Hey! I’m a current junior looking in to tech theatre programs, especially for lighting design and stage management. I have found very little information online about interviews, and am not entirely sure what to expect. From students who have gone through tech interviews, what should be expected? To be specific, the schools I plan on applying to are Wagner, Marymount Manhattan, Pace, Fordham, Kean, Rutgers, Montclair State, SUNY Purchase, and Fairleigh Dickinson.
@Loganator - can you offer any help?
@CaMom13 - thanks – just saw this!
@samcommat - My D interviewed with Pace and Rutgers, as well as a number of other schools. She is interested in Lighting Design, specifically, so hopefully this helps you!
Many schools require an in-person interview, usually on campus, which is great, if you can do it, because the interview is often part of a full day of prospective student info sessions and a facilities/campus tour. Very few schools offer interviews for Design & Production as part of the Unified Auditions in NYC or Chicago, so don’t count on that. Some will offer Skype interviews if it is a financial challenge for applicants to come to the campus or if the applicant lives at least 500 miles from the school. **This fall may be completely different with more virtual and fewer in-person interviews, but time will tell. For the virtual ones, you will have uploaded your portfolio and resume to a portal (Acceptd or school-specific), so the interviewer(s) will be able to see your work during the interview.
For most of the in-person interviews, she spent time presenting her portfolio to a panel of 2-4 faculty members. They asked questions as she went and then asked follow-up questions at the end. The faculty members also provided specific program info and answered any questions that my D had (definitely have some ready to go!). A couple of schools conducted a more “standard” college admission interview with mostly non-theater questions, which was a little surprising – very little portfolio review happened during those.
Pace: We had visited the campus for an open house in October and were not able to return for an interview, but the Skype option was readily available. The head of the Tech Program (a lighting designer, as it happens) conducted the interview. He started with a fantastic overview of the Tech program, which we hadn’t heard at the open house, and then they went through her (online) portfolio and asked questions back and forth. It was very informative and pretty relaxed, as interviews go.
Rutgers: We had visited the campus for Mason Gross open house in October also, but we were able to schedule a return trip for the interview weekend (all tech interviews were conducted over one weekend at the end of January…again, next year may be different). The interviews were scheduled in 30 or 45-minute blocks throughout the day with current theater students available to chat and answer questions while applicants waited to be called for their scheduled time. There was also an admissions overview scheduled mid-day on both days. A couple of lighting students escorted the interviewees from the waiting area to the interview room and then gave a quick facility tour afterward. The interview was conducted by two faculty members, one of whom was in lighting design, and my D presented her portfolio and asked and answered questions.
Bottom line: Be prepared to present and discuss your portfolio for 10-20 minutes for any of your interviews and have some program-specific questions ready to ask. BAL!
By the way, you might take a look at Penn State as well – we were very impressed with their Tech/Lighting program when we visited.