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Design assignments for YSD and/or YRT productions
Year four (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 152a/b Scene Painting
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Two one-term electives over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for YSD and/or YRT productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

Class of 2022

Required Sequence

Year three (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 142a/b Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Year four (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 242a/b Drafting Review Session
DRAM 402a/b Set Seminar
Two one-term electives over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production
Design assignments for YSD and/or YRT productions

Plan of Study: Costume Design

Class of 2024

Required Sequence

Year one (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 89b Costume Construction
DRAM 112a/b Scenic Design: Background and Practice
DRAM 115a/b Costume Design: Background and Practice
DRAM 122a Survey of Stagecraft and History of Stage Design
DRAM 124a/b Introduction to Lighting Design*
DRAM 125a/b The History of Costume
DRAM 162a/b Life Drawing Studio
DRAM 189a Costume Production
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar

*DRAM 124a/b repeats. Focus in 2020–2021 is on theory.

Year two (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 132a/b Advanced Discussions in Scenography
DRAM 165a/b Digital Costume Illustration
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar
Year three (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 145a/b Advanced Professional Costume Design for the Stage
DRAM 155a/b Evolution of Cut and Cloth
DRAM 165a/b Digital Costume Illustration
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar
Design assignments for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Year four (2023–2024)
Course Subject
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar
Two one-term electives and professional development seminars over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School of Drama and/or Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

Class of 2023

Required Sequence

Year two (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 135a/b Advanced Problems in Costume Design
DRAM 165a/b Digital Costume Illustration
DRAM 175a Costume Design: Business and Practice
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar
Weekly production-related seminars
Assignments as assistant designer
Year three (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 145a/b Advanced Professional Costume Design for the Stage
DRAM 165a/b Digital Costume Illustration
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar
Design assignments for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Year four (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar
Two one-term electives and professional development seminars over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

Class of 2022

Required Sequence

Year three (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 125a/b The History of Costume (Elective)
DRAM 145a/b Advanced Professional Costume Design for the Stage
DRAM 165a/b Digital Costume Illustration
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar
Weekly production-related seminars
Assignments as assistant designer
Year four (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 155a/b Evolution of Cut and Cloth
DRAM 489a/b Costume Seminar
Two one-term electives and professional development seminars over the course of second, third, and fourth years of study
Design assignments for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

Plan of Study: Lighting Design

Class of 2024

Required Sequence

Year one (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 104b Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Lighting Designers*
DRAM 112a/b Scenic Design: Background and Practice
DRAM 115a/b Costume Design: Background and Practice
DRAM 134a/b Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting†
DRAM 158a Introduction to Sound Design
DRAM 162a/b Life Drawing Studio‡
DRAM 172a/b Digital Imaging for Designers
DRAM 222a Drafting for Designers
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Year two (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 104b Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Lighting Designers*
DRAM 132a/b Advanced Discussions in Scenography
DRAM 134a/b Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting†
DRAM 162a/b Life Drawing Studio‡
DRAM 224a/b Introduction to Projection Design
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Design assignments for School of Drama productions and assistant design assignments for YSD and/or Yale Repertory Theatre productions

*Class repeats. Content does not. Advanced skill levels are taught in 2021–2022.

†Class repeats. Focus in 2020–2021 is on theory. Focus in 2021–2022 will be on practical, light lab, and in-theatre work.

‡Class repeats. Drawing is a basic skill that requires constant practice.

Year three (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 142a/b Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 164a/b Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 334a/b Advanced Problems in Projection Design
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Design assignments for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Year four (2023–2024)
Course Subject
DRAM 174a/b Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Design assignments for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

Class of 2023

Required Sequence

Year two (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 132a/b Advanced Discussions in Scenography
DRAM 164a/b Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussion in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Year three (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 142a/b Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 174a/b Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 334a/b Advanced Problems in Projection Design
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Design assignments for School of Drama productions and assistant design assignments for YSD and/or Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Year four (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 142a/b Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 174a/b Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Electives
Design assignments for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

Class of 2022

Required Sequence

Year three (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 142a/b Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage
DRAM 174a/b Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design
DRAM 302a/b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Year four (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 404a/b Lighting Seminar
Electives
Design assignments for School of Drama productions and possible design assignments for Yale Repertory Theatre
Thesis Project: a comprehensive design for a theoretical production

Courses of Instruction

DRAM 3a/b, Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice This course meets both within individual departments and across disciplines, with students and faculty members as fellow learners, using readings, viewings, and discussions in pursuit of these goals: to identify the roots and branches of racism and white supremacy in the structures and practices of theater-making in the United States, including at Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre; to interrogate where the practices do harm and hinder; and to invest in the future by inviting students and faculty to imagine and uplift systems and cultures that do not depend upon or promote supremacy, to build a more just and equitable field.

