Follow your passion and learn the art of theatrical storytelling through theatre design and production.
Costumes reveal the inner world of the character. As costume designers, we harness this ability to bring the story to life for the audience. In the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Production – Costume Design, you will gain hands-on experience in all aspects of costume design and technology, and see your work realized in fully-staged productions in theatre, opera and dance.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Production allows students to specialize in one of five emphases:
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Minor in This Program
Shenandoah Conservatory offers minors in Music, Theatre, and Dance for all Shenandoah University students. Acceptance into conservatory minors must be approved by the Division/Department Chair, and some minors require an audition.
Declaring a Minor
Shenandoah students work with their Academic Advisor to declare a minor. Academic Advisors will continue to work with students to ensure that they fulfill all of the requirements to complete the minor.
Incoming students should not indicate their intended minor on their Shenandoah application. Applications are for intended majors only.
Costume design students are often employed by us for our professional summer theatre company, Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, which produces three large musicals every season.
The Career Services office helps place Shenandoah students in internships related to their major and career goals. Internships differentiate you as an applicant in your future job searches, gives you hands on experience in your field, allows you to sample different career paths for your major, and helps your find a specific position that fits your passion before graduation.
Career Possibilities and Preparation
Shenandoah’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Production is a pre-professional training program that prepares you for entry into the industry or to pursue a graduate degree. The degree prepares you to work professionally in both design and technical positions in professional and educational theatre, cruise ships, theme parks, sales and production companies, creative display design, historical renovation, museum installation, mural and faux finishers, and industrial design and production.
Resume and portfolio preparation taught every semester, including professional websites. The program enables students to graduate with an impressive portfolio of renderings and photographs of realized work..
Hands-on preparation for participation in professional theatre conferences, connecting students with professional career opportunities in the summer and after graduation.
Opportunities to work in the Costume Shop through work study and class time, which both trains students in professional costume construction standards and provides opportunities to create portfolio material.
The Career Services Office provides a comprehensive range of services and resources to assist Shenandoah students in their career search. Services offered include resume and cover letter building, mock interviews, and professional dining etiquette workshops.
Our small class sizes allow for one-on-one, hands-on mentoring. Over the course of your four years in the program, you will gain actual experience in every type of major production responsibility within your emphasis, including multiple chances to work with professional artists in seeing productions through from start to finish.
First year Theatre Design and Production students experience the beginning curriculum sequence, with Introduction to Theatrical Design, Introduction to Theatrical Production, Stage Costuming, Theatre Drawing, and Graphic Arts. In the second year, you will begin assisting the costume designer and start to take courses such as Costume Rendering to help build your design and construction skills. You will also begin to build your portfolio.
In your third year, you will continue to take courses which will build your design and construction skills, including highly specialized coursework in Fashion History, Costume Construction, and Pattern Drafting. After faculty evaluation, during your final year, you wil be assigned two capstone projects. In Professional Preparation for Design and Production, you will build a professional website, learn to write cover letters and create your résumé as you build your portfolio.
As host to Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT), our summer professional theatre company, we offer unique opportunities to our students. You can apply to work as a part of our production team in many different positions. Many alumni have returned to work for SSMT in a variety of roles. You will have the chance to network with young professionals from all over the country.
Learning support services are available to all students in every course at Shenandoah. Free peer tutoring with a student who has previously succeeded in the course is available for any course across the university. The Writing Center is available for every stage of the writing process from thesis development to proofreading and bibliography assistance. The Math Enrichment Center is available for math and science assistance. Professors and Academic Advisors across the university also have office hours and open door policies to ensure Shenandoah students succeed academically.
Performance Opportunities and Ensembles
Shenandoah Conservatory produces more than 400 performances each year. Enroll in a dynamic curriculum and start preparing for a meaningful career in the arts. You will practice your craft in front of audiences and develop a plan for your professional launch into the industry that focuses on your personal desires and aspirations.
Embrace extensive performance opportunities with top-tier facilities from theatres, concert halls and dance studios. Unite with fellow artists and join an alumni family that takes center stage from Broadway to the concert halls of Europe.
Shenandoah Conservatory is home to more than 20 instrumental, vocal, and dance ensembles that present numerous performances every year. These performances take place throughout Shenandoah University’s vibrant campus on its various stages, including a concert hall, recital hall, proscenium stage, black box studio, outdoor amphitheater and more, to venues and performance spaces in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and around the world. Ensembles constantly engage with Shenandoah’s dynamic faculty and an array of distinguished guest artists through residencies, workshops and unique performance opportunities.
Experience the world-renowned Shenandoah Conservatory. Study with master teachers – more than 100 professionals in music, theatre, dance and arts management.
Shenandoah Conservatory’s prestigious faculty is dynamic, creative, and passionately committed to the highest levels of artistic excellence. A deeply caring community, they mentor students with a wealth of professional expertise, balancing rigorous expectations with compassion and wisdom. At Shenandoah, you will study with, and perform for, award-winning composers, Metropolitan Opera singers, Grammy Award winning conductors and international competition winners. You will learn from leading scholars in music and premiere works created by accomplished dance artists and cutting-edge directors. Shenandoah Conservatory’s faculty embodies the highest levels of professional accomplishment and the deepest commitment to furthering the artistic growth and creative aspirations of students in every discipline.
Costume Designer; Associate Professor, TheatreFull Biography
Jennifer Flitton Adams
Costume Designer; Associate Professor, Costume DesignFull Biography
Application and Audition Information
Shenandoah University works on rolling admissions. Applications are reviewed individually and holistically.
Submit your application, review required admissions materials, and find our admissions standards.
Admission to Shenandoah Conservatory is highly competitive. Not only must students be academically admissible, they must also complete and pass the mandatory audition/portfolio review and interview process. Audition dates are limited and may fill and close well in advance of the audition date.
Make studying abroad the highlight of your college experience! Whether you go for a year, a semester, or just a few weeks, you will never forget learning in another culture! The Center for International Programs is here to help you plan your study abroad experience. Start your planning early to ensure the courses you complete abroad count toward your degree and you graduate on time.
Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program
The Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program offers Shenandoah students a short-term, faculty-led, study-abroad experience for academic credit. These short-term, credit-bearing, faculty-led programs are offered winter break, spring break, and during the summer. If a course is not within your major, it might be used as an elective.
Shenandoah University is a member of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), a global network of 300 universities. This partnership allows students to study for a full semester or year at other member campuses abroad. By working closely with their academic advisors and the study abroad advisor, students can take classes taught in English abroad while receiving Shenandoah credit.
Shenandoah University also maintains direct partnerships with several universities around the world. These relationships allow students from SU to study abroad as exchange students and students from these universities to study at SU. All partner universities offer courses taught in English.
Fast-Track to Arts Management
Accelerated PALM Program
The Master of Science in Performing Arts Leadership and Management is designed to provide future performing arts executives and artistic leaders with the industry skills required in the 21st century. The accelerated program in Performing Arts Leadership and Management is available for current Shenandoah Conservatory undergraduates who, upon completion of their undergraduate degree, wish to obtain a Master of Science in Performing Arts Leadership and Management in just one year. Students who are accepted into the accelerated program will begin to take arts leadership and management courses during their undergraduate studies and register for internship during the summer between senior year and their final year of graduate study.