Curriculum - Production Design & Technical Arts

Hands-On Training Under the Guidance of Seasoned Professionals

NTS offers highly individualized training. As such, the curriculum is subject to change, following the latest development in technology, new artistic practices, and the needs of the specific group of artists making up each class.

Our training is always practical, underpinned by the 20 student shows created each year.

1st Year Production Curriculum

Bootcamp

This course aims to familiarize students with the basic methods, techniques, spaces and equipment used in the production of theatrical events on the stages of the Monument National. They will develop and practice skills fundamental to the Theatre Technician and build an understanding of a safe and healthy working environment.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Foundation Project

This first-year project will allow some time for the students to explore and discover their creative side. While working on short scenes for the same play, the students will take the first steps towards realizing their ideas onstage. Shared outcomes include:

  • To start to understand how to express themselves, make choices and defend their own ideas;
  • To begin to build a working relationship within the group that is interdependent and respectful;
  • To begin to build their collaborative and cooperative skills;
  • For them to experience more of the rigour and diligence that this work requires;
  • To continue to develop their sense of empathy and diligence within their practice.
Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Introduction to AutoCAD

An introductory course in the use of AutoCAD. Students will begin with learning how to setup their drawing space and end with an exploration of 3D drafting techniques.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Costumes 1

This class provides a comprehensive overview of Costumes and Costume Design and how production and costumes intersect.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Introduction of Softgoods

Students learn the basics of sewing in order to apply that knowledge to projects at the school and further develop overall knowledge of Costume Design and Wardrobe. In addition, working with soft goods for Scenic Design is explored.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Set Design and Maquettes

Course gives the students a working knowledge of manual technical drawing for the theatre. To enable the students to understand, execute, read and work from technical drawings and give the student the skills with which they can fabricate scaled scenic maquettes. The class will also introduce the student to the set design process and instill a confidence that enables them to analyze the scenographic components of a text and develop design concepts using plans, perspectives, sketches and maquettes.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Health and Safety - Safe Workplaces

This class covers occupational health and safety, involving theatre workers and workplaces. It is increasingly important for arts professionals to be able to research health and safety issues, apply legislative requirements and implement best practices in an arts setting.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Lighting Design and Technology

Students explore the role of the Lighting Designer and begin to bridge the gap between pure technology and the artistic process. An exploration of the tools of the Lighting Designer and the methods of designing are discussed.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Stage Management

What is a Stage Manager? What does the Stage Manager do? How does the Stage Manager play a role in the “creative process”? What is an Assistant Stage Manager? How does the ASM relate to everyone on the production? The focus of this course is to explore the technical and organizational aspects of the stage management team as well as study basic communication skills and conflict resolution. It will examine the stage manager's process, from the preparation week until the closing performance and give an overview of general responsibilities.

The course will focus on three Central Themes related to the creative process and how the role of the stage manager is defined in this process:

  • COMMUNICATION: How relationships in the creative process are developed and
  • COLLABORATION: Effective participation in the process and the understanding of the nature of supporting
  • MANAGEMENT: Exploring the elements of how to properly manage a creative
Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Production Management

This course provides an introduction to the role of the Production Manager focusing on people and organizations. An overview of the specific job as well as detail regarding the scheduling and budgeting aspects are covered.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Carpentry and Construction Techniques

This class provides the students with learning opportunities in the Carpentry and Welding shops at the Monument National. The students will learn basic carpentry skills, the types of materials used and will be given tutorials on the safe use of tools. They will gain specific knowledge about the safe and effective use of the shop as well as gain practical experience in building projects out of wood and metal.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Welding

The course provides the students with learning opportunities in the Carpentry and Welding shops at the Monument National. The students will learn basic carpentry skills, the types of materials used and will be given tutorials on the safe use of tools. They will gain specific knowledge about the safe and effective use of the shop as well as gain practical experience in building projects out of wood and metal.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Sound – Introduction to Design and Technology

