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Indiana University Bloomington
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MFA Costume Design Courses

Stage Costuming II
Focusing primarily in craft design and construction, this studio course provides four to five projects that allow students to construct major craft items based on their own design and research. Previous projects have included dye, paint and fabric modification exercises, millinery design and construction, leather armor and headwear, corset design and construction and the reconstruction of existing pieces to create a new design. Objectives of the course are advancement of construction and patterning skills, problem solving fitting challenges and developing clarity in the design, communication and research of craft and accessory items.

Costume Design I
The objective of this course is to provide an in-depth introduction to the theory & practice of costume design. Students develop an understanding of character and script analysis, theatrical composition, collaboration with directors, designers and actors and continue mastering their rendering skills. The primary media studied in this course is watercolor, although there will be opportunities for students to explore other media.

Historic Costume for the Stage
A survey of Western costume from Mesopotamian and Sumerian times into the twentieth century this course focuses on historical costume as it relates to the society and period in which it lived. Naturally, the successful student will understand the implications of a period or period inspired costume design on the overall visual and conceptual dynamic of a theatrical event. It is also the intent of this course to inspire students to discover and engage costume research resources that will be of benefit as they continue to pursue the discipline of costume design for the performing arts.

Costume and Character in London Theatre
A one month study abroad course taught in London. This course provides students an intensive on-site experience into the development of dramatic character and concept through costume design with emphasis on that literature and performance type prevalent in contemporary London and the history of British Theatre especially that of the 18 th and 19 th centuries. With a course location in the thriving city of London, students will have on-hands opportunities in learning, exploring, touring and viewing art, collections, lectures, performances, studios and many other experiences to study the aesthetic and psychological value of costumes in society and in the performing arts, particularly that of dramatic performance. Course assessment is based on interactive projects assigned specifically to each student’s level of study (i.e. graduate or undergraduate). Methods will include presentation of projects and exercises.

Advanced Costume Design Aesthetics
This studio course is an advanced level study of designing various costume styles and genres. Students will design several major works in musical theatre, opera and ballet. Each project will require a fully developed production process outline, research evidence and finalized portfolio quality renderings with swatches. Students sometimes work in exercises together but develop projects independently. With a heavy focus on rendering this studio course provides an understanding of how to make strong aesthetic and stylistic choices in costumes as they directly relate to character, the theatrical event, genre and of course concept and period. Collaborative conceptual work includes invited professional directors, choreographers and opera directors.

Studies in Stage Costuming
Studies in Stage Costuming are repeated up to 9 credits (three times) during a graduate student’s course of study. Each time the course is taught it has a different focus of specialization for the theatrical designer. Recent course topics have included advanced figure drawing and costume rendering, 16 th and 17 th century mask design and construction, advanced millinery, twentieth-century costume designers, historic fashion, costume materials and applications. Topics are selected according to specialty of instructor and needs of the current class of graduate design students.

Research and Collaboration for the Theatre
(Taught by Design and Technology Faculty)
This studio course builds and strengthen research, collaboration, communication and artistic/presentation skills. Student teams research, investigate, design and present innovative approaches to major projects, devised to challenge their individual and collective growth as collaborative artists and technologists.

Third Year Portfolio Preparation
Each MFA costume design graduate will have an independent study with the head of the costume area their fall semester. This independent study will include preparing and polishing a full portfolio, sample portfolios and digital portfolios geared toward various types of employment in costuming according to the student’s goals. Students will develop professional resumes, curriculum vitas, cover letters and explore through research and discussion an understanding of the realities of contracts, job searches, United Scenic Artists membership and interviewing/portfolio presentation techniques.

Other Independant Studies for the Graduate Student
If a student’s schedule allows there may be opportunities throughout their course of study to have independent studies with the head of the costume area. These independent studies may include specialization in a particular area of costuming, historical research or research methods, an unusual topic related to the field of costuming or further portfolio development, especially for students wishing to branch into multiple areas of the costuming field (i.e. design and crafts, or design and wigs etc.). The amount of course credit is determined on a case-by-case basis according to scope of study, depth and breath of projects and possibly other criteria.

See thesis requirements.

Stage Make-up
(not for graduate credit)
This course is a skills studio in the design and professional application techniques of stage make-up. This course will cover techniques in corrective (including feature modification), old age, period (including a historical overview of the period make-up styles and uses), fantasy, facial hair, 2-D and basic 3-D prosthetic techniques commonly used on stage. Students will also learn techniques in creating effective make-up renderings and charts.

Stage Costuming I
(not for graduate credit)
The intent of this course is to introduce students to the entire process of theatrical costume design and production. Through practical assignments in design, analysis, research, construction and production work, the successful student will develop an understanding and appreciation of the art, craft and discipline of stage costuming. This course will also encourage students to engage and learn to understand the theatre production process.

Independent Study Opportunities
(for Undergraduates)
Assistant Costume Designers were established in the IU Costume Design Program to offer undergraduates interested in costume design an opportunity to shadow and assist an advanced designer on the mainstage season. It is also excellent training for the production designers to learn to appropriately utilize the abilities and talents of an assistant designer. The role of the Assistant Costume Designer can take on many forms depending on the production, the Costume Designer and the part of the season in which the production falls. They may serve as research assistants, design assistants, shoppers or perhaps a combination of all of these areas. Independent study credit is offered and the amount of credit earned is dependent upon the size of the production and depth of experience provided to the student.

Lighting Design and Related Courses:

  • Stage Lighting (not for graduate credit)
  • Lighting Design
  • Lighting Design Aesthetics
  • Dramatic Lighting for Environments (taught in tandem with Consulting)
  • Lighting Consulting for Theatre Spaces (taught in tandem with Lighting for the Environments)
  • Rendering Light
  • Advanced Lighting Design
  • Lighting Design Workshop (proposed course)
  • Independent Study

Scenic Design and Related Courses:

  • Scene Design I (Not for graduate credit)
  • Scene Design II
  • Advanced Scene Design
  • Studies in Scenic Design
  • Rendering
  • History of Decor
  • Scene Painting I
  • Scene Painting II
  • Production Design for Television and Film
  • Independent Studies Research work.

Theatre Technology and Related Courses:

  • Stagecraft I (not for graduate credit)
  • Technical Drawing
  • Electronics for Theatre Technologists
  • TD I (Shop Management, Materials, and Equipment)
  • TD III (Mechanized Scenery)
  • Structural Mechanics
  • Rigging I
  • Rigging II
  • CADD for Theatre
  • Sound Design
  • Independent Studies

Many Additional Courses Available to Graduate Students Through the School of Fine Arts:

  • Textiles
  • Textile digital printing
  • Weaving
  • Anatomy for the Artist
  • Painting (variety of courses in all mediums)
  • Jewelry design and construction
  • Sculpture
  • History courses and surveys also available