Theatre 369
Room AC-W 16
Mon/Wed/Fri 11:30-12:30
Mick Alderson
Office AC-W 124
Phone: 424-7051
Office hours: Mon 1:00-2:00


Class Schedule | Projects | Shop Safety | Class Notes

Web page: ( Also available on D2L

PURPOSE: To introduce the theatre student to the principles, materials, and techniques used in creating and running scenery for a theatre production. Included will be the use of plans, tools, and construction methods in technical theatre and and the scene shop. The course will consist of lectures, quizzes, projects, a production commitment, and strike participation, as described below.

This class is meant to provide you with an understanding of the basic skills needed to work in the field of technical theatre. By the end of the class you should be able to build, install, and run a small production.

Theatre is a collaborative art, requiring an understanding of the work of the other artists in the theatre process and of the wider culture as a whole, which is your source of inspiration. Life is also a "collaborative art". As part of a liberal arts education, the study of theatre contributes to an understanding of our culture, how it works, how it affects us, and why and how we can affect our larger society. A liberal arts education thus makes us more effective participants in society. 

QUIZZES: Quizzes will be given at the completion of each unit or sub-unit. These quizzes will be given at the beginning of the appropriate class period, so be on time. Quizzes constitute 30% of the final grade.

PROJECTS: Several projects are assigned at regular intervals throughout the semester and relate to lecture material. These projects are meant to challenge the hands-on skills and creative problem solving capabilities of the student, and will comprise 50% of the final grade.

PRODUCTION COMMITMENT: Hands-on experience is vital to learning Stagecrafts, and therefore a production commitment is required. Production work constitutes 20% of the final grade. This may be fulfilled in one of two ways:
a. Construction Crew: If your schedule permits, you may sign up for several hours per week for construction work in the scene shop. A total of 25 hrs. is required.
b. Running Crew: If your schedule permits, you may be assigned to the running crew of a show. This will require you to be involved from technical rehearsals to the close of the show. This commitment will require 1 1/2 to 2 weeks of evening and weekend rehearsals. You MUST attend every required tech/dress rehearsal and performance! No excuses! You are directly impacting on the entire Cast, Crew and Audience when you fail in your committment. Consult the Production Calendar.

In all instances, logging in and out is required for all production commitments. You are responsible for logging hours in the Log Book in the Technical Director's Office, W124. If you do not log in and out, the hours won't count.

Please understand that the active participation of the student in the learning process is essential in this class. Theatre is a HANDS-ON art! Plan to get to class and lab on time and ready to go. Do not hesitate to ask questions. When working in the shop, safety rules will be enforced. Wear clothing you won't mind getting dirty or painted; no loose clothing or jewelry. Wear sturdy work shoes; no open toed shoes or sandals. Appropriate hearing and eye protection WILL be required in the shop. Please refer to attached shop safety rules.

Be advised that the lab portion of this class requires the student to:
a. Use hand, portable power and stationary tools commonly used in wood
b. Lift weight up to and including 50 lbs.
c. Work with and around paints, solvents and substances that may require the use of additional protective devices such as gloves, respirators, etc.
d. Work in an environment where sound levels can exceed 125 db, requiring the use of hearing protection.

The student will be instructed in the safe use and operation of all the above tools, tasks, and systems, and will not be allowed use of these tools without training and approval. Written, verbal, and physical demonstrations of an understanding of these safety procedures will be required.

LECTURE/DISCUSSIONS: Lecture/discussions will take place during the regular class periods. Students are expected to cover appropriate sections of all class readings and any additional materials before the class meets. Most of the readings are available on D2L in the form of an electronic Textbook, or in the assigned printed text. Books for supplemental reading will be available in the front office, or as handouts. The readings are not considered a substitute for attending lectures!

Because many discussions will involve shows which we produce, students are required to see all productions in the Fredric March and Experimental Theatres this semester.

STRIKES: a "strike" is the tear down of scenery, lighting and/or costumes of a production on its closing performance. Strike begins immediately after final curtain and is approximately two hours in length. All students are expected to attend two strikes and to be on time. Note the appropriate dates NOW and schedule accordingly! Students must check in at the beginning of each strike and out at the end. If you leave early you will be considered to have missed the entire strike. Crew assignments will be posted on the bulletin board before strike.