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

DRAM 8a/b, The Artist as Citizen This course offers theater artists and managers a forum for reading, writing, and discussion, which may be guided or self-directed. Each student has an opportunity to consider personal responsibility to collaborators, the audience, and the broader society, with specific reference to each artist’s personal history and identity. What ethical and practical frameworks should shape our art form and its professional sphere? How might they align with personal practice and with value systems of the wider world? With an individual’s culture of origin? Or with the culture(s) in which we choose to work? What are the obligations and privileges of national and/or global citizenship? How can love and joy be centered when the artist embraces the role of citizen? This course is offered in person in both fall and spring terms and may be taken no more than eight times during a student’s enrollment. James Bundy

[DRAM 50a, The Collaborative Process See description under Directing. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 89b, Costume Construction See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 104b, Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Lighting Designers This course covers techniques, workflows, and best practices for using computer-assisted design (Vectorworks) to bring a lighting design from concept to professional drawing package. Students develop skills including drawing techniques; drawing structure and layout; utilizing working drawings; managing data and working with Lightwright; developing templates and libraries; and creating clear, well-styled drawings. Students receive individual guidance on approaching design project challenges and critiques of their drafting presentation. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Joshua Benghiat

DRAM 112a/b, Scenic Design: Background and Practice A two-term introduction for all first-year designers and interested non-design students to the process of scenic design through critique and discussions of weekly projects ranging from classic texts, operas, and musicals alongside modern and contemporary works. There are projects every two weeks. The goal is to create an in-depth examination of the assigned works leading to a three-dimensional model (1/8” or 1/4” scale) at the end of the second week. Emphasis is given to the examination of the text and the action of the play, the formulation of design ideas, the visual expression of the ideas, and especially the collaboration with directors and all other designers. There are invited speakers and playwrights discussing some of the works in class, expanding on the history and context in which the texts were written in order to have a more comprehensive and dramaturgical understanding of the play. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructors. The first term is a prerequisite for the second. Riccardo Hernandez, Michael Yeargan

DRAM 115a/b, Costume Design: Background and Practice This course addresses the process and documentation of designing costumes. Designers are encouraged to develop their eye by careful study of primary source research, while developing the student’s knowledge of paperwork and budgeting used by professional costume designers in the creation of industry-standard production costume bibles. Course work requires that students produce many design sketches weekly. Open only to members of the School of Drama community. Toni-Leslie James

DRAM 122a/b, Survey of Stagecraft and History of Stage Design An introductory course for all first-year designers in drafting, stagecraft, and production techniques and how they evolved through an overview of stage design history. Michael Yeargan

DRAM 124a/b, Introduction to Lighting Design This course is an introduction for all non-lighting design students to the aesthetics and the process of lighting design through weekly critique and discussion of theoretical and practical assignments. Emphasis is given to the examination of the action of the play in relation to lighting, the formulation of design ideas, the place of lighting in the overall production, and collaboration with directors, set, costume, and sound designers. Students entering the program in 2020 take DRAM 124 or DRAM 134 in both the 2020–2021 and the 2021–2022 academic years. The content of these courses is focused heavily on theory in the online year and consists almost entirely of practical explorations in the light lab and YSD/YRT theater spaces in the subsequent year. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Alan C. Edwards

DRAM 125a/b, The History of Costume A detailed survey of the history of apparel worn throughout Western civilization to provide the student with a working vocabulary of period clothing, and the ability to identify specific garments throughout history. Fall term: Ancient Greece–1600. Spring term: 1600–1900. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students. Toni-Leslie James

DRAM 132a/b, Advanced Discussions in Scenography This course continues the work started in DRAM 112a/b. The course seeks to cultivate and reinforce advanced, professional-level processes and practices in scenography. It concentrates on an in-depth analysis of twentieth- and twenty-first-century plays and operas, with emphasis on transitions as a fundamental rhythmic element of contemporary design. This course is an extension of DRAM 232, focusing on design realization involving story boards, model making (1/4” and 1/2” scales), and detailed plans. Prerequisite: DRAM 112a/b. Riccardo Hernandez, Michael Yeargan

