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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance

MFA in Scenic Design

MFA in Scenic Design | Core Faculty

Nic Ularu
Head of the MFA Design Program
Scene Design/Costume Design

Professor Ularu has extensive design credits in USA and Europe, including theatres in Sweden, Northern Ireland and Romania. Nic Ularu was the head of scenography at the National Theatre of Bucharest - Romania, and served for four years as a board member of The European League of the Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He has taught scene and/or costume design in Romania, Germany, Sweden, UK, Italy, Denmark and Hong Kong. Prior to USC, he taught at Smith College, National Theatre School of Denmark and The University of Theatre and Film, Romania. In 2003, Professor Ularu received an OBIE award for outstanding achievement in Off-Broadway theater. Ularu’s designs appeared in the USA entries at the Prague Quadrennial International Exhibitions of scenography in 2007, 2003 and 1998. In 2005, Nic co-designed the exhibit and designed the poster of the World Stage Design Exhibition, Toronto - Canada, and was appointed by the United States Institute of Theatre Technology as the leading designer and curator of the USA National Exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial International Exhibition of 2007.

Besides his national and international design activity Nic Ularu is a playwright and director. His recent freelance work as playwright and director includes several acclaimed productions at LaMaMa ETC - New York, Sibiu International Theatre Festival - Romania, Teatrul Foarte Mic, Bucharest - Romania, “O” Teatret - Sweden, National Theatre of Constanta - Romania, and National Theatre of Cluj - Romania.

In 2013, a production of The Other Death of Joan of Arc, designed and directed by Professor Ularu, won the Grand Prix Award for Best Production at the Belgrade International Theatre Festival.  The production was one of eight chosen from around the world, out of nearly 200 applicants. 


Andy Mills
Senior Instructor
Technical Director

Andy has designed professionally at Shakespeare Theatre’s Young Company (Washington, DC), Charlotte Repertory Theatre, Carolina Opera, USC Opera, and Trustus.  Andy currently teaches Intro to Theatre Design and Theatre Laboratory. He specializes in the area of properties, finding or building the most obscure of items. Andy is a Member of USITT.


Sam Gross
Senior Instructor
Assistant Technical Director

Sam Gross is a graduate of Indiana University where he earned an MFA in Theatre Technology. He specializes in mechanized scenery, computer controlled systems, electronics, set construction, and rigging. He has designed and built motion control systems for such productions as The Real Thing, Sweeney Todd, Romeo and Juliet, Sweet Charity, Dracula, and Pal Joey. He has overseen the construction of USC productions since 2005. Mr. Gross received his Bachelor of Sciences Degree from the University of North Alabama where he also worked as a sound designer, lighting designer, sound engineer, carpenter, and actor. In his position as Assistant Technical Director, Sam supervises graduate and undergraduate students in the construction of scenery and props for USC Theatre and Dance productions.