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Theatre Technologies and Design

  • Bachelor of Arts Major
  • Erie, Pennsylvania

The theatre program regularly participates in the International Collegiate Theatre Festival in conjunction with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an annual gathering in Scotland of more than 20,000 performers considered the largest arts festival in the world.

  • GU Possibilities
    • The theatre program regularly participates in the International Collegiate Theatre Festival in conjunction with the Edinburgh (Scotland) Fringe Festival, an annual gathering of more than 20,000 performers and the largest arts festival in the world
    • Located in the School of Communication and the Arts, the program has access to the resources of all of the University’s communication, media and arts faculty and technology under one roof. Students benefit from the synergy this co-location provides.
    • The theatre program encourages students to experience all aspects of theater as performers, technicians and as audience, through engagement with local civic theater as well as nearby professional venues in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York City, and the American Shakespeare Center.
    • Students and faculty together engage in professional arts organizations and events, including Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival, United States Institute for Theatre Technology national convention, and the International Collegiate Theatre Festival.

    You Will Learn

    Students with an interest in behind-the-scenes work, technology and studio aspects of theater productions will excel in this technical program.  The program focuses on all elements needed for successful theater, film, television, commercial and related creative works. 

    The program emphasizes design/technical areas including costume, lighting, puppetry, scenic and sound design. Students may also create their own course combinations to satisfy their personal interests. 

    Many theatre graduates migrate to metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, which provide the best exposure to the job market, and some graduates have even explored international connections to start their careers. 

    You Will Experience

    The theatre program takes advantage of the University’s urban location to provide students with internship opportunities that are right around the corner from the campus, including:

    • Dramashop, a contemporary theater company  
    • Erie Arts and Culture/Pennsylvania Council on the Arts   
    • Erie Art Museum   
    • Erie Civic Center’s Warner Theatre   
    • Erie Philharmonic Orchestra  
    • local broadcast affiliates of national networks – ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and NPR   
    • local radio stations – including: country, contemporary hits, mainstream rock and top 40   

    You Will Achieve

    Career opportunities for theatre graduates can be found locally and abroad in a variety of media, including the stage, film, education, television, radio and online media. Theatre graduates can also be found in arts advocacy organizations, human services agencies, advertising and marketing. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • advertising communicators – public relations professionals and copywriters   
    • arts managers – promotion and management of theaters and related fine arts organizations  
    • designers – scenic, lighting, sound, digital animation, costume and puppetry  
    • educators – K-12 and university theater instructors and professors   
    • entertainment law  
    • nonprofit administration   
    • theater technicians and stage managers  
    • voiceover artists   
    • writers – for both/either stage or screen  

    You Will Earn

    Salaries in the field vary depending on the location and type of organization.

    • Starting salary: $36,200
    • Mid-career salary: $58,600
    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale (  

    You Will Study

    Example Course Descriptions

    Students in the theatre program choose from an array of subjects to fill their curriculum and participation in the Schuster Theatre. Theatre technologies and design students take various core and elective courses including: 

    ARTS 251: Principles of Design

    An exploration of the fundamental principles of design: space, time, composition, etc. Emphasis is on creative problem solving and aesthetic development.

    ARTS 252: Costume and Makeup Techniques

    This course is designed to introduce the student to the basic materials and techniques of theatrical stage makeup. Emphasis will be on basic application of two-dimensional makeup, analysis of character as it relates to physical appearance, the development of a makeup portfolio and morgue, and exposure to more advanced three-dimensional techniques. An examination of costume as part of the character mask completes the overview.

    ARTS 360: Production and Performance in Theatre 

    This laboratory course investigates the rehearsal and performance process in creating a mainstage production. Students assume various roles, both on production crew and cast, and are evaluated on the quality of their participation in the work. The course culminates in public performance and post-performance evaluation by students and directors.  

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.