MFA Candidate Wins Digital Design Competition for Her Costume Designs

Jenna Light, a second-year MFA in Theatre Design candidate, won the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s (USITT) Midwest Region Digital Design competition for her costume designs in MSU’s 2018 production, Dog Act

“Winning the USITT Midwest Regional student design competition was a complete surprise and an incredible honor,” Light said. “It means so much to me to have my work recognized in this way.” 

The costume design theme for Dog Act was based on the production’s post-apocalyptic setting, drawing inspiration from sci-fi, steampunk, upcycled, and Elizabethan styles. The pieces Light created combined pieces from the existing costume stock, purchased items, and original creations, all built in MSU’s costume shop.

“After we decided the concept and approach of the design, I started my research, which, for this show, was primarily visual research comprised of photographs and paintings,” Light said. “Once the designs were approved, we had around two to three weeks to create the costumes. I’m so thankful for the entire team of people who work in the costume shop and all the incredible work they did to make the costumes look just perfect

Prior to coming to MSU, Light was at Harding University where she earned her BA in Theatre in 2015. 

The most rewarding part of designing is knowing that my work can help the actors feel confident, comfortable, and ready to perform.


“I chose MSU’s MFA program because of the people I get to work with every day. Meeting the faculty, staff, and students in the Theatre Department during my visit to campus two years ago is what really confirmed for me that this is where I wanted to be,” Light said. “MSU’s MFA program also offers a variety of opportunities that I was interested in, like teaching opportunities and a chance to train in both costume design and costume construction.” 

Light plans to graduate with her MFA in Spring 2020.

“Jenna Light is a shining example of our MFA in Theatre Design program as she embodies our mission to prepare well-rounded and practical theatre artists for a career in professional theatre or a career as a professor or administrator at major colleges and universities throughout the United States,” said Kirk Domer, Chair of the Department of Theatre. 

woman wearing khaki shirt and belt who is pointing off camera and singing
One of the costumes designed by Jenna Light for MSU’s 2018 “Dog Act” production. 

After earning her MFA, Light would like to find a job working at a university, teaching design and managing a costume shop. 

“The most rewarding part of designing is knowing that my work can help the actors feel confident, comfortable, and ready to perform,” Light said. “It’s such a special moment when a performer steps out on stage in their costume for the first time, especially if the costume is really enhancing the story as it should and if the actor feels good wearing it. I still get chills at the first dress rehearsal when I see the clothes on stage for the first time.”