DRAM 134a/b, Advanced Problems in Stage Lighting A course intended to help the student develop a sense of, and a facility with, light as an element in a production. Projects are prepared consistent with best professional practice. Students entering the program in 2020 take DRAM 124 or DRAM 134 in both the 2020–2021 and the 2021–2022 academic years. The content of these courses is focused heavily on theory in the online year and consists almost entirely of practical explorations in the light lab and YSD/YRT theater spaces in the subsequent year. Open to nondepartmental students who have taken DRAM 124a/b with permission of the instructor. Four hours a week. Stephen Strawbridge, Jennifer Tipton

DRAM 135a/b, Advanced Problems in Costume Design Building on the conceptual foundation established in DRAM 235, the course focuses on an in-depth dramaturgical study, character analysis, and the psychology of clothing—exploring how character and story are revealed through clothing choices, starting with costume’s inception in the text/music and culminating in a complete, conceptual design. Prerequisite: DRAM 115a/b. Oana Botez

DRAM 142a/b, Advanced Professional Set Design for the Stage The course seeks to cultivate and reinforce advanced, professional-level processes and practices in the work of third-year set designers. In designing plays, operas, and other dramatic works of their choosing, students are encouraged to evolve their own points of view and aesthetics. Work in a student’s primary area of concentration must be complete and comprehensive. Recognizing that no design discipline exists in isolation, students must also be able to express fully thought-out ideas about each of the other disciplines. The class meets weekly and in a monthly joint session with Advanced Professional Costume Design, Advanced Professional Lighting Design, and Advanced Professional Projection Design. Combined Design department faculty and guests

DRAM 145a/b, Advanced Professional Costume Design for the Stage The course seeks to cultivate and reinforce advanced, professional-level processes and practices in the realized work of third-year costume designers. The students are encouraged to evolve their own points of view and aesthetics as designers. The class meets weekly and includes monthly joint sessions with Advanced Professional Set Design, Advanced Professional Lighting Design, and Advanced Professional Projection Design. Combined Design department faculty and guests

[DRAM 152a/b, Scene Painting A studio class in painting techniques. Problems in textures, materials, styles, to prepare students to execute their own and other designs. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Three hours a week. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 155a/b, Evolution of Cut and Cloth This class is taught collaboratively with Costume Design department faculty and senior drapers of the Costume Shop staff. This is a hands-on class examining the development of cloth with respect to fiber and technology paralleling the development of clothing creation throughout the world. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 158a, Introduction to Sound Design Required of first-year lighting and second-year costume and set designers. See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 162a/b, Life Drawing Studio A course in figure drawing for design students. Drawing is not merely a technique for presentation; it is the language that reveals one’s thoughts, and thus creates a dialogue among the director, the designers, and their colleagues. Through drawing, one observes and records one’s world. Drawing informs and clarifies one’s vision and is an integral part of the formulation of a design. Drawing should be as natural to the visual designer as speaking; therefore, the department offers a weekly life drawing class so that design students can keep their skills honed. Three hours a week. Ru-Jun Wang

DRAM 164a/b, Professional Stage Lighting Design A course to prepare students for the demanding artistic and practical situations to be faced in the professional theater. Large-scale and somewhat complex production problems, such as multiset plays, musical comedies, operas, ballets, and repertory situations may be addressed by students for presentation and critique. Open to nondepartmental students who have taken DRAM 134a/b with permission of the instructor. Two hours a week. Stephen Strawbridge, Jennifer Tipton

DRAM 165a/b, Digital Costume Illustration This course provides instruction in introductory and intermediary digital illustration techniques, focused on costume design application. Emphasis is placed on creating cohesive digital artwork through direct painting and drawing in Photoshop, as well as using existing photo resources to assist in the design and illustration process. Students begin with the basics of creating and manipulating line work, layer management and blending, and color application. Intermediary skills include understanding Smart Objects and their use, shading techniques, creating and manipulating patterns and layer fills, use of special tools and brushes, blending modes, non-destructive editing procedures, and the manipulation of existing photos into the cohesive whole. Prerequisites: a drawing tablet and access to and basic familiarity with Photoshop. Emily Tappan

