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Thr 371 Theatre Design I


Theatre 371-001

M/W/F: 9:10AM – 10:10AM

Room: AC/W 16


Instructors: Roy Hoglund


Office: AC/W 216 - 424-7043

Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 10:00 – 11:30am, or by appointment


Kathleen Donnelly


Office: AC/W 220 - 424-7127

Office Hours: M/W 11:30am – 12:30pm, Tues: 8:00am – 9:00am, or by appointment


Text: There is no required text for this class.  Recommended reference books:

Clare P. Rowe: Drawing and Rendering for Theatre, 1/e

Rebecca Cunningham:  The Magic Garment:  Principles of Costume Design, 2/e

Additional Required Reading:

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams


Based on goals established by the Theatre program, the goals of this course, for the student, are: 1.To have a broad knowledge of the processes of theatrical production; 2.To be able to analyze and communicate a dramatic text to an audience; 3.To make effective use of the research tools available to the theatre artist, critic and historian; 4.To develop a commitment to the pursuit of artistic excellence and integrity.

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.

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. 

Materials: (must be brought to every class)

18” x 24” rough newsprint pad /sketch book

Drawing Pencils: Ebony, or 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: 9/16)

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 9/16)

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 A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

(Due: 9/25)

  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 A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (Due: 10/23)


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: Blanche, Stella, Stanley and 3 others.  Each collage should be 12” x 18” and contain the name of the play and the character.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (Due: 12/2)

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 ¼” 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 ½”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 ¼” 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 PM: Sunrise on Earth by Michael Lewis (Due: 12/11)

The objective of this project is to design the lighting for the selected play. The student will develop a concept statement that includes: an analysis of the play and visual approach to the play, as it relates to Lighting Design.  Project requires selection of a painting, photograph or an artist whose work captures the spirit of the play, from which to base the design, and selection of a piece of music that evokes the mood of the play that will serve as background music for this project.  Completion of the project will include: a lighting demonstration with 6 - 10 cues, illustrating key moments in the play and appropriate paperwork. Student will prepare a one-page description of the lighting including: choice of music and a xerox of the painting/photograph used. Project will be graded on creative approach, and clarity of presentation.


Attendance at Department Performances:

The student is required to attend the two department productions this semester: The Underpants and Laramie Project. 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




Day Date Class Content Notes
Monday 2-Sep LABOR DAY
Wednesday 4-Sep Intro to Course/ Intro to Project 1 - Color theory in Design
Friday 6-Sep Intro to Watercolor Technique
Monday 9-Sep Workday Project I
Wednesday 11-Sep Intro to Project 2 - Texture in Design
Friday 13-Sep Exploring Texture Workday
Monday 16-Sep Project #1 and #2 Due
Wednesday 18-Sep Intro to Project #4: Costume Design for A Streetcar Named Desire
Friday 20-Sep Intro to Project #3: Script Analysis and Concept Statements
Tech: The Underpants
Monday 23-Sep Costume Design Paperwork/ Plots and Lists
Wednesday 25-Sep Costume Plot Workday/ Project #3: Script Analysis/Concept Due Opening Night - The Underpants
Friday 27-Sep Research techniques and resources/trip to UWO library
Monday 30-Sep Research Workday
Wednesday 2-Oct Sketching in the design process / Review of Figure Drawing
Friday 4-Oct Costume Design/ rough sketches
Monday 7-Oct Costume Design/ final line drawings
Wednesday 9-Oct Costume Design/ color plots and boards
Friday 11-Oct Costume Design / color boards /fabric selection
Monday 14-Oct Costume Design / transfer to water color paper
Wednesday 16-Oct Costume Design Workday/ renderings
Friday 18-Oct Costume Design Workday/ renderings
Monday 21-Oct Intro to Vectorworks - Computer Aided Drafting
Wednesday 23-Oct Present Project #4: Costume Design for A Streetcar Named Desire
Friday 25-Oct Intro to Proj #4: Scenic Design for A Streetcar Named Desire / Research
Monday 28-Oct Intro to Scenic Design styles/ types of scenery
Wednesday 30-Oct Scenic Design / floor plans and rough sketches
Friday 1-Nov Scenic Design/ groundplan
Day Date Class Content
Monday 4-Nov Scenic Design/ groundplan
Wednesday 6-Nov Scenic Design/ elevation
Friday 8-Nov Scenic Design/ elevation
Monday 11-Nov Scenic Design/ model making
Wednesday 13-Nov Scenic Design/ model making
Friday 15-Nov Scenic Design/ model making
Tech: Laramie Project
Monday 18-Nov Scenic Design/ model making/ color plot
Wednesday 20-Nov Scenic Design / Painter elevations Opening Night - Laramie Project
Friday 22-Nov Scenic Design/ Painter elevations
Monday 25-Nov Intro to Project #5: Lighting Design
Monday 2-Dec Present Project #5: Scenic Design for A Streetcar Named Desire
Wednesday 4-Dec Lighting Design Workday
Friday 6-Dec Lighting Design workday
Monday 9-Dec Lighting Design workday
Wednesday 11-Dec Present Project #6: Lighting Design
Friday 13-Dec Final Class Meeting
by Alderson, James M last modified Aug 19, 2013 12:34 PM