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Thr 373 Lighting and Sound for the Stage

Lighting and Sound


Thr 97-373 Mick Alderson
AC-W18 Office: AC-W124
MWF 11:30 - 12:30 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 Revealled 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 (provided). 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 laboratory projects, quizzes and on production work.


Projects: There will be 12 laboratory projects spaced throughout the semester. Some will be completed in class. Projects are due ON TIME.

Quizzes will be given approximately weekly at the end of the Lighting and the Sound segments of the course, and will be based on the previous class discussion.

Production work may be completed in one of two ways:
--20 hours of work time on stage to hang and focus shows.
--Working on a running crew as lighting or sound crew.


Over the Tavern: Oct. 8-11, at 7:30 pm, Oct. 12 at 2:00 pm.
Strike is approx. 4:00 pm
The Seafarers: Nov. 19-22 at 7:30 pm., Nov. 23 at 2:00 pm.
Strike at approx. 4:00 pm

Quizzes 20%
Production work     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).


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 PARELLEL 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 a Fresnel, an Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight, 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. Create a simple light plan on paper or CAD of a single area to present a mood or atmosphere effect, then set and save in color a visualization of the lighting layout using Virtual Light Lab program. (5 points)

5. Set up miniature single area light plots in the light lab demonstrating: (5 points)
  • McCandless lighting
  • Broadway lighting
  • Key, fill, backlight
  • Additive color mixing
6. Using whatever instruments are hung at the time, create on the Ion light board a series of cues as follows: (15 points)
  1. Patch a set of at least 12 channels and create the following sequence of cues:
    • Fade from black into a "look" in 5 seconds.
    • Crossfade to another "look" in 8 seconds.
    • Segue to another "look", leading with a new "look" up in 4 seconds;
      following with the old "look" out in 5 seconds.
    • Crossfade to your first look in 6 seconds, with an Auto-follow to your second look in 6 seconds.
    • Bump to a single "Special".
    • Fade to Black in 8 seconds.
  2. Save your sequence.
7. Prepare a light plot for a short play. (20 points)
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 id expected but not required. (20 points)


    8. Set up a portable PA system consisting of a small mixer, a "talent" microphone on a stand, 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. (5 points)

    9. 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)

    10. 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)

    11. Set up a dynamic microphone, a PCC microphone, and a wireless microphone on the Fredric March Theatre sound system and get sound from each through the house cluster.
    (5 points)

    12. 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)


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