This course will primarily provide a practical understanding of sound systems, their elements, standard practices, signal flow, and creative techniques. Focus will be placed on hands-on practice with assembling and routing audio signals, and troubleshooting. Beginning with analog equipment we will progress through various digital methods of patching and processing. Upon completion, participants will be able to approach any sound system with confidence, route a signal from input to output and apply necessary (desired) processing. They will be able to:

  • Compile a list of equipment (rider) for their production,
  • Understand the specs in a manual or on a theatre’s equipment list
  • Prepare the necessary sound and music files for presentation
  • Install, adjust, and strike audio
  • Adapt and adjust to changing requirements and
  • The evolution of theatre, keeping up with the times technically and Discussions relating to sensitivity and adaptability in resources and methods.

Secondly, the course will introduce methods of creating soundscapes, effects, and music production, selection, editing, and processing. Sound creation and editing platforms (DAWs: QLab, Logic, Audacity, Pro-Tools) will be used as well as live scenarios and work with live musicians, sound generators, and recording methods.

There will be a class project involving group work on a short presentation: a monologue or montage.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Rigging

This course is intended to teach students the practical basics principles of stage rigging and tying knots.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Technical Direction

This course continues the training of the Bootcamp from the first two weeks of school and introduce the students to the three venues we use at the St. Denis campus. In learning how to work in each venue the students are also working together on their team building skills.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Text Analysis

Text Analysis prepares the student for discussions with directors, designers and other collaborators. The course offers practical instruction on how to read a play; to grasp dramatic structure, to understand action, to examine the weave of plot, character, theme and context (social / political / historical).

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Video – Introduction to Design and Technology

This class will examine the theory and practical possibilities of using video in a theatrical context, and provide the knowledge of basic tools and workflow in a video design configuration for rehearsal and production.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

2nd Year Production Curriculum

Second Year Productions – Pagé and McGibbon Projects

Working in collaboration with students from the Sceno, Acting and Directing programs, and under the guidance of a professional director, coaches and mentors, students experience the arc of a professional theatre process, exploring a play in the rehearsal hall, and moving into the theatre, integrating production elements including the arc of technical and dress rehearsals, ultimately presenting the production to the public for a three day run. They will have an opportunity to integrate design elements and the challenge of carrying artistic discoveries made in the rehearsal hall into the theatre and ultimately, into performance. In this project students will also be exposed to proscenium techniques. The text will be a contemporary script and will be selected by the director in collaboration with the Acting Team and PDTA, Sceno and Directing Programs.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Central Project

The Central Project is one of the most important projects the students undertake in their three years. Over the course of 4 months the students prepare to move their production into the theatre, bringing all the elements of a full production together to realize their designs and plans. Every student has to take initiative in order for the group to succeed and they must learn to collaborate while continuing to build their individual skills. Outcomes include:

  • understanding the implementation of process and application of knowledge in a real exercise;
  • embracing and exploring the similarities and differences between theory and the reality of applying theory to the stage;
  • developing a professional practice and approach to working with other professionals;
  • developing an understanding of how to work in teams, and how to delegate and lead teams;
  • strengthening their understanding of seeing the big picture overview of the work;
  • developing a pro-active approach to practical work.
Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Central Project: Lighting Design

The main objective of this class is to mentor the students through the Lighting Design Process. By the end of the class they will have produced a working repertory lighting design and all paperwork required to Hang, Focus and cue lighting for the Central Project.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Central Project: Set Design

The objective of this course is to help the student to understand the role of the designer- be empathetic and sympathetic as well as to learn to collaborate and respect each other for our strengths and weaknesses. Students will learn to communicate and to appreciate the importance of the visual world – both in its scope and in the details. They will develop the ability to make strong choices, work together and finally achieve to have a final design for the production; that reflects each one of them.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
AutoCAD II

This class further explores the use of AutoCAD to produce CAD drawings. The students will develop their 2D and 3D drafting skills and become more familiar with this essential drawing tool.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Vectorworks I

