About Northwestern University’s Master of Fine Arts in Stage Design

I am an Associate Professor, and Associate Chair of Theatre, at Northwestern University’s Department of Theatre where I teach in the MFA design programs.

The program is distinguished by it’s three-prong approach to teaching stage design through intense theoretical and practicum based study of design process, skills training, and collaboration techniques.

About The Program

Northwestern University’s Master of Fine Arts in Stage Design is one of the country’s outstanding graduate programs for the training of the visual stage artist. Through a uniquely structured curriculum, the program interacts with the Master of Fine Arts in Directing Program. A faculty of four full-time professional designers provides the program’s vision and guidance. Adjunct faculty from the Chicago professional theater community also teach in the program.


The Masters of Fine Arts in Stage Design Program at Northwestern University exists to prepare a select group of scenery, costume, and lighting designers for professional careers in the American theatre, international theater and related design fields. Central to this three-year program of study is an emphasis on intensive collaboration between designers and directors, rigorous analysis of texts, thorough research and a fervent effort to nurture unique artistic voices. It is our belief that passionate, insightful artists, immersed in a team-based environment, will generate bold, compelling theatrical works. Necessary for continuation each year is the student’s development toward mastery of a complete repertoire of graphic techniques and a heightened conceptual and design aesthetic in a primary design field, mastery of a range of fundamental abilities in a secondary field, and maturing collaboration skills. The first year of study emphasizes the importance of skills training and design process. The second year prioritizes collaboration, research, and imagination and serves as a transition from the activities and points of view of the entering student to the professional profile and attitudes of the graduating designer. The final year’s activity concentrates on designing and the preparation of the thesis portfolio.

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