Theatre Technology Resources

Areas of Theatre Technology

Costume Design
Costume Design
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Costume Construction
Costume Construction
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Scenic Design
Scenic Design
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Short Film
Short Film
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Stage Management
Stage Management
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General Theatre Technology Notes for All Design Elements

Functions of Design
  1. Establish Location

  2. Establish Time/Period

  3. Reinforce Theme

  4. Reinforce Mood

  5. Social Status of Characters

  6. Movement and Position of Actors

  7. Changing Location

  8. Artistic Style

Five Elements of Design

1. Space

2. Line

3. Shape

4. Color

5. Texture

Five Principals of Design

1. Unity

2. Emphasis

3. Balance

4. Proportion

5. Rhythm




Design is coming up with the ideas for how the show should look, the crew makes the show complete.

Design is a service to the show, the show should not be a slave to it.

History of Costumes Parts 1-4
Created by Dr. Anne Toewe
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Character Boards

Character boards are a way to show your research on a design you have created. For NIES, the board on the left is similar to what you see to need to complete. You should provide some sort of sketch for the character, tracing the outline is okay, the focus is on the research and what you want built, not on the quality of the artwork itself.

Lighting Instruments  For descriptions CLICK HERE
Lighting Resources
Pictures of light design
Done with RGB, not RYB primary colors. It is called additive coloring. The symbolism of color can be found to have many different meanings. For examples, CLICK HERE.
Theatre Marketing/Publicity


With marketing, it comes to one key goal, get people to see the shows and to help make the shows profitable. There are many different ways to do this, some are standard, some are up to the publicist/marketer to come up with some innovative ways to bring money in.

Marketing Tools

Visual Advertising



   Table tents






Digital/Social Media

   Social Media

   Theatre Website

   Email list

Community Outreach

   Working with clubs

   Teacher/Classroom                  Connection

   Mailing Lists

   Buddy/Sister Troupes

Press Outreach


   Press Release

   Feature News Article


Season Planning


Special Events

Visual Advertising

For all advertising

Key details to have

What is the show.

Name of the group performing

Who is in the show.

Where is the show.

How much tickets are.

Where can people get tickets

Contact information.

Necessary copyright information

The sample to the right is based on a poster, but applies to all visual advertising, though some smaller ads may require less information

Posters can be in a variety of sizes, 11x17 inch is easily framed

14x22 is a standard Broadway Poster

Know your printer capabilities and check cost.

Flyers are small posters, like a sheet of paper or a half/quarter page.

Table tents are good for the cafeteria, they are folded over and placed where students are focused for a short time each day.

Banners are large posters and can cost more, do these wisely.


Programs are used to help keep a record of the show. They can also be used to raise money.

Record Keeping

  This is a chance for the actors and technicians to have a record of the shows they were in. They offer a chance to keep track of

   Who was in the show

   Who did what


   and more....


  Work with the director to create an advertising contract.

 Also create a chance for shout outs. Parents and students can appreciate these opportunities.


Social Media

We live in a digital world and students are on their phones and devices much of the time. Be sure to check with the school about what social media you can use. But use what you can.






   Find what your community is using and reach them


Create a website for your theatre. It is good to help advertise your shows, your program, and your program's history.


Find ways to use email or other distribution lists to inform your patrons monthly about what is going on in your troupe or when a show is coming up. People will forget.

Community Outreach 

Working with clubs

  Find ways to collaborate.

  Visual arts could create art for the show

  Full performing arts involvement in a musical.

  Publicity and marketing opportunities

  Graphic design help with posters and programs.

  Work with the newspaper for publicity.

  Work with video production for commercials.

  By involving other groups, they are more likely to attend.


   Work with classes where shows apply.

   English, Social Studies, Science all may have interest in shows with certain themes.

Mailing Lists

  Create a mailer for your student body, their parents, and even the community that surrounds your school. It is amazing how often people would have gone to see a certain show if they had only known.

Buddy/Sister Troupes

  Work with troupes in your area. Arrange for your thespians to go see their shows, they will be more likely to see yours.

  Set up a ticket exchange, offer them a couple of free tickets. If two come for free, more may come with them.

  Stay in contact with the troupes, they can be great supporters for your program.

Press Outreach

Key details to have

What is the show.