This class serves as an introduction to Vectorworks Fundamentals. The course aims to build students confidence and expertise while drawing in Vectorworks. Students will hone their 2D drawing skills in order to visually represent all areas of technical theatre and design.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Livestreaming

To introduce students to live streaming and how to utilize web-based performance to effectively reach audiences beyond the theatre. Students will learn about video production on stage, video switching, encoding, and broadcasting. They will develop an overall understanding of the flow of a live streamed production and how to creatively work within the framework of live events.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Control Protocols Workshop

To explore the range of control protocols, with emphasis on how we manipulate DMX for our current control needs. Networking, alternative/complementary control protocols and new distribution technology are also discussed.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Electricity Workshop

To teach basic electrical theory and methods of working with electricity. The students will develop safe and effective working practices in regards to dimmers, circuits and equipment.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Lighting Design Intensive

To introduce 2nd-year students to the lighting design process. Students will explore the life of a lighting designer and work on the tools and skills required to become a lighting designer. Exercises are organized to move the student from a purely technical vocabulary to a design vocabulary and sensibility. A final presentation will allow the students to realize their ideas in order to understand their execution.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Lighting Standards

This class aims to teach students proper lighting plot and section drafting procedures, fundamental data organization and paperwork distribution.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Photometrics

This classes gives students the knowledge and confidence to choose and plot lighting fixtures to realize and execute a theatrical lighting design.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Moving Lights Workshop

To teach basic moving light technology and introduce more advanced techniques for controlling LED and moving fixtures on the ETC Eos line of consoles. Equipment may be brought in to the school to explore new technology.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Production Management II

To familiarize students with the concerns, processes and methodologies involved in managing a production department with a specific focus on the importance of developing sound leadership styles, positive managerial competencies and practices, and the importance of Human Resource management and good policy. Furthermore, how policy, workflow, budgets and schedules can affect tone and define the culture of the work place.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Technical Direction I

By the end of this course, students will have a firm understanding of what is expected of a T.D., their function, and their tasks within a company environment – Large or Small. They will learn how and what to communicate to whom and when – and how to do it effectively. They will develop and gain the tools & skills to dissect all technical aspects of a show or production and understand the function of a technical director in the various facets of the entertainment industry. They will further their learning by taking the next step from theatre practice courses to technical leadership.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Stage Management II

To further develop the roles and responsibilities of the Stage Manager. The course will prepare the students to stage manage for their Central Project as well as deepen their understanding of the context in which Stage Managers work. Students will develop their prompt book (production binder) for Central, gain a better understanding of how to call a show and run the rehearsal.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Production Management: Excel

To familiarize students with Excel and Numbers in order to prepare for budgetary management and continued use of these programs to develop and track data management systems, and to build on a basic knowledge of scheduling to further understand methodology behind sound scheduling approaches. Additionally to understand how labour law and collective agreements impact schedule building.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Sound Design Intensive

To work through the process of designing sound as for a theatre production, in the context of collaboration amongst directors, designers, and other production team members, using a short story as the source of inspiration over the course of 1 week.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Video Design Intensive

This course will build off of the first-year video introduction and develop the students’ knowledge of more complex video systems setup. The students will be introduced to new equipment for editing and setup and be better equipped to analyze and evaluate projection systems. The students will develop a working know of the editing suites and content software at the school. They will develop a deeper understanding of the work of the video designer and be better equipped to assemble complex video systems and assist in content creation.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

3rd Year Production Curriculum

Third Year Productions – Hydro-Québec Studio and Ludger-Duvernay Theatre

The production in the Ludger-Duvernay Theatre in the Monument National provides students with the exceptional opportunity to work on a large proscenium stage, allowing them a chance to synthesize skills developed during the three years of their training. This project is an opportunity for the students to work independently with a professional director, applying their own artistic process to a professional level rehearsal process and translating their process to build a communication with a guest director. Students gain experience identifying what they need to progress in their process and have the opportunity to explore coaching specific to their assignments.