DRAM 172a/b, Digital Imaging for Designers A comprehensive introduction to two-dimensional computer graphics as it applies to designing for the theater. Students develop a working understanding of a digital workflow that includes input (scanning and digital photography), computer-aided design (Adobe Photoshop), and output (printing). The course focuses on the possibilities the computer offers scenic, lighting, and costume designers in professional practice. Open to nondepartmental students with permission of the instructor. David Biedny

DRAM 174a/b, Advanced Professional Stage Lighting Design The course seeks to cultivate and reinforce advanced, professional-level processes and practices in the work of third-year lighting designers. In the fall term, projects are the same as those assigned in DRAM 164a. In the spring term, the class continues to meet concurrently with DRAM 164, but projects are based on work coming out of DRAM 142 and/or DRAM 302. Therefore, participation in those classes is required. One project from the fall term of DRAM 142 will be chosen as a project for DRAM 174b. The spring project (thesis) from DRAM 142 will be the second DRAM 174b project. That project will constitute the lighting designer’s thesis and should be completed according to the highest professional standards.

DRAMA 175a, Costume Design: Business and Practice A course exploring the creative processes and business of costume design utilized in the development of effective costume design through specific design projects. The course seeks to enhance and develop the student’s knowledge of union membership, paperwork, budgeting, sourcing, and shopping used by professional costume designers in the creation of industry-standard production costume bibles. Toni-Leslie James

[DRAM 182b, Portraiture This course is designed for second- and third-year design students who are interested in further developing their painting skills with a live sitter. Through portrait painting, students refine fundamentals including color blocking, paint application, brushstrokes, and balance of painting. Although students are free to choose their paint medium, an opaque approach is preferred. Most students use acrylic. Figure-drawing skills such as composition, perspective, plane break, structure, contrast, and sense of depth are continually addressed. One-on-one guidance and critique are provided in an effort to help students identify and best resolve problem areas in their own paintings. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 189a, Costume Production See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 212a/b, Independent Study There may be special circumstances in which a student is allowed to pursue a particular area of inquiry independently, and on the student’s own time. Faculty supervision and approval is required in formulating the goals and the methods to be employed and a timetable. Faculty

DRAM 222a, Drafting for Designers This course is taught in conjunction with DRAM 122a/b, Stagecraft for Designers, and focuses on drafting for the stage. Students learn how to create a complete set of drawings suitable for budgeting and/or soliciting bids from shops in the professional theater. Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, Maruti Evans

DRAM 222b, Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Set Designers This course covers techniques, workflows, and best practices for using AutoCAD and Vectorworks to bring a set design from concept to professional drafting package. Students develop skills and techniques needed to create clear, well-styled drawings that communicate effectively. The class offers individual guidance on approaching design project challenges and critiques of drafting presentations. Open to nondepartmental students with prior permission of the instructor. Maruti Evans, Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams

[DRAM 224a/b, Introduction to Projection Design See description under Projection Design. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 232a/b, Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography This course seeks to cultivate and reinforce the creative relationship and professional-level processes between directors and designers. The class concentrates on in-depth analysis of twentieth- and twenty-first-century plays and operas, with emphasis on unearthing visual landscapes and mise en scène from the given texts and scores. The class is offered jointly with the Directing department. Faculty and guests

[DRAM 234a/b, Visual Storytelling See description under Projection Design. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 242a/b, Drafting Review Session This class provides an open studio environment for students to receive support for both production and in-class work on model making, drafting, and general design techniques and processes. Maruti Evans, Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams

[DRAM 262a/b, Advanced Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Set Designers This course covers advanced techniques for using AutoCAD and Vectorworks to bring a set design from concept to professional drafting package. Students build on skills learned in DRAM 222b. The class offers individual guidance on approaching design project challenges and critiques of drafting presentations. Prerequisite: DRAM 222b. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 302a, Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design The course focuses on collaboration among the various design disciplines. Students divide into groups, each representing several disciplines. Each group collaborates on the development of a comprehensive approach to the design for a play, opera, or devised theater piece of the team’s choosing. Work is reviewed by faculty at monthly sessions. Final presentation of the results of the collaborations takes place before the end of the term. Additional guidelines and parameters are discussed at the beginning of the term. Design faculty and guests

DRAM 302b, Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design The course focuses on collaboration among the various design disciplines. Students divide into groups, each representing several disciplines. Each group collaborates on the development of a comprehensive approach to the design for a play, opera, or devised theater piece of the team’s choosing. Work is reviewed by faculty at monthly sessions. Final presentation of the results of the collaborations takes place in the first week of April. Additional guidelines and parameters are discussed at the beginning of the term. Design faculty and guests

