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The purpose of the Master of Fine Arts degree in Technical Production is to train the candidate for a career in regional, corporate or university theater. The three-year program is organized to prepare the candidate to assume responsibility for the entire production process from technical drawings through strike. This is achieved through classes and modules that include training in AutoCAD, construction, structural design, rigging, automation, mechanical systems and shop management.

PlayMakers Repertory Company, a professional Equity theater and a member of the League of Resident Theaters, is affiliated with the Department of Dramatic Art. The candidate’s work with the PRC shop is an integral part of the training. The candidate participates as if they are a member of the professional staff of PRC. Professional attitude, quality of work and punctuality are expected from all members of the professional staff and this applies to the candidate as well.

First Year:

1st Semester – 12 hours total

Dram 800—3.0 hrs. Technical Direction (study of technical and engineering problems in theatrical production, structures)

Dram 805—3.0 hrs. Special Studies/Theatrical Drafting Standards (A study and practicum of theatrical drawings as they apply to design and construction for scenery for a theatrical production)

Dram 806—3.0 hrs. Advanced Technical Methods (a study of the equipment and procedures in the execution of scenery for a theatrical production)

Dram 841—3.0 hrs. Technical Theater Practicum (production work with PlayMakers and the Department of Dramatic Art)

2nd Semester – 12 hours total

Dram 801—3.0 hrs. Technical Direction II

Dram 805—3.0 hrs. Special Studies/Drafting True Size and Shape (A study of the procedure for drafting true size and shape for technical design and construction of scenery)

Dram 814—3.0 hrs. Professional Theatre Lab/Electrics & Motor Theory (study of electrics related to scene shop, motors, tools and mechanical systems)

Dram 842—3.0 hrs. Technical Theater Practicum II (arc welding, TIG welding, oxyacetylene welding/brazing, production work with PlayMakers and the Department of Dramatic Art)

Second Year:

1st Semester – 12 hours total

Dram 820—3.0 hr. Production Management (Provide an overview of Production Management, Producing, Artistic and Administration duties over the course a season at a professional theatre.)

Dram 802—3.0 hrs. Advanced Technical Direction (a study of management, technical, and engineering problems involved in theatrical production, and AutoCAD)

Dram 830—3.0 hrs. Technical Production Seminar/Fluid Power (pneumatics, hydraulics and motion controL)

Dram 843—3.0 hrs. Technical Theater Practicum III (TD for Departmental Productions, ATD for PlayMakers, and production work for PlayMakers and the Department of Dramatic Art)

2nd Semester – 12 hours total

Dram 803—3.0 hrs. Advanced Studies in Technical Direction (Budgeting and Drafting. Drafting and Programming for the CNC)

Dram 805—3.0 hrs. Special Studies/Rigging/Stage Machinery & Mechanics (Motors and Automation)

Dram 814—3.0 hrs. Professional Theatre Lab/Auxiliary Technologies for the Technical Director (Lighting, Sound, Video, Networking, 3D Printing, Lasercutting, as they relate to Technical Direction)

Dram 844—3.0 hrs. Technical Theater Practicum IV (may include TD for Departmental Productions, ATD for PlayMakers, and production work for PlayMakers and the Department of Dramatic Art)

Third Year:

1st Semester – 9 hours total

Dram 813—3.0 hrs. Technical Planning and Production (Machining, production work for PlayMakers and the Department of Dramatic Art)

Dram 830—3.0 hrs. Technical Production Seminar/Occupational Safety

Dram 845—3.0 hrs. Scenography for the Theater (a study of the scenographic techniques as it involves surface manipulation for scenery for a theatrical production)

2nd Semester – 9 hours total

Dram 813—3.0 hrs. Technical Planning and Production

Dram 845–3.0 hrs. Stage Properties

Dram 992—3.0 hrs. Graduate Final Practicum/Thesis Project (TD for PlayMakers Production or approved production project)

Total Graduate hours required for the degree: 66

The Department of Dramatic Art provides opportunities to design lighting, sound, and scenery for productions (this is not the emphasis for this program, however). The Department also provides, for the qualified candidate, an opportunity to teach related technical classes for the undergraduate program.


• Complete the online application for admission into graduate school: More information is posted at:

• In addition to uploading, please send a copy of your résumé, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation and transcript directly to Michael Rolleri at or to Center for Dramatic Art, CB #3230, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3230

• Applicants will be asked to arrange a date for a personal interview and on-campus visit. During this visit you will be expected to show a portfolio of your work. Students will be chosen on the basis of demonstrated ability, shown in the portfolio presentation, comprising past work in the field and an interview with the supervising faculty. It is assumed that applying students have prior experience in both theatre and technical methods.

• Technical Production representatives attend LiNK, URTA and United States Institute of Theatre Technology conventions. Interviews may be arranged at these conferences, but if you are seriously interested in our program, you should plan an on-campus visit late fall to early spring. Applications to the technical production program are accepted for the first year only. Continuation in these programs is subject to the approval of the MFA faculty.


At least once a semester, the faculty will formally evaluate the candidate’s progress and make recommendations concerning continuation in the program. Evaluation of each individual will be made on the basis of classroom work, modules, and any and all work with the professional company and the Department of Dramatic Art. Letter grades (H, P, L, F) will be assigned for the work in all classes. In addition to classroom work, the candidate is required to present at every evaluation an updated resume and portfolio. This portfolio should contain updated photographs, drawings and other items that demonstrate the professional and individual development of the candidate.


The calendar for the MFA Technical candidate will not always coincide with that of the university at large. Production work and additional classes may be scheduled on weekends. Academic holidays may not be observed as well since the professional company does not follow the school calendar. Candidates may be asked to return early from holidays. Candidates should plan to be available on campus from the first rehearsal week through the strike of the final production (August to mid May). Candidates must accustom themselves to a flexible schedule common to the professional theater.


Michael Rolleri, Production Manager
The Department of Dramatic Art
CB#3230 Center for Dramatic Art
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-3230
Phone:  (919) 843-9818