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Thr 371 Theatre Design I

THEATRE DESIGN I: PROCESS – Fall 2015 Theatre 371-001
Tuesday/Thursday: 11:30am – 1:00pm
Room: ACW 16

Roy Hoglund

Office: AC/W 216 - 424-7043
Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 9:00am – 10:30am, or by appointment

Kathleen Donnelly

Office: AC/W 220 - 424-7127
Office Hours: Tues: 8:00am – 10:00am, Wed: 11:30am-12:30pm, or by appointment

Text: There is no required text for this class. Recommended reference books:
J. Michael Gillette: Theatrical Design and Production, 5/e
Rebecca Cunningham: The Magic Garment: Principles of Costume Design, 2/e

Additional Required Reading:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

Course Description:

Theatre Design I will explore the process of theatrical design as it applies to scenic, costume and lighting design. This course will build upon the techniques and skills acquired in the Fundamentals of Design class, and further the student’s understanding of the world of theatre design.

Value of a Liberal Education: Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real0 world settings (AAC&U;

Connection to this course: Theatre is a collaborative creative process requiring a broad knowledge of the human condition to be successful. The importance of theatre in society is well documented, and understanding the role it plays in society contributes to the development of a well-rounded citizen. Theatre, as with all areas of the Liberal Arts, is most effectively employed when it is built on a broad base of knowledge.


The goals listed above will be achieved through the following objective of this course. This course will focus on the further development of the designer's skills of visual communication, and the process of design for the Theatre. The course will explore advanced color theory, element of texture, rendering techniques, computer assisted drafting, and model making for Theatre. These principles will be demonstrated and tested through projects (both realized and paper) and presentations. In order to pass this class the student must demonstrate a proficiency in both scenic and costume design in concept and practice.


A series of lectures will accompany each of the projects. It is important to realize that this time will be spent establishing the base of knowledge required to execute the project. Additional studio time is required of the student to work on the projects or class exercises assigned. The student will keep a log of hours in studio outside of class. A minimum of 3 hours of studio time is required.

Early Alert: After the third week of class, you will receive a grade for your overall progress in this course and each of the courses you are taking. This process is called “Early Alert.” You will receive this information in an email during the 5th week of classes. Early Alert is designed to help you evaluate your study skills and your class attendance so that you know if you are on the right track. If you need to make some changes, there are resources available to support your academic success. These Early Alert grades are not permanent and will not appear on your transcript.

In this course, your Early Alert Grade will be assessed based on Project #1: Exploring the Element of Color.

E-Portfolio: As you move through your courses at UW Oshkosh, you will archive your learning in an ePortfolio. The ePortfolio can be found in D2L. The ePortfolio will help you keep track of papers, speeches, reports, projects, and other assignments, so that you can see your progress and connect ideas across different classes. You can continue to use this portfolio in your major classes, so that you are ready for your Capstone course or experience as you near graduation. In this course, a PowerPoint presentation based on the design work completed in Projects #3 and #4: Costume and Scenic Design for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, is designated for upload, to your ePortfolio.

Campus Resources: Please visit this resource page (or the D2L course page) to read about all the campus services available to support your success.

  • Writing Center: The Writing Center helps students of all ability levels improve their writing. Trained peer consultants help writers understand an assignment, envision possibilities for a draft, and improve their writing process. They even help writers learn to identify their own proofreading errors. Students can make a free appointment or stop by to see whether a consultant is available. For more information, view their website (, call 920-424-1152, email, or visit them in Suite 102 of the Student Success Center.

  • Reading Study Center: The Reading Study Center is an all-university service whose mission is to facilitate the development of efficient college-level learning strategies in students of all abilities. The center offers strategies for improved textbook study, time management, note taking, test preparation, and test taking. For more information, email, view the website ( , visit them in Nursing Ed Room 201, or call 424-1031

Materials: (must be brought to every class)

18” x 24” rough newsprint pad /sketch book
Drawing Pencils: Ebony and HB
White gum eraser
Color media: pan or tube watercolor (Pelikan or Grumbacher (24 colors) is recommended) Brushes: #6 watercolor brush, and 3/4” camel hair watercolor brush.

Watercolor paper, pad 11” x 14” (Avoid pre blocked pad)
Brown paper portfolio envelope - large enough to hold 18” x 24” paper/board Thumb drive


Six projects are required in the Theatre Design 1 class. The purpose of these projects is to introduce the student to the process of design and techniques of communicating design. Each project is designed to challenge the student in different areas of theatrical design. Each project will be critiqued on the day it is due by the entire class. Class participation is mandatory.

Project Descriptions:

Project 1: Exploring the Element of Color - Theory and Technique (Due: 9/24)
The objective of this project is to introduce the student to color theory and it’s application to costume and scenic design. Student will explore color applications in theatre design using the watercolor technique of rendering.