[DRAM 334a/b, Advanced Problems in Projection Design See description under Projection Design. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 402a/b, Set Seminar A weekly meeting of student set designers in all years of the program to discuss specific issues arising out of current YSD and YRT productions so that all can learn from the challenges encountered and solutions discovered in actual production. The focus is on a horizontal, student-to-student exchange of knowledge, as opposed to the vertical, faculty-to-student teaching that happens in many classes. This forum is also open for discussion of any other topics that might influence the thinking of designers in the contemporary world, such as the work of influential designers, artists, and films.

DRAM 404a/b, Lighting Seminar A weekly meeting of student lighting designers in all years of the program to discuss specific issues arising out of current YSD and YRT productions so that all can learn from the challenges encountered and solutions discovered in actual production. The focus is on a horizontal, student-to-student exchange of knowledge, as opposed to the vertical, faculty-to-student teaching that happens in many classes. This forum is also open for discussion of any other topics that might influence the thinking of designers in the contemporary world, such as the work of influential designers, artists, and films.

DRAM 489a/b, Costume Seminar See description under Technical Design and Production.

Plan of Study: Projection Design

The Projection Design concentration, offered through the Design department, provides a unique opportunity to develop skills that work in concert with all theatrical disciplines. Projection design for performance is both one of the newest and most rapidly advancing areas of theatrical design. It is vital that future practitioners learn to deliver this new media within the larger context of theatrical storytelling. It is the goal of the program to teach the use of these powerful tools of media and animation to enhance and expand experience. Study and projects in other design concentrations—set, costume, lighting, and sound—along with the practice of projection design for live events, and art installation, foster the creation of total theater artists. Projection designers can and will become creators of independent works beyond the walls of the stage. This program aims to encourage exploration and instill the knowledge, confidence, and skill for collaboration as well as authorship.

The question of “why projection” is a constant heartbeat of the program. Not all theatrical production can or should support projection. Through the study of historical usage and exploration of the power of media in performance, students develop the critical thinking that will allow them to create meaningful and relevant work.

Yale School of Drama requires design students to train in many disciplines: building set models, drafting light plots, drawing costume renderings, and creating sound samples. Success in the program demands both digital and hand skills. A weekly life drawing class is required in the first year of study to sharpen the student’s hand and eye. It is essential that students be able to process what they see in front of them, as well as transfer ideas from thought to a form understandable by others. Classes in digital skills as well as digital and analog animation are offered as well. While the concentration of the instruction is on inventive, critical, as well as musical thinking, it is essential that projection designers also have a command of drafting as a communication tool and an awareness of the ever-expanding landscape of programming and digital rendering tools.

The program includes script analysis, dramaturgy, and the essential collaborative skill, listening. There are opportunities to work directly with playwrights, directors, and other designers in both class projects and public performance. There is no substitute for the experience of creating actual production work, and the opportunities to create as well as to assist are abundant, except in this year of pandemic.

We are committed to using this time of physical separation to concentrate on deeper exploration of projection history, filmmaking, and cinematic skills that will support the work of these designers going forward.

When we are allowed, projection designers will each have a workspace in the visual design studios with the other visual designers in their graduating cohort. There is a specialized studio space for all projection students at 305 Crown, with resources and workstations designed to support the specific needs of projection design students. Additionally, with proper training, students have access to the production studio, motion capture equipment, and other resources at the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media (CCAM), as well as the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID)

In addition to course work and production assignments, there will be opportunities to create installation in collaboration with the sound and directing programs and several potential possibilities with Yale Opera and the School of Music. Throughout the year, a variety of workshops support artistic and technical growth, with the goal of looking beyond the traditional dramatic framework. Past workshops have included Manual Cinema, Mark Coniglio/Isadora, Touch Designer, and director Kym Moore’s exploration of nonverbal drama.

