Many reputable colleges offer technical theater degrees for students fascinated by stage lighting and sound production. Students learn how to position lights on cat walks, shine spotlights, create interesting sound and light effects, and manage sophisticated sound and light systems. Artistically designed and skillfully executed lighting and sound techniques dramatically enhance mood and realism. College classes and hands-on experience prepare technical theater majors for interesting careers as professional stage lighting and sound technicians.
California Institute of the Arts
California Institute of the Arts, located in Valencia near Los Angeles, offers a design and production program leading to a bachelor of fine arts. After taking one year of foundation classes to learn about theater, students can customize a course of individual study concentrating on stage lighting and sound. Examples of course offerings in the sound and lighting curriculum include beginning and advanced design, stage production and use of electronic technology. Students are paired with faculty mentors who offer advising and support.
A major in design and production is available through the theater department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Initially, students complete introductory courses in theater history and acting while also studying the design of sound systems, lighting, sets and costumes. Students then choose classes specific to their interests, such as advanced light and sound design, sound studio, lighting technology and audio production. Opportunities are also provided for a practicum experience. Additionally, students are taught to tap their creativity and work cooperatively in teams.
Students at Ithaca College can earn a bachelor of fine arts with a concentration in theater technology or theater design. The theater technology track focuses on managing backstage operations of a production, including sound and lighting technology, props, technical directing and scene construction. By their senior year, students are capable of supervising a production crew. The theater design track is for students who prefer designing scenes, costumes, lighting and sound. Highly skilled instructors supervise and guide students who are given increasing levels of responsibility. Seniors are very involved in designing major theatrical productions incorporating their own ideas.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point offers a bachelor of fine arts in design & technology that teaches students how to apply classroom ideas to real-world experiences. Beginning and specialty courses are offered in all aspects of production, including sound and lighting. Each semester, design/tech majors are heavily involved in mainstage productions and smaller studio performances to perfect their craft. Admission to the major requires an interview and aptitude for theater technology. Courses include theater history, acting, lighting and sound design, beginning and advanced sound, and light design, for example.