Project will consist of rendering samples relating to the application of color theory to theatre design. Project will be graded on creativity and application of color theory and technique.

Project 2: Exploring the Element of Texture in Design (Due: 9/24)
The objective of this project is to introduce the student to the element of texture and it’s application to costume and scenic design. Project will consist of collecting samples of material illustrating a variety of textures and relating them back to design choices in theatre. Project will be graded on creativity and application of theory as it relates to texture.

Project 3: Script Analysis and Concept Statement for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (Due: 10/1 )

  1. Overall Play analysis: Read the play and create a script analysis that answers the questions: Who, What, When, Where and Why? in order to better understand the play and what information is needed to adequately design the play with regards to Scenery and Costumes. The analysis should also include an in- depth look at Scenic and Costume elements as noted below:

    1. Scenic Analysis: Read the play and create a scene breakdown listing scenic requirements for each scene. Create a scenic analysis of play that includes: year, season, socio-economic level, and geographical location.

    2. Character Analysis: Read the play and create a character description for each of the characters in the play. The character analysis should include: gender, age, marital status, occupation, socio- economic status and personality and should be based on the information given in the script.

  2. Concept Statement: Choose a modern painting (with color) that represents the mood of the play. Use that painting to develop an approach to the play that will focus the concept statement and inspire the design.

Project 4: Costume Design for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (Due: 10/29)

The objective of this project is to design the costumes for the selected play. The student must provide all appropriate paperwork as it relates to this area:

  1. Costume Plot: Create a spreadsheet that plots the characters and scenes in which they appear. This aids the designer in calculating how many costumes each character has and which characters are on stage at the same time.

  2. Research Collage: Create a collage using magazine clippings, and/or scanned images of clothing, accessories hair and makeup for six characters as it relates to your concept. The images should be in color and be large enough to read the details of the item. The six characters should include: Maggie, Brick, Big Daddy, Big Mama and two other characters of your choice. Each collage should be 12” x 18” and contain the name of the play and the character.

  3. Line Sketches: Choose a scene in the play and create sketches for each character based on the research collage in step 2. You should try to create more than one idea for each. You can use the croquis that you developed in Fundamentals of Design as a basis for these sketches. Meet with the instructors to go over the ideas and choose one for each.

  4. Color Boards: Layout a sheet of pastel paper or drawing paper (18” x 24”) and divide the paper into 8 boxes. The first box will be your title box. The remaining boxes will be used for your costume drawings for the six characters selected in step 4. Transfer the final drawings using transfer graphite paper onto the color board. Choose fabric to represent each of your drawings. Using color pencils, pastel or other dry media, color the line drawings to represent the fabric choices you have decided upon.

  5. Renderings: Create a layout for the renderings that includes title of play, character name, and your drawings from 3. Choose four of the characters from your color boards and create 10-12” drawings of your design and transfer to watercolor paper once your layout has been decided upon. Using watercolor media, render the costume design and attach fabric swatches representative of the color and pattern in your design.

Project will be graded on neatness, clarity of presentation and creative approach.

Project 5: Scenic Design for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (Due: 12/8)
The objective of this project is to learn the process of scenic design and design the scenery for the selected play. Scenery project breakdown includes the following:

  1. Research Collage: Create a research collage for the play that includes multiple pictures of neighborhoods, houses, interiors and furniture. You should include color indications for the time period. In addition to this, you should create a rough layout of the real house. In the final stage, this research should be laid out and mounted onto a board for viewing and include the title of the play and your name.

  2. Rough Sketches and Groundplans: Working with an 1/8” groundplan of the Fredric March Theatre, create a rough groundplan of the scenic design. Illustrate through rough sketches how each scene would look based on the groundplan.

  3. Groundplan: Create a 1⁄4” scale groundplan using the Fredric March Theatre as your space. This groundplan will be done on the computer using Vectorworks. The plan should include all levels, steps (including escape stairs), doors, windows, dimensioning and furniture.

  4. Elevation: Create a 1⁄2”scale elevation of significant walls, which includes all doors and windows. Elevation will be transferred to watercolor paper for painter elevations in the step 6.

  5. White Model: Create a 1/4”scale white model using the groundplan and elevation created in previous steps. Print out groundplan and mount on foam core board. Model will include all platforms, stairs and levels. Reduce Elevation to 1⁄4” scale and transfer to Bristol board to create the walls in the model. Proscenium arch, masking and figure to scale should be included.

  6. Painter Elevations: Elevation previously transferred to watercolor paper is to be used to create painter elevations indicating colors and patterns that would be used for walls, doors, and floors.