Class of 2024

Required Sequence

Year one (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 104b Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Lighting Designers
DRAM 112a/b Scenic Design: Background and Practice
DRAM 122a Survey of Stagecraft and History of Stage Design
DRAM 124a/b Introduction to Lighting Design
DRAM 158a Introduction to Sound Design
DRAM 172a/b Digital Imaging for Designers
DRAM 222a Drafting for Designers
DRAM 324a/b Image, Cinema, and Identity
DRAM 374a/b Projection Production Process
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
Year two (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 124a/b Introduction to Lighting Design
DRAM 141b Law and the Arts
DRAM 224a/b Introduction to Projection Design
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 234a/b Visual Storytelling
DRAM 239a Projection Engineering
DRAM 244a/b Motion Graphics and Film Production
DRAM 248b Sound Designers and Directors Workshop II
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
Assignments as assistant designers
Year three (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 162a Life Drawing Studio
DRAM 302b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 334a/b Advanced Problems in Projection Design
DRAM 339b Advanced Projection Engineering
DRAM 364a Animation Studio
DRAM 384a/b Advanced Projection Production Process
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
Two one-term electives including at least one music elective (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Up to two projection design assignments (if prepared, and as schedule allows)
Production assignments as assistant projection designers and projection designers for School of Drama, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Shakespeare Repertory Project productions
Year four (2023–2024)
Course Subject
DRAM 344a/b Advanced Professional Projection Design
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
One professional projection assignment (if prepared)
Production assignments as assistant projection designers and projection designers for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Thesis Project: conception, creation, and presentation of a live performance in which projection ideas and content are fully integrated into the performance and are essential to the design and storytelling

Class of 2023

Required Sequence

Year two (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 6a/b Survey of Theater and Drama
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 244a/b Motion Graphics and Film Production
DRAM 324a/b Image, Cinema, and Identity
DRAM 364a Animation Studio
DRAM 384a/b Advanced Projection Production Process
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
DRAM 420a Making Stories Online
Two one-term electives including at least one music elective (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Year three (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 302b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 334a/b Advanced Problems in Projection Design
DRAM 339b Advanced Projection Engineering
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
Two one-term electives including at least one music elective (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Up to two projection design assignments (if prepared, and as schedule allows)
Production assignments as assistant projection designers and projection designers for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Year four (2022–2023)
Course Subject
DRAM 344a/b Advanced Professional Projection Design
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
One professional projection assignment (if prepared)
Production assignments as assistant projection designers and projection designers for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Thesis Project: conception, creation, and presentation of a live performance in which projection ideas and content are fully integrated into the performance and are essential to the design and storytelling

Class of 2022

Required Sequence

Year three (2020–2021)
Course Subject
DRAM 3a/b Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice
DRAM 232a/b Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography
DRAM 324a/b Image, Cinema, and Identity
DRAM 344a/b Advanced Professional Projection Design
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
DRAM 420a Making Stories Online
Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
Year four (2021–2022)
Course Subject
DRAM 302b Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design
DRAM 339b Advanced Projection Engineering
DRAM 344a/b Advanced Professional Projection Design
DRAM 394b Advanced Topics in Projection Design
DRAM 414a/b Projection Seminar
Two one-term electives (in consultation with Projection faculty)
One professional projection assignment (if prepared)
Production assignments as assistant projection designers and projection designers for School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre productions
Thesis Project: conception, creation, and presentation of a live performance in which projection ideas and content are fully integrated into the performance and are essential to the design and storytelling

Courses of Instruction: Projection Design

DRAM 3a/b, Toward Anti-Racist Theater Practice This course meets both within individual departments and across disciplines, with students and faculty members as fellow learners, using readings, viewings, and discussions in pursuit of these goals: to identify the roots and branches of racism and white supremacy in the structures and practices of theater-making in the United States, including at Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre; to interrogate where the practices do harm and hinder; and to invest in the future by inviting students and faculty to imagine and uplift systems and cultures that do not depend upon or promote supremacy, to build a more just and equitable field.

DRAM 6a/b, Survey of Theater and Drama See description under Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

[DRAM 50a, The Collaborative Process See description under Directing. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 104b, Computer-Assisted Design Techniques for Lighting Designers See description under Design.

DRAM 112a/b, Scenic Design: Background and Practice See description under Design.

DRAM 122a, Survey of Stagecraft and History of Stage Design See description under Design.

DRAM 124a/b, Introduction to Lighting Design See description under Design.

[DRAM 141b, Law and the Arts See description under Theater Management. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 158a, Introduction to Sound Design See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 162a/b, Life Drawing Studio See description under Design.

DRAM 172a/b, Digital Imaging for Designers See description under Design.

DRAM 212a/b, Independent Study See description under Design.

