Theatre Engineering

Theatre engineering is the application of engineering principles and functional systems in the design and development of safe, creative, and functional sets, apparatus, and entertainment production devices.  It combines disciplines of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, and spans the boundary between the humanities (art), computer science and the field of entertainment arts.

Engineers from this concentration may work in industries such as: performing arts, theatre, film/video production, and amusement parks.

Their work may include: developing artistic and innovative set designs or devices for live entertainment, to building the next generation amusement park ride environment. Film set creation and animation is also a familiar pathway for these creative engineers looking to network their way toward a career that combines their passion for creating entertainment experiences and engineering problem solving.

Theatre Concentration Frequently Asked Questions

  • Students interested in the Theatre concentration must follow the Transition to Major (T2M) process to enter the Multidisciplinary Engineering (MDE) program.  Consult with your First-Year Engineering (FYE) advisor to learn more about this process and its timing.
  • The Theatre Engineering concentration acceptance is based on a competitive portfolio review process conducted by the Theatre Department. Acceptance into MDE does not guarantee a student will be accepted into the Theatre Engineering concentration.
  • The portfolio review process occurs each spring term in late April.  Inform your FYE advisor in STAR, or early in the fall semester, to obtain all details associated with portfolio review preparation/content/delivery.
  • FYE students interested in the Theatre Engineering concentration must also schedule an appointment during the fall semester with the MDE advisor, to learn more about concentration guidelines, options, and the need to meet with representatives from the Theatre Department.
  • The maximum capacity of the Theatre Engineering concentration is determined by the ability to provide a live production “capstone” equivalent experience for students in their senior year, in collaboration with the Theatre Department.  At this time, capacity is capped at 4 students per T2M spring cycle.
  • Should a student not pass the competitive portfolio review for Theatre Engineering, they must select another MDE concentration (i.e. General Engineering), or are eligible to CODO out of MDE into another engineering or non-engineering program.
  • Students may CODO into MDE, however the Theatre Engineering concentration is not open to CODO or transfer students.

Plans of Study

Theatre Engineering: Structural Scenery

Theatre Engineering: Mechanical/Electrical Scenery

In the News

Purdue fuses students’ passion for engineering and entertainment careers with new center | November 9, 2020

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Last Updated: February 2, 2021