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Thr 253 Makeup for Stage and Screen

Theatre 253-001
Monday: 4:00 - 7:00pm
Room:  AC/W- 17

Kathleen Donnelly, e-mail:
Office: AC/W 220 - 424-7127
Office Hours: Mon/Wed: 11:30am-12:30pm, Thurs: 10:00am -11:00am, or by appointment

Text: Laura Thudium:  Stage Makeup

Materials: Ben Nye: Theatrical Makeup Kit.  (Required) (Kits will be available in University Books and More at the Customer Service Desk. Please buy kit specifically ordered for you.)


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 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.  The objective of this course is to provide the student with the knowledge of the fundamental materials and techniques used in stage, television and film makeup.  The course will be presented as a series of lecture/demonstrations and practical application.  The student’s proficiency will be tested through projects that include age, character, and style.


At the beginning of each section of the course, a lecture/demonstration will be given to acquaint the student with the purpose, techniques and demands of the project.  The student will be provided with step- by- step approaches to the various techniques.

Practical Application:

Following the lecture/demonstration, the student will utilize the techniques given, to accomplish the appropriate result.


In addition to the makeup kit, you should bring to class: a jar of cold cream (Ponds recommended), a towel, washcloth, and a shirt to cover your clothes while you are working on projects.  If you have long hair, you might want to bring a clip or elastic band to keep it out of your face.


Project 1: FAMOUS PEOPLE - Due: Feb 23rd

The student will create the image of a famous person (present or past) using two -dimensional makeup techniques.  The student should find photos of a person that has some similarity to your own physical traits, but provides a challenge.  Bring in images of famous person to use as a guide.

Project will be graded on ability to work with modeling techniques to create a resemblance to the famous person chosen by the student.


Project 2:  AGE MAKEUP - Due: March 9th

The student will create the makeup for a person 60+ years on face, neck and hands.  For this project, the student should acquire a photo of a relative, if possible, which was taken after they had reached 60 years old, if possible. The photo will be used as a guide to analyze family traits in aging.  Magazine photos of appropriate age and gender can be substituted if family photo is unavailable. Project will be graded on ability to work with aging techniques demonstrated in class to successfully create an aged character.


Project 3. GENDER REVERSAL  - Due: April 13th

The student will use two dimensional makeup technique, facial hair and wigs/hairpieces, to create the image of the opposite gender.  Bring in images to use as a guide. Project will be graded on the successful transformation of features to create the opposite gender.


Project 4.  CHARACTER NOSES  - Due: April 27th

The student will use techniques demonstrated in casting facial features to create a cast of their nose, and from this impression sculpt a stage nose for a fantasy or non- human character.  From this the student will develop a final impression and generate a latex prosthetic.  You will need visual images to work from for the character chosen. Project will be graded on process, successful production of a plaster nose, mold of character nose, and latex prosthetic.


Project 5. MAKEUP PRACTICUM  - Due: May 4th

This is a production practicum for either a theatrical, film or television event.  The student will do the makeup for someone who will appear in one of these venues for this semester.  Reference or research material, and a description of techniques used should be submitted along with a photo/digital image of the actor in makeup.


Project 6. MAKEUP MORGUE  - Due: May 11th

The student will create a notebook/spiral binder of visual references for makeup projects.   There should be at least 50 references.  The images should be at least 3” x  5” for clarity and be in color. Some black/white images are acceptable.  The categories for this file are:  age (note the age on the photo or magazine clipping), famous people (both women and men), gender reversal images, fantasy characters, animals and other non-human characters, and hair and makeup fashion. See p. 25 in your text for the specific breakdowns and recommendations.  The materials should be presented in a binder or folder and be organized by category. There is an option to produce the morgue in a digital powerpoint or pdf file. Project will be graded on variety of images and sufficient attention to each category.


Project 7.  FANTASY MAKEUP  - Due: May 11th

The student will choose a fantasy or non-human character as the basis for this project.   Any of the techniques and applications learned during the semester may be used to create this effect.  At least 3 different techniques should be used in the creation of this project.  The student will provide a list of techniques used, and the visual references/research used to develop the makeup design. Visual references/research may be a photo, magazine clipping or a detailed drawing. Project will be graded on successful representation of character chosen and process used.



Consistent attendance in class is critical to understanding the process and techniques of makeup. If a student is going to be absent for a lecture, they need to contact the professor in advance of the class. The student is also responsible for getting the material that was covered from another member of the class, and come prepared for the next class. Since this class meets once a week, each absence is equivalent to a week of missed classes. One unexcused class absence will not affect grade, however unexcused absences in excess of one will decrease your overall class grade by five points for each absence thereafter.  Because it is important to keep up with the time schedule allotted, no late projects will be accepted unless it meets the Dean of Students criteria for excused absences, and documentation is provided in a timely fashion.



Grading will be based on choice of material relative to complexity, research, creativity,

techniques, and completeness of project.

Project 1 - Famous People 15%

Project 2 - Old Age 15%

Project 3 - Gender Reversals 15%

Project 4 - Character Noses 15%

Project 5 - Makeup Practicum 10%

Project 6 - Makeup Morgue 10%

Project 7 - Fantasy Makeup 20%



Schedule of classes

February 2nd:    Introduction to course /Face Analysis/ Application of basic makeup (Chapter 1 - 4)

February 9th:     Modeling with highlight and shadow. (Eyes, Cheeks, Nose, Eyebrows) (Chapter 5 – 6, 8)

February 16th:  Aging Techniques – Part I  (Chapter 7) /The Boy Inside Makeup Rehearsal

February 23rdProject 1: Famous Persons

March 2nd:       Aging Techniques – Part II/ Old Age Practicum

March 9th:        Project 2: Old Age

March 16th:      Intro to Gender Reversal Project/ Techniques – Part I  (Chapter 13)

March 23rd:      SPRING BREAK

March 30th:       Gender Reversal Techniques- Part II - Wigs, Beards, Mustaches (Chapter 14)

April 6th:          Intro to 3-Dimensional makeup/ Casting Facial Features (Chapter 15)

April 13th:        Project 3: Gender Reversal / Sculpt Character Nose

April 20th:        Intro to Fantasy Project/ Create Latex Prosthetic/ 3-D techniques: Using spirit gum and latex  (Chapter 10 -12)

April 27th:        Project 4: Character Noses due / 3-D techniques: gelatin / making blood

O Pioneers! Makeup Rehearsal

May 4th:           Special Techniques/ Bruises, Burns, and Black Eyes/ Fantasy Character Practicum

Project 5: Makeup practicum due (Chapter 9)

May 11th:         FINAL CLASS. Project 6: Makeup morgue due / Project 7: Fantasy Character.


by Alderson, James M last modified Jan 22, 2015 10:20 AM