Graduate Stage Automation

Graduate Stage Automation

The stage can be a complicated place, from moving scenery and backdrops to “soaring” actors. Stage Automation handles all that goes into these moving elements. Designing, constructing, installing and operating the stage equipment falls into the capable hands of students in our Stage Automation graduate program. And with numerous opportunities to hone their skills, graduates leave the University of North Carolina School of the Arts more than ready to begin their careers as a stage automation professional.

Master of Fine Arts

First Year
In your first year of the graduate Stage Automation program, you will become familiar with the school’s various performances spaces and shop facilities, including our 5,000 square-foot motion control laboratory. In addition to hands-on work for major productions, classwork will add to and enhance your skills in stage automation. You will be introduced to the systems and equipment needed for moving scenery, advanced computer techniques, technical graphics, the construction and technology behind different theatrical structures, as well as welding and metalworking.

Second Year
You will continue to work on projects for the school’s productions, with added expectations in that role. Classes during your second year will include detailed instruction on theatrical rigging, an in-depth study in design and programming for motion control, as well as a career-focused course on the role of the technical director. You will also choose a technical project or topic to be the focus of your self-directed study.

Third Year
Your thesis becomes the primary focus of your third year, which will be a research project of your choosing. Your practical-production expectations will continue, so will classroom instruction, which will emphasize the equipment, software and procedures for motion control, and the fabrication techniques and equipment for theatrical machinery.


Nearly all of UNCSA alumni start careers in their chosen field. Those with stage automation professional skills can be found from regional theaters to major productions like Cirque de Soleil all across the nation.

Stage Automation Faculty
Dedicated to creating artists, entrepreneurs and leaders.