Production and Design Conservatory

Production and Design Conservatory

orphan=March 2008
notable=March 2008
onesource=March 2008

The Production and Design Conservatory is a conservatory in the Orange County High School of the Arts (OCHSA), in Santa Ana, California in the United States. The conservatory teaches secondary school students in 7th-12th grade in visual and technical arts required in staging live performances Theatre. (AKA Stagecraft.) The conservatory director is Kevin Cook. OCHSA has two main performance spaces: Symphony Hall and the Black Box Theater. The conservatory puts on over 125 performances each year, working behind the scenes at almost every OCHSA production, including on- and off- campus events throughout Orange County. OCHSA students work on the following types of performances:

* Musicals
* Dramatic Full-length and One-Act Plays
* Commercial Dance
* Classical Dance
* Contemporary Dance
* Opera
* Instrumental Music Concerts
* Jazz Concerts
* Symphony
* Ballet Folklorico

Before staging each show, Production & Desgn Conservatory students construct and paint sets and costumes and make-up, design lighting, audio and scenic elements for the shows, and have production meetings with student directors and stage managers to ensure the integrity of each performance. While working on OCHSA's shows, students work with working theatrical professionals using state-of-the-art audio, lighting, stage, and scenic equipment to design, build and install all of the sets and props. During conservatory class time, P&D students work on various projects to help enrich their knowledge of historical and contemporary aspects of theater.



The Costuming department offers two different "Advanced" level classes and teachers. One focuses on design, the other production for the shows. Some projects include inanimate objects and creating one's own fashion line. Beginning students sew a dresser's belt, pants and a shirt.


The department's Lighting classes meet in either of the campus' two main theaters: the Black Box or Symphony Hall, both of which contain ETC installed raceways, electrics and grids. Symphony Hall contains an FOH pipe and a "Flying Triangle" while the Black Box has an ETC grid. The classes focus on the technical aspects of light and electricity, the history of lighting, and the design of theatrical lighting.

While the department does not have a lighting lab, they do have free dimmers and a rep "class plot" which is frequently used or edited for in class projects.

Beginning Lighting focuses on history of lighting and electricity in the first semester, and continues with beginning design orientation in the second, with multiple design presentations assigned to each student.

Intermediate Lighting expands on the design concepts with group projects and quick designs, as well as in-class designs.

Advanced Lighting includes all high-level concepts in lighting and the experience and knowledge needed for a career in lighting, electrics and related fields, from architectural to event to dance. Advanced Lighters design most of OCHSA's shows.

Students can hang and record their own designs using state-of-the-art control systems and fixtures including Source Fours, Source Four Pars, and Fresnels. Symphony Hall has two permanent Leko followspots and an M2 Lycian. The department has two ETC Express light boards, a 24/48 and a 48/96. There is also a "road" lighting kit taken to smaller off-campus productions.


The Audio department has its own recording studio, complete with Pro Tools software, Apple Macintosh computers, a Mackie mixing board, a Pro-Tools compatible mixing board, and an array of microphones. The portable audio set includes Carvin mixers and amplifierss.

The Audio department also has an extensive collection of wireless microphones and equipment which are most frequently used in Symphony Hall, but are taken to off-campus events.

Unfortunately, most of the equipment doesn't work.

Scenic Design / Scenic Painting

The Scenic department is responsible for designing more miniatures than all of California's other high schools combined.Fact|date=April 2008 The department allows students to design for different plays and musicals, their designs, and creature miniatures (all in scale).

In some cases, their designs are used for the actual school performances. This is most common for Advanced Level scenic designs, where students work on their own or in teams to create sets, furniture, paint treatments, and other important design elements.


The makeup department works with Ben Nye theatrical makeup, prosthetics, and wigs to present characters the way they were imagined.

Production Lab

The Production & Design department has its own shop, with top-of-the-line saws and welding materials. They build every set from scratch, paint it, adorn it, install it, and see to its upkeep. They also strike the set. This is the only class required of all "Advanced" level students.

The shop has recently acquired a Stop Saw. Students are chosen to Master Carp productions and are constantly at work under CalArts MFA graduate, Oscar Arevalo.

In addition to the classes described above, classes are also offered in:
*Drawing & Painting
*Stage Management
*Theatre History

External links

* [ Orange County High School of the Arts]

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