Project will be graded on neatness, clarity of presentation and creative approach.

Project 6: Lighting Design: 24 Hours AM/PM: Sunrise on Earth by Michael Lewis (due: 12/17)
The objective of this project is to design the lighting for the selected scene from the play listed above, and create a presentation that evokes the mood, tempo and spirit of the piece.
Project requirements:

• •

Concept Statement that includes: an analysis of the play and visual approach to the play, as it relates to the Lighting Design
Visual Research that includes a selection of paintings, photographs or work of an artist who captures the

spirit of the play, from which to base the design
Sound Research that includes a selection of a piece of music that evokes the mood of the play that will serve as background music for this project. Note: Instrumental version of the music without additional lyrics works better for this presentation.

Completion of the project will include:

  • Lighting demonstration with 6 - 10 cues, illustrating key moments in the play. The demonstration will

    be presented along with an audio of the script and the music selection. Equipment will be provided for playback. A light plot will be established for the group, but each student has the option to add one special and to choose appropriate color filters based on their approach. A dress form with a neutral colored costume will be provided to represent the actor.

  • Paperwork

o Copy of the script with indications for placement of cues.
o Light plot that indicates: circuit #, color filters used for each instrument, and any additional

instruments used as specials.
• PowerPoint Presentation to be uploaded to D2L that includes:

o Concept Statement
o Visual Research Images
o Music Selection
o Images of color filters used o Cue Sheet

Project will be graded on creative approach, and clarity of presentation.

Attendance Policy:

Consistent attendance in studio is critical to understanding the process and techniques of design. If a student is going to be absent for a lecture, they need to contact the professors in advance of the class. The student is also responsible for getting the material that was covered, and be prepared for the next class. Two unexcused class absences will not affect grade, however unexcused absences in excess of two will decrease your overall class grade by two points for each absence thereafter. Because it is important to keep up with the time schedule allotted, no late projects will be accepted without documentation in accordance with the Dean of Students policy on absences.

Attendance at Department Performances:

The student is required to attend the two department productions this semester: Our Town and These Shining Lives. A class discussion relating to design elements in the production will follow the closing of the production.


10% Project 1: Color Theory and Technique
10% Project 2: Texture in Design
10% Project 3: Script Analysis and Concept Statement 25% Project 4: Costume Design
25% Project 5: Scenic Design
20% Project 6: Lighting Design



Tuesday 9/8 NO CLASSES Auditions: Our Town
Thursday 9/10 Intro to Course/ Project 1: Color Theory in Design
Friday 9/11
Theatre Open House

Tuesday 9/15 Intro to Watercolor Technique/ Workday
Thursday 9/17 Intro to Project 2: Texture in Design / Workday

Tuesday 9/22 Intro to Project 3: Script Analysis and Concept Statement
Thursday 9/24 Project 1 & 2 due/ Intro to Project 4: Costume Design

Tuesday 9/29 Costume Design Paperwork/ Plots and Lists/Plot Workday Auditions: These Shining Lives
Wednesday 9/30
Theatre Major/Minor Meeting
Thursday 10/1 Research Resources/ Trip to Library/ Project 3 due

Tuesday 10/6 Research Workday/ Sketching in the Design Process
Thursday 10/8 Costume Design – Rough Sketches

Tuesday 10/13 Costume Design – Final Line Drawings
Thursday 10/15 Costume Design - Color Plots and boards / Fabric selection Performance: Our Town

Tuesday 10/20 Costume Design – transfer line drawings to water color paper
Thursday 10/22 Costume Design - Renderings

Tuesday 10/27 Intro to Project 5: Scenic Design/Research/Styles & Types of scenery Auditions: Clybourne Park
Thursday 10/29 Present Project 4: Costumes for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Tuesday 11/3 Scenic Design – Floor plans and Rough Sketches
Thursday 11/5 Scenic Design – 1/8” Goundplan

Tuesday 11/10 Intro to Vectorworks/Transfer Groundplan to computer
Thursday 11/12 Scenic Design - Elevations

Tuesday 11/17 Scenic Design – Transfer elevation to computer
Thursday 11/19 Scenic Design - Modelmaking Performance: These Shining Lives

Tuesday 11/24 Scenic Design – Modelmaking Workday

Tuesday 12/1 Scenic Design – Painter Elevations
Thursday 12/3 Intro to Project 6: Lighting Design for Sunrise on Earth/ Music

Tuesday 12/8 Present Project 5: Scenery for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Thursday 12/10 Lighting Design - Workday.

Tuesday 12/15 Lighting Design Workday
Thursday 12/17 Present Project 6: Lighting for Sunrise on Earth FINAL CLASS
by Alderson, James M last modified Sep 09, 2015 02:08 PM