Clybourne Park: Feb. 18-20, at 7:30 pm, Feb. 21 at 2:00 pm.
Strike is approx. 4:00 pm
Winter Fringe: Mar. 10-12 at 7:30 pm.
Strike at approx. 10:00 pm (Optional)
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: April 28- 30 at 7:30 pm., May 1 at 2:00 pm.
Strike at approx. 4:00 pm



Quizzes 30%
Projects 50%
Production Commitment 20%

Grading will be based on the standard format:
94 - 100 (A); 90 - 93 (A-); 87 - 89 (B+); 83 - 86 (B); 80 - 82 (B-); 77 - 79 (C+); 73 - 76 (C); 70 - 72 (C-);
67 - 69 (D+); 63 - 66 (D); 60 - 62 (D-); below 60 (F).


The Primary Text for this course is available at no extra charge on D2L. As a registered student of this course, you have permission to access this text, and to print out ONE copy of each reading for your own use. The materials remain the copyrighted property of the Author, i.e. Mick Alderson, and are not intended for wider distribution.

Supplemental Reading:
Backstage Handbook: An Illustrated Almanac of Technical Information
by Paul Carter, Broadway Press
Theatrical Design and Production
by J. Michael Gillet
Stock Scenery Construction Handbook, 2nd Ed.
by Bill Raoul, Broadway Press

Safety Goggles or Glasses - ANSI Z87 approved
#2 Pencil

10 to 25 ft. tape measure

ATTENDANCE: Attendance and participation in both lecture and lab is required and will ultimately affect your final grade, as you are responsible for all lecture and reading material.

EYE PROTECTION: Although some eye protection is available in the shop, each student must purchase and use his or her own safety goggles or safety glasses.

INSURANCE: Each student must have health insurance.

STAGECRAFTS Name ____________________________________

Project 1: READING SDS

Given a sample Safety Data Sheet, answer the following questions about your material:

Name of Product: _______________________________________

Manufacturer: __________________________________________

What protective gear is needed for to protect the skin?

What protective gear is needed to protect the eyes?

What protective gear is required to protect the respiratory system?

What are the acute exposure effects?

What are the chronic exposure effects?

What do you do in case of accidental exposure for:
Skin exposure?

Eye exposure?

Breathing exposure?


How do you safely store this product?

How do you safely dispose of this product?

Will this burn, and if so, at what temperature?

In case of fire, how do you extinguish it.?


With a canvas flat at least 4'-0" wide and 12'-0" high:

Move flat from horizontal to vertical orientation by edging method.

Move flat from horizontal to vertical orientation by walk up method.

Safely run flat across the deck, checking for overhead obstructions.

Return flat to horizontal position.


On grid paper, draw a rear view of the sample flat, showing all structural members and parts.

Make an accurate Cutting list for the sample flat you have drawn.


Project: Rough working drawing of a two step box.

Make a working drawing of this two-step box: The drawing MUST be a three view orthographic projection, with front, plan and side view, be in 1 inch = 1 foot scale, include a title block with necessary information, have sufficient dimensions for the shop to build it, and include any other drawing information you feel is needed. You may use your own choice of drawing methods to produce the working drawing (traditional drafting tools, CADD, 12 " ruler and pencil, freehand sketch, crayon on brown paper). Specific drawing method will not affect grade; any method that achieves the needed ends will serve. Drawing will be graded on a reasonable degree of accuracy, on completeness, and readability.


Project : Cut and notch a board to dimensions given.

Cross cut and rip a piece of 1x to exactly 2 5/8" x 1'-2 7/8". Cut a 45o angle on one end. Drill a 3/8" hole 3" in from the 90o end in the exact center of the lumber. Cut a 3/4" x 3/4" notch on the edge of the board on the side of and 10" in from the point of the 45o angle. You will be graded on the precision of the cuts.

Project 6: SMALL FLAT

Build a small flat 2 ft. x 3 ft, using standard theatre flat construction. Cover with muslin. Size with size water and base paint with white flat latex paint.

Project 7: KNOT TEST

Tie each of the following knots and name an application for each:

--Two half-hitches

--Square knot


--Sheet bend

--Clove hitch


--Pin rail tie-off or Belay knot

--Snub knot (stopper hitch, rolling hitch, etc.)

Show the proper method to attach a crosby to a cable loop ("Never saddle a dead horse")

Project 8: RIG A FLAT TO FLY

Rig a flat to fly on a batten, using flying hardware and rope. Fly the flat on the counterweight system, balancing the weight properly and making all appropriate calls while moving line sets. Level the flat.

After flat has been inspected, remove flat.


Using the covered flat you built for the flat project, scumble a color of lighter value with a color of a darker value. Drybrush a wood-grain border 8 inches wide along one side of the flat. Finish with a two-color spatter.

Project will be graded on neatness and successful execution of techniques.


top of page This page maintained by: Mick Alderson
Last modified: Jan. 23, 2016
UW Oshkosh Home