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Department of Theatre and Dance

MFA in Lighting Design

Letter to Prospective Students

When we have succeeded…audiences will say to themselves, not, This is beautiful, This is charming, This is splendid, but -- This is true."

Robert Edmond Jones
The Dramatic Imagination


Good storytelling.   The ability to reach audiences in a meaningful way, grasp their imaginations and hold their attention over the course of the evening.  To have them leave the theatre feeling that this experience was time well spent.    This is our profession.  This is how we are judged. 

Training stage lighting designers for the twenty-first century must include a commitment to artistic discovery, innovation, mastery of both traditional craft and evolving technologies, practical commercial application of creativity, and an emphasis on the relationship between art and society. Formal study must encourage and give shape to creative expression combined with critical thinking, rigorous investigation, and historical perspective as common threads. It has been my experience that skilled craft alone rings hollow without perspective, investment, and inspiration.

Clearly, modern technology has released an explosion of creative innovation and is continually revolutionizing the art of stage lighting design.  We endeavor to provide our students with the competencies to navigate their careers over the next decades.  Yet, even as technology becomes more central to theatrical design, the human imagination remains at the heart of artistic achievement.

For, after all, art is not a superior kind of chemistry, amenable to the rules of scientific induction.

Its component parts cannot be classified and tested, and there is a spark within it which defies foreknowledge.

Lytton Strachey - Books and Characters, 1922

I believe that quality in the arts is the result of real intellectual rigor, expert craft, and impassioned imagination. Preparing for a life in the arts demands much of student and teacher. Each on this journey must be committed to not only their own individual growth but to the advancement of colleagues and the greater community. We should expect from each member the highest level of professionalism, dedication, responsibility, collaboration, and alacrity.

Jim Hunter
Professor of Design
United Scenic Artists, Local 829.  Scene and Lighting Design.

Explore Jim's career at:

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.