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Thr 373 Lighting and Sound for the Stage


Thr 97-373 Mick Alderson
AC-W16 Office: AC-W124
M-F 9:00 - 12 noon Phone 424-7051

Syllabus (
Class Schedule

Class Notes

The purpose of the course is to provide an introduction to techniques and methods used to realize lighting and sound plots , with particular attention paid to the technical skills required to prepare, set, and run lighting and sound equipment in production.

The student should be able to prepare and execute a simple light plot and sound plot, and set up and run the equipment for it, by end of course.

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. Some projects will therefore be collaborative in nature. 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 and how it affects us, and how we can affect our larger society. A liberal arts education thus makes us more effective participants in society.

Stage Lighting Revealed by Glen Cunningham
Sound Check by Tony Moscal
Various Handouts provided through semester
Theatrical Design and Production by J. Michael Gillet

Course Materials:

Most necessary materials will be available in class. Software to complete projects will be available in AC W16 lab or as free downloads on the Web. Covered software titles will include LXFree, LXFree for Java, or Vectorworks Spotlight; Audacity and Qlab, Multicue, or Quicktime. We will also use iTunes or Windows Media Player.

Light plot project will use a CAD program to create. You MAY use hand drafting to complete, in which case the following equipment is suggested (not required):

Drafting Equipment (hand drafting option): 
  • .5 mm mechanical pencil
  • White drafting eraser
  • T square (at least 24")
  • 45 degree or 30-60-90 degree triangle
  • Architect's scale rule
  • Drawing/drafting paper, 2 - 18" x 24" or 1 - 24" x 36"
  • "1/4" scale PLAN lighting template, USITT standard
    Geometric shapes drafting template for creating CIE symbols
We can make an order for templates if desired.

A 6" or 8" Adjustable wrench (Crescent wrench) is suggested.

Grade will be based on labratory projects and on tests.

There will be 9 laboratory projects spaced throughout the semester. Many will be completed as part of class participation. Two will be major projects requiring outside-of-class time work. Projects are due ON TIME.

Two tests will be given, at the end of the Lighting and the Sound segments of the course, and will be based on the previous class discussion.

Production work is not required for this Interim course, but participation on running crews for second semester productions is encouraged (it's also fun).


The Zoo Story/The American Dream: Feb. 13-16, at 7:30 pm, Feb. 17 at 2:00 pm.
Strike is approx. 4:00 pm

Student One-Acts: Mar. 7-9. at 7:30 pm.

The Mad Woman of Chaillot: Apr. 24-27 at 7:30 pm., Apr. 28 at 2:00 pm.
Strike at approx. 4:00 pm

Test 1 25%
Projects 60%
Test 2 15%


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).



1. Electricity lab: (5 points)
Using parts supplied:
  • Draw up and create a three lamp SERIES circuit and measure the voltage across each lamp and all the lamps together.
  • Draw up and create a three lamp PARALLEL circuit and measure the voltage across each lamp and all the lamps together.
  • Properly wire a PBG to Stage Pin adaptor. Orientation will be assigned by instructor.

2. Demonstrate how to change a lamp in an Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight, a S4 PAR, and a PAR can. (5 points)

3. On the Fredric March stage, given a sample light plot, hang and cable a temporary electric batten. Set instruments properly, and calculate counterweight required. (5 points)

4. Using instruments hung in the previous project, patch, create and save on the Ion light board a series of cues that demonstrate: (20 points)

  • Fade from black
  • McCandless lighting
  • Broadway lighting
  • Key, fill, backlight
  • Fade to black

5. Prepare a light plot for a short play.The plot should include:

  • Color layout using Virtual Light Lab
  • Plan
  • Section
  • Instrument AND/OR Dimmer schedule
  • Equipment list
  • Some form of Magic Sheet.

The scene will be selected by the instructor, the Theatre will be the Fredric March Theatre, and a set design will be provided. Use of CAD to draft the plot is expected but not required. (25 points)


6. Set up a portable PA system consisting of a small mixer, a "talent" microphone on a stand, a PCC floor mic, a cassette deck or a CD deck, an amplifier, and two speakers. Speakers should be set up as mono or stereo, depending on capabilities of the amplifier supplied. Get sound from all sources. (10 points)

7. Dub three different sound effects from CD (music AND sound effects library CDs) to a CD-R to create a three cue sequence. Prepare a sound cue sheet. (5 points)

8. Dub three different sound effects from CD (music AND sound effects library CDs) to the hard drive of a computer using a Sound editing program (such as Audacity, Audition, or Pro Tools) to create a three cue sequence.  Prepare a sound cue sheet (paper or electronic). You may use either Qlab or Quicktime as your anticipated playback program. (10 points)

9. Create a five cue sequence utilizing at least three different sources. You may use the effects from the previous two projects as cues. At least one cue must be a layered cue utilizing more than one source. Prepare a sound cue sheet and play back on cue through the Fredric March Theatre house cluster. (15 points)

by Alderson, James M last modified Dec 24, 2012 12:23 PM