Visualizing the Imagination
The Design Program at UHM is a
small, personalized, multi-cultural
program that emphasizes hands-on
training, varied design and teaching
mentoring with professionally active
faculty, and design prospects with area
theatres. The program strives to
provide students a balance of formal
theatre education with practical
theatre experience and training.
Students will be exposed to multiple
venues for Western Theatre, Asian
Theat re, Theat re for Young
Audiences, and Dance. Although
participation in classes from other
design areas is expected, MFA design
students primarily concentrate on one
of three disciplines, scenic, lighting,
or costume design, and may also
choose to have a secondary area of
Production HighlightsThe program at UHM provides a unique opportunity to learn and design for a wide variety of production styles. In addition to the study and design for classical and contemporary Western theatre, our students also have the unique opportunity to take specialized classes and be involved with productions from our world-renowned Asian Theatre program. This not only increases their understanding of world theatre practices, but also allows them to work directly with our resident faculty and visiting guest artists from Asia; typically China, Indonesia and Japan. Over the years, students have designed mainstage productions for Chinese jingju and Indonesian randai, as well as Japanese kabuki, kyogen and noh. We have also recently added a faculty specialist in Hawaiian and Pacific Theatre to our ranks, offering the exciting potential for design exposure in this area as well. In addition, our nationally known Theatre for Young Audiences program exposes design students to a whole world of adventurous and creative design opportunities and challenges involving musical theatre, touring productions, clowning, dance, puppets, props, and masks, as well as Asian and Pacific theatre techniques. And our close relationship with the Dance program exposes our students to one of the most exciting and lucrative fields of theatrical design.
Approach and SupportThe design program and our design classes are kept small to allow for personalized attention and time for skill development , presentations, discussions, and critiques. From acceptance into the program through to graduation, every student designer is connected to a faculty mentor who monitors the student’s progress. No design student is “tossed-into-the-deepend.” Our faculty works with students directly, one-on-one throughout the design process, offering degrees of contact to suit individual needs, from first show to last, systematically and progressively building their work to more complex, challenging and expansive shows. MFA design students have the addition of a graduate committee, who under the direction of the student’s committee chair/mentor, guide the student through their three-year program.
Design OppertunitesMany students begin the practical part of their program by designing for student or faculty directed productions in our variable black box theatre. Graduate and Undergraduate students alike may have the opportunity to design for a recognized and heavily publicized season, including productions for our Prime Time and Late-Night programs; the latter allowing students the freedom to work with other students and with minimal faculty oversight. Students have the opportunity to learn directly as assistant designers to our professional and talented faculty. Whenever possible, students receive preference over faculty for design positions on our many and varied mainstage productions. When prepared and qualified, student designers progress to this venue, where they work with resident faculty directors and choreographers, as well as nationally and internationally known guest artists. Mainstage productions include selections from Asian Theatre, Western Theatre, Theatre for Young Audiences, and Dance. Students are also provided opportunities, sometimes in conjunction with classes, to design and work professionally outside the university with area theatres. br> br>
Because of the Design Program's unique multicultural training, our graduates stand out in the job market. Our graduates have found work across the nation in design, technical and other production positions for regional and semi-professional theatre, as well as teaching and designing for reputable colleges and universities.