The time the students work on third year productions is essential to the overall pedagogy of the program. Practical experience putting training into practice is an important component of production work and ensures that the hands-on approach retains value within the full curriculum arc. Shared outcomes include:

  • understanding the implementation of process and application of knowledge in a real exercise;
  • embracing and exploring the similarities and differences between theory and the reality of applying theory to the stage;
  • developing a professional practice and approach to working with other professionals;
  • developing an understanding of how to work in teams, and how to delegate and lead teams;
  • strengthening their understanding of seeing the big picture overview of the work;
  • developing a pro-active approach to practical work.
Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Theatre Maker Intensive

This workshop intensive is designed to create a space for students to reflect upon and articulate the kind of theatre maker that they want to be / how and what kind of theatre they want to make. They will reflect on themselves as future artists and place themselves in the real world where they will have to land in a few months. Students explore their values and the kind of themes that are emerging in their theatre practices (i.e. interest in making theatre for young audiences, socially-engaged theatre, community, new work etc.), and the kind of theatre (companies, artists, genres of theatre/ performance i.e. dance, touring, opera, repertoire) they want to engage with and make.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Vectorworks II

This class continues to build students confidence and expertise in Vectorworks Fundamentals. Students will hone their 2D and 3D drawing skills in order to visually represent all areas of technical theatre and design.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Lighting Design Workshop

This class will focus on lighting design, but more than that it will explore the very important concept of communicating ideas visually. Lighting design is a field in which you take a story that already exists and help bring it to life. The students will start looking at the world in terms of shadow and light, intensity and darkness, the objects that cast shadows and what that teaches us about the spaces we are in. They will start to see the poetic in light, how a shadow across a face makes you feel, is the brightness comforting or oppressive, is the shadow cooling or frightening? A lighting designer must really learn communication skills so that they can achieve what they are describing and understand what a director is describing. Words are sometimes an ineffective way of describing lighting, but it is often the basis on which we communicate.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Career Development

The objective of this class is to help the students in their transformation from student to professional. We will discuss methods of networking and applying for jobs, ethics, job hunting skills, interview skills and career choices. The goal is to guide individual styles and career interests towards a successful launch into the world outside the school.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Career Launch

What to expect ‘out there’ or Launching Your Career. The class will explore potential paths to follow in order to achieve your desired position. Discussion revolve around opportunities, networking, leadership and setting goals, objectives and Strategies. In addition, the class will look at policies and procedures surrounding Workplace Harassment.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Fringe Festivals

The class will explore the Fringe festival circuit and give context to the place that Fringe holds in the Performing Arts Community in North America.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
General Management

The students will gain an appreciation for the multi-faceted skillset required to fulfill the role of the General Manager within an arts organization.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Performing Arts in Canada

This class provides an overview of the history of the Canadian Performing arts community and gives context to where we are today. It discusses the impact of the Performing Arts in Canada on an economic scale. The case study of a company will develop the students’ understanding of company structures, as well as discussions of stakeholders, required management skill sets and options for company development. Public funding models will be explored to further understand the trends and considerations, with a practical hands on granting jury decision-making exercise. The objective is for the students to better understand what it means to manage a theatre or performing arts company in Canada today.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Practical Production Management

This is an advanced class in Production Management which uses detail from the 3rd year productions to guide and help the students organize their work for the process as a whole. We examine all parameters of each production and discuss impact points as they relate to schedule, design detail, budgets and general production outcomes. In addition, we explored the job of the production manager within arts organizations across the country.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
National and International Touring

Course objective is to explore the exhilaration and adventure of touring theatre throughout Canada and into the international marketplace. Budgets, schedules, permits, CARNET’s, transport - this course will focus on the practical logistics of touring theatre beyond point of origin while exploring an appreciation of theatre as an innovative form of communication that reflects our cultural voice in the global dynamic.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Sound Design Workshop

