BFA: Arts & Entertainment Technology

Arts and Entertainment Technology (AET) is a BFA concentration within the Level 21 Area (design, technology, + management) of Illinois Theatre intended to prepare undergraduate students to be leaders in technical areas within the entertainment industry at large.

What to expect-

AET is a potentially lucrative, financially stable, and intellectually challenging emerging technical field within live performance that encompasses new technology application alongside traditional theatre practice.


Is Arts and Entertainment Technology right for you?

Ever wonder what makes the floor rotate in Hamilton or how all the moving staircases work? Who built The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios? What about the Super Bowl Half-Time Show?

Want to make someone fly? Storm inside with real rain? Where does all that Entertainment magic come from?

If you’ve ever wondered about these things, Arts and Entertainment Technology at Illinois Theatre is for you!

AET seeks students who possess a desire to work in entertainment, demonstrate engineering and technology-driven problem-solving skills, and are passionate about the production side of entertainment.


Emphasis on Hands-On, Practical Applications

AET curriculum focuses on craft, technique, and problem-solving skills toward a technical end goal. This program is supported through both classroom and practical experiences and progressions. All classroom education will be reinforced through the practical application of skills gained while working on our various productions.

The performance spaces at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts serve as labs for all theatre students. The expansive facilities of Krannert Center offer a unique partnership between Illinois Theatre, Dance at Illinois, and the School of Music Opera and Lyric Theatre Programs. Students will gain experience working on theatre, musical theatre, opera, dance productions, and more. Our students have the advantage of working side-by-side with professional faculty and staff in an environment that fosters creativity, individuality, and excellence.


Choose Your Own Adventure

AET students will begin by getting a deep understanding of the theatre fundamentals while also exploring the University of Illinois through general education courses.  Students will follow a logical and sequential progression of courses; further developing and honing their more advanced skills along the way. With the help of their academic advisor, students will have an opportunity to choose advanced classes tailored to each student’s career goals.

Students will have the option to select from a wide variety of entertainment technology-related courses provided by the theatre department as well as courses offered in other disciplines and colleges across campus. Campus partnerships can be found within engineering, computer science, all areas within fine and applied arts, and beyond. These partnerships are essential to providing a technically oriented degree that includes computer networking, app development, program design and development, advanced engineering curriculum and other areas outside of the expertise of the traditional theatre designer or technician. Within the theatre department, students can explore areas within lighting, sound, media, rigging, automation, welding, CAD, and much much more.

Students in their final year will also have the opportunity to complete a Capstone Project. Students will implement the knowledge gained in courses taken and production to prove their understanding and skills in a culminating project. This project is another opportunity to advance one’s marketable job skills by using focused time for advanced skill-building and development.


Your Career Starts Here

In addition to campus resources, AET builds strong ties and partnerships within the industry as well as direct connections to credentialing and certification granting organizations. These connections and collaborations enhance our classroom experiences, provide networking opportunities, and the necessary credentials to be successful a professional in such highly specialized fields.

One of the many ways we do this is through the Professional Exploration course. It requires students to attend a conference like USITT or LDI, a master class, a certification course like CM hoist and Crosby Training, or a collection of workshops in their field. This course is intended to provide an opportunity for students to broaden their understanding of the entertainment field as a whole and network with working professionals. It will also serve as a way to gain more experience in a specific area of expertise and receive certification in those areas making candidates more marketable and well-positioned to enter the industry upon graduation.

Upon graduation, our students would fill an important niche in the entertainment industry at large. Some of these positions may include automation programmers or technicians, lighting programmers, performance riggers, installers, technicians, fabricators, in addition to the conventional theatre positions: ATD, master carpenter, master electrician, audio mixer, house carpenter, shop carpenter, audio engineer, projections technician and more.

Arts and Entertainment Technology graduates will be highly competitive through attaining a specialized, focused technical education.

For further information about Arts and Entertainment Technology, please contact Eben Alguire at

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