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Our Approach

Italy is the ideal place to study theatrical design. Not only is the Italian peninsula, along with Greece, the historic birthplace of Western theater, it is home to significant artistic and scenographic developments in theatrical history. Within this concentrated geographic area—smaller than the state of California—we find examples of theatrical sites and spaces spanning millennia and ranging in type from amphitheatres, stadiums, churches, squares, pavilions to opera houses. 

In addition to exposing students to this rich tradition, the Design & Scenography semester at Accademia dell’Arte teaches students an approach to theatrical design that embraces a total awareness of theatrical artistry rooted in contemporary European working methods. Students learn to articulate theatrical space with a deep understanding of atmosphere, materials, and narrative while practicing the skills and techniques of their craft. Courses will incorporate traditional training methods and new technologies, and encourage individual artistic expression. Students are encouraged to think beyond traditional scenery to any performance space (from stages to courtyards, even cities or natural settings) and to any kind of performance (from plays to concerts to personal interactions). These ideas, fundamental to every aspect of this program, empower students to conceive of theatrical space in creative and original ways.

The Design & Scenography program blends academic study, artistic development, and social interaction into one all-encompassing experience. Students live and eat meals at the historic Villa Godiola alongside students in the Physical Theater and Dance programs. They will take classes in design studio, drawing, architectural history, mask-making, liberal arts, and Italian language. Field trips to historic sites and theaters are organized on Fridays and the weekends. Three times a semester, students are invited to present fully realized collaborative performance pieces for the Accademia community in the school cabaret.

This program is designed for:

  • BA students with a strong interest in art and theater who would like to learn about theatrical design within a structured program in Italy. Students who are already studying architecture, studio art, graphic arts, theater, or product design are especially encouraged to apply.
  • BFA students who are committed to studying art, design or theater and would like to develop their artistry and technical skills further within a structured program in Italy.


Please note: We are currently unable to accept applications for this program.
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