This class will focus on a practical approach to sound design, particularly on content creation, programming, and the creative process of devising a design from conception through to execution. It provides an opportunity for students to apply the technical skills they have learned to the practice of conceiving, developing and presenting a small-scale but complete sound design. It also allows students with musical ability to compose elements of original score, and to record and mix their compositions as thematic elements in their design assignment, if they wish.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Rigging III

This course is intended to teach students advanced principles of stage rigging, knot tying and to explore mathematical principles of rigging system. Course will consist of lectures, demonstrations and hands on sessions. Students are expected to arrive at work sessions dressed appropriately and prepared to work.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Technical Direction II

The objective of this course is for the student to develop and gain the tools ans skilld to dissect all technical aspects of a show or production with a concentration on the costing of a show design. The student will understand the function of a technical director in the various facets of the entertainment industry on an advances level.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Advanced Text Analysis

Advanced Text Analysis furthers the student’s exploration of theatrical texts in their many forms. The course reinforces and/or clarifies previously learned techniques and methods of analysis (of plot, structure, character, action, etc) while leaving room for the discovery and application of fresh analytical approaches.

Discussion will often, but not exclusively, focus on school projects on which the students are working (as designers, stage managers, production managers etc). These discussions might identify and attempt to solve practical or aesthetic challenges being encountered in the production. Discussion could take on more theoretical, even philosophical dimensions based on the needs of the moment: whatever best equips the students for ongoing and future collaborations.


This course will also provide the student with an opportunity to examine facets of the theatre in general, about which they are curious and would like to learn while still at NTS. This could include focuses on certain theatre-creators, certain artistic movements, obscure histories, non-western traditions, or debates and controversies not yet covered – or lightly covered – in their previous studies. It could also, as hinted above, include the study of alternative models of theatrical storytelling that defy conventional analytical approaches.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.
Video Design Workshop

This advanced video course will further develop the knowledge learned in 2nd year and on productions. Video mapping, content creation and the use of cameras will be explored in order to develop strong technical knowledge for Projections Design.

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

Hands-on training - under the guidance of seasoned professionals

1st Year

Production Management

Assistant Stage Management

Fall Protection Certification

Text Analysis

Lighting Design

Projections Technology and Systems

Set Design and Maquettes

Carpentry and Construction Techniques

Rigging

Production Intensive work - Foundation Project

Stage Management

Health and Safety

Canadian Theatre History

Costume Design Introduction

Lighting Technology and Systems

Sound Technology and Systems

Technical Drafting

AutoCAD

Welding

Staging Fundamentals – Scenic Elements and Venue Logistics

Production Intensive work – on 2nd and 3rd year productions

Canadian Theatre Studies

Technical Direction

Introduction to Moving Lights

Music Appreciation

Combat Appreciation

Eco Responsibility

2nd Year

Production Management

Stage Management

Directing

Lighting Design Intensives

Control Protocols

Advanced Moving Lights

Sound Technology and Systems

Projections Technology and Systems

AutoCAD

Carpentry and Construction Techniques

Production Intensive work - Central Project

Technical Direction

Text Analysis

Lighting Technology and Systems

Electricity

Sound Design Intensives

Projections Design Intensives and Content Creation

Scenic Design

Vectorworks

Rigging

Sound Design, Live Mix and Digital Technology

Music in Theatre

Combat in Theatre

Production Intensive work - on 2nd and 3rd year productions

Budgeting in Excel

3rd Year

Arts Administration and Planning

Technical Direction

Stage Management

Theatre Maker Intensive

Career Development

Lighting Design

Sound Design

Projections Design and Content Creation

Vectorworks

Professional Internships

Production Management

National and International Touring

Text Analysis

Lighting Technology and Systems

Sound Technology and Systems

Projections Technology and Systems

Rigging

Career Launch

Music Prep

Combat Prep

Fringe Festivals exploration

Production Intensive work - on 3rd year productions

Human Resources

Excel and advanced budgeting

Note: Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.

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