The Integrated Media for Live Performance (IM) program at The University of Texas at Austin utilizes the technologies, tools and techniques that have fundamentally changed live entertainment over the last 20 years. While projections and imagery have been part of the theatrical language since the beginning of the 20th century, the technological innovations of the last two decades have created a vast array of new challenges and opportunities for visual storytellers. Integrated Media covers areas as diverse as scenic projection, multimedia performance, interactive dance, immersive installations and architectural three-dimensional mapping.
Students that acquire the skills to harness what these technologies offer are able to apply their knowledge to a variety of creative endeavors outside of traditional theatre, including sporting events, theme parks, retail spaces and immersive environments. Integrated Media provides the skills, tools and inspiration for tomorrow’s storytellers as artists, directors and designers.
We consider Integrated Media 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. The Integrated Media studio classes are dedicated to in-depth exploration of current and future techniques and technologies in the field of media-based storytelling and audience engagement. 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 University of Texas at Austin's Graduate School requirements, we require that students complete a course in the fundamentals of Vectorworks before the second semester begins. This requirement may be satisfied on-campus if the student is not fluent in Vectorworks before arriving.
Students must own a laptop computer capable of running Adobe Creative Cloud and a removable USB drive (minimum 64 GB).
Equipment, software and hardware are ever-evolving in this field of work and as such, suitable skill-training remains flexible and caters towards the student’s area of interest. However, each student is currently introduced to Qlab, Watchout, disguise, Adobe Creative Suite and TouchDesigner. Other software may include Cinema 4D, Maya, Blender, Processing, Unreal Engine, Unity and Notch.
Students typically assist a graduate student during their first year and are assigned production designs in the spring for their second year of study. Assignments generally include one major produced design per year with other, smaller opportunities surrounding the central project as available. Design opportunities can include non-theatre related public events. Integrated Media Design graduates 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, LDInstitute (LDI), The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), design assistance 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, 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 Integrated Media Design graduates may participate in The National Design Portfolio Review in New York and/or Design Showcase West in Los Angeles.