[DRAM 224a/b, Introduction to Projection Design In this yearlong course, students develop an understanding of how projection can be integrated into the theatrical space. Students consider media as a storytelling tool and create storyboards and video projects. Emphasis is on exploration, collaboration, and thinking in pictures. Students are expected to participate in a number of digital skills seminars that are offered concurrently with this class. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 232a/b, Advanced Discussions in Directing and Scenography See description under Design.

[DRAM 234a/b, Visual Storytelling This is a lecture, film, and discussion course that explores the various ways in which idea and emotion have been expressed for the eye and mind. Lecturers and filmed documentaries cover topics in art history from cave painting to the graphic novel, color theory, cinema history, graphic design, typography, photography, and an exploration of the visual in avant-garde theater. Vision is our language; we see before we speak. The goal of this course is to create expressive polyglots. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with prior permission of the instructor. Limited enrollment. Priority given to School of Drama and School of Art students and to students in their last year of study. Special registration procedures apply to non-School of Drama students; students must e-mail wendall.harrington@yale.edu prior to the first week of classes to request permission. No shoppers. The first class of each term must be attended. Course is graded Pass/Fail. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 239a, Projection Engineering See description under Technical Design and Production.

DRAM 244a/b, Motion Graphics and Film Production Digital video and motion graphics have become a central asset in the theater, and this course covers a diverse set of topics relating to video capture and delivery formats, compression fundamentals, utilization of graphics elements in motion graphics animation, nonlinear video editing techniques, special effects, and the digital video production pipeline. Students primarily utilize Adobe After Effects and Apple Motion to create motion graphics and animation content and Adobe Premiere to edit and produce finished assets, with an emphasis on the technical and creative challenges of projection in a theatrical environment. Open to nondepartmental and non-School of Drama students with permission of the instructor. David Biedny

DRAM 248b, Sound Designers and Directors Workshop II See description under Sound Design.

DRAM 302b, Advanced Collaboration in Multidiscipline Design See description under Design.

DRAM 324a/b, Image, Cinema, and Identity This course in the fall explores the ways in which image and narrative cinema have created both enriching and enraging ideas related to identity, racism, male gaze, and other visual tropes. Through readings and film viewings that create discourse, discovery, and engagement, we aim toward a more accurate view of the world and self, including ways we have accepted tropes for truth. We explore intercultural cinema and the artist as witness. Class projects include the making of a digital self-portrait and “selfie” discovery. In the spring term, we continue mining memory and personal history to produce a short film or personal essay in collaboration with the filmmakers Billy Gerard Frank and Lauren Beck. After spring break, the class considers contemporary uses of media in live performance. Offered to students outside of YSD only with permission of the instructor. No prerequisites; the terms can be taken independently, but 324a will heavily inform 324b. Wendall K. Harrington, Billy Gerard Frank, Lauren Beck

[DRAM 334a/b, Advanced Problems in Projection Design A course to prepare students for the collaborative task of creating projection for the stage. Emphasis is given to script analysis, research, media preparation, as well as programming and engineering from the design perspective. Projects include creating media for Yale Opera and a collaboration with School of Drama playwrights. Open to nondepartmental students who have taken DRAM 224a/b. Not offered in 2020–2021]

[DRAM 339b, Advanced Projection Engineering See description under Technical Design and Production. Not offered in 2020–2021]

DRAM 344a/b, Advanced Professional Projection Design This class provides professional preparation for work on School of Drama productions and other venues, as well as creation of an original dance and collaborative design work. The class meets weekly and in a monthly joint session with Advanced Professional Set Design, Advanced Professional Costume Design, and Advanced Professional Lighting Design. Prerequisite: DRAM 334a/b and prior permission of the instructor. Class meets by arrangement with instructors. Wendall K. Harrington, Shawn Boyle, Marjorie Folkman, combined Design department faculty, and guests

DRAM 354b, Advanced Media Production This combined classroom/online class focuses on the production of a collaborative music video utilizing advanced imaging and motion graphics techniques—including visual synthesis, motion tracking and stabilization, compositing, audio synchronization, and motion design—combining four on-site class sessions with custom-scheduled online production meetings, virtual tutorials and instruction, progress reviews, and a real-world, virtual digital production pipeline. David Biedny

