Costume Design, part of the Live Design program at The University of Texas at Austin, utilizes the psychological, emotional and sociological theories of dress and identity to visually motivate narrative. While costume has always been a privileged element of performance, the innovations of the last two decades have created a vast array of new challenges and opportunities for visual storytellers. The Costume Design program covers areas as diverse as opera, multimedia performance, interactive dance, immersive installations and live theatrical narrative.
Our design students are the storytellers and performance makers of the next generation, who use their time in graduate school to declare themselves as artists changing history.
We consider costume design an area of work and study that is in conversation with all other disciplines. The M.F.A. in Theatre with a specialization in live design is a three-year, 60 hour course of study consisting of four components: the design studio, skill-building, realized productions and critical thinking/writing, culminating in a unique thesis of the student's own invention. Two candidates per discipline are admitted each year to a program of 30 students - a small group within the large department.
In addition to the The University of Texas at Austin's Graduate School requirements, we require that students submit a portfolio of work online or by mail for review. Review the requirements and begin you application today.
Students must own a laptop computer with a required suite of software and a removable USB drive of at least 100GB.
Students typically assist a graduate student in their first semester and are then assigned production designs in the spring. Assignments generally include one major production design per year with other, smaller opportunities surrounding the central project as available. Designers should emerge with a full portfolio of realized work across a variety of genres.
Conference and Internship Opportunities
The program is primarily completed on campus, although we do encourage travel and participation for professional and cultural education. The Prague Quadrennial, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), design assistance opportunities and study abroad have often been part of the student experience during graduate school at the university. Many students have participated in internship programs at major theaters, professional New York costume shops, major opera companies, design studios and television studios. In some cases, partial financial support is available from the university for these opportunities.
The University of Texas at Austin's Costume Design graduates may participate in The National Design Portfolio Review in New York and/or Design Showcase West in Los Angeles.