DRAM 364a, Animation Studio A hands-on workshop aimed at creating expressive animations. From a simple movement to an expressive action, how do we create the appearance of intention, emotion, and materiality in moving images? The class is focused on experimentation: after reviewing the fundamentals of a particular style of animation, such as hand-drawn animation, stop-motion, cutouts, pixilation, or digital animation, students apply the concepts to exercises resulting in short films. The class emphasizes fundamental animation tools—timing interpolation, arcs, eases and squeezes, storyboarding, animatic—as well as animation software and basic camera techniques. Students learn how to use appropriate techniques to portray personality, create fluid body motions and organic movements, staging gesture, thought, material, weight, and lip-synch. The sessions consist of demonstrations, viewing of related works, hands-on experimentation, and critique. Computer editing and the use of digital cameras, scanners, and Wacom tablets are critical skills that provide the foundation for this class. Manuel Barenboim

DRAM 374a/b, Projection Production Process This class takes students through the projection design process, from offer letter to opening. Students become familiar with, and perform, the various roles and responsibilities of members of the projection design team: designer, assistant, programmer, engineer, researcher, content creator, etc. The course consists of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on lab work with a focus on preparing students for their production assignments. Wendall K. Harrington, Shawn Boyle

DRAM 384a/b, Advanced Projection Production Process This class continues the work of DRAM 374a/b, looking closer at the role of the projection designer and exploring the world of projection in a dramatic context beyond the spoken word: opera, dance, musical theater, and themed entertainment. Students encounter, discuss, investigate, and prepare for the design problems found in these production environments. The class functions as a guided brain trust for experimentation in design planning, presentation, and execution. Prerequisite: DRAM 374a/b and prior permission of the instructor. Shawn Boyle

DRAM 394a, DIY Moviemaking This class is a module, meeting the first seven weeks of the fall 2020 term. This class takes a restrained resource approach to creating media primarily with mobile technology, getting straight to the heart of visual storytelling with a constrained set of tools. We explore the entire process, encompassing pre-production, production, and post-production steps in the creation of video projects. In pre-production, we plan, script, and storyboard ideas to create a compelling presentation of ideas, moods, and emotions. In production, students use their smartphone cameras or tablets to collect images, audio, and video that will be blended together to create compelling stories. Camera technique and control, balanced with good composition, are mastered in conjunction with audio editing and basic music production, resulting in a coherent piece of storytelling. In post-production editing, students blend together a variety of captured and researched media with their phones and laptops, using creative combinations of software, as well as online collaborative techniques in multimedia production. Student projects are determined on an individual basis and may include music videos, stop motion animation, mock commercials, basic visual effects, and video blogs. Different methods of media distribution, encoding formats, and strategies are also explored and evaluated. Course schedule will be determined with registered students, and Zoom sessions will be recorded to allow for asynchronous learning. David Biedny

DRAM 394b, Advanced Topics in Projection Design This class is a series of scheduled workshops in technology and design craft with invited specialists. The class offers a range of opportunities, from insight into an artist’s way of working and exposure to new control systems, to exploring one’s own artistic interest and deeper explorations of known control software. Past technical workshops include: Touch Designer, Isadora, Mapping Matter, and Disguise. Previous guest artists include Miwa Matreyek, Cynthia Hopkins and Jeff Sugg, Dan Braun, Larry Reed, Lenore Malen, Josh Weisberg, and Kym Moore. Facilitators: Wendall Harrington and Shawn Boyle

DRAM 414a/b, Projection Seminar Each production has unique challenges, and the projection seminar is an opportunity for all projection design students to learn vicariously through the productions designed by their colleagues. The seminar provides a time and space for the community of projection designers to examine their process throughout the production period, getting weekly feedback in areas where they have asked for help or guidance in areas where their mentors see they need support, and brainstorming with the group. Using the analogy of Yale Repertory Theatre as a teaching hospital, this seminar is the skills lab. This is also a time to discuss what’s happening in theater, film, motion graphics, music, theater, dance, opera, visual art, and sculpture as it relates to, or inspires, our field. Facilitated by Shawn Boyle

DRAM 420a, Making Stories Online In a world where traditional theaters are closed, how can theater makers tell stories in virtual space? Part theory and part practice, this course invites students to study existing methods and create new models of online collaboration, making, storytelling, and interacting with audiences. The course consists of a weekly seminar/laboratory, individual team tutorials, and self-scheduled afternoon/evening rehearsals. Students wear lots of hats throughout the term—devising, designing, writing, producing, and performing, often across traditional theater disciplines. An elective course, open to directors, designers, and first-year actors by permission of the instructor. Ethan Heard