Name of the group performing

Who is in the show.

Where is the show.

How much tickets are.

Where can people get tickets

Contact information.

Necessary copyright information

Commercials for the morning announcements can be much more impactful than a simple press release. Work with video production to make a innovative and interesting commercial.

Press Releases can be sent to both school news organizations and to local press. Some will ignore it but sometimes your show will get mentioned on the air and can have a big impact. Create new version for school announcements to keep people interested.

A featured news article can be done before a show airs and covers the purpose of the show and not just the facts. Why is this play being done now.

Other Ways to Market

Budget: Having a budget for your plans is important. Your director may set the budget for you, they may work with you. It is important as a marketer to try to make all your ideas bring in more money than they cost. Have a budget before you start advertising and use your money wisely.

Season Planning: A common theme for shows is helpful, but not required. Regardless of theme, always find opportunities to advertise the remaining season when possible. Make connections to shows. Don't just come see Show A, Show B is just as good an relates back to what you just saw.

Fundraising: Sometimes to help offshoot the costs of a show, fundraising can be done by the cast. Try to find new ways when possible, anyone can do chocolate sales, most do. Come up with ways to work with local businesses to find unique opportunities. You can also fundraise for outside groups or causes. Sometimes people are more likely to donate when they know you are not doing it just for yourself.

Special events: Find ways to bring in people for extra (sometimes charged) events. Doing a show with a Disney Princess, young girls will love to do Tea with (insert princess). Doing a show with combat and you have a trained instructor, do a basic combat workshop.

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Fresnel With Barn Door
Fresnel With Barn Door
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CYC Lights
CYC Lights
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LED Strip Light
LED Strip Light
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LED Moving Light
LED Moving Light
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Scenic Design

Scenic design is the creation of all set and set elements. It can also occasionally include projection and set props.  For an Overall outline of Scenic Design, CLICK HERE. For more in depth look, keep reading.

Types of Stages 

For More Detail, CLICK HERE.


Floorplans are a tool for scenic designers, directors, and stage managers. Floor plans show where set pieces going during the show from a birds eye view. Diagrams can be detailed or general, depending on the needs of the person using the floor plan.



Renderings are a front view of the stage. While they are to scale, they do not have to have the exact measurements. They are intended to give a visual reference of what the set is expected to look like from the audiences perspective.



Models are important to show a more layered and 3D perspective for directors and designers to get an understanding of not just where pieces go, but their relationship to each other. Can be as simple as white or black models, or full out painted sets.


Parts of a set
IE RULES and help

Ampitheatre/Greek Influence

Wagon/Pastoral/Middle Ages

Wagon Set/From Middle Age Theatre


3/4 Thrust Stage Elizabethan Influence

Proscenium Stage

Proscenium Stage/French Influence


Modern Arena Stage/Blackboxish

Contemporary Projections

Contemporary Stage Using Projections



Sound is broken into two major areas: Sound Reinforcement and Sound Design. Sound is often one of the more challenging areas of theatre technology, but also one that can offer some of the best job opportunities.
Sound Reinforcement

Sound reinforcement is taking a sound and making it louder, being shaped to fit the space and the production.

Oftentimes troubles happen when actors cannot be heard or understood.

Three Common Problems

     1. Mumbling or quiet actors

     2. Outdated, wrong, or faulty equipment

     3. Audio Technician not trained properly/operator error

Sources of sound

     1.  Live: Whether live musicians or people sound needs to be amplified.

     2.  Prerecorded/Playback or (canned): Sound that has already been purchased or created before a show begins.

Path of Sound

     1. Source of the sound

     2. Receiver of sound (sometimes a direct input or amplifier)

     3. Mixer

     4. Output (Speakers)


  Mixer  Analogue v mixer (Sound Board)


    Wired v Wireless: Wireless allows for more mobility for actors, wired creates a more dependable sound

   Types of microphones

     1. Dynamic: Don't need power sources, not very sensitive

     2. Condenser: Accurate sounds, need to have a power source.

   Microphone directions.

       1. Omnidirectional: Pick up sound from all sides

       2. Cardiod: Heart shaped sound pickup pattern

       3. Unidirectional: Sound picked up from one directional

  Kinds of Microphones

     1. Handheld Microphone (Stick mic)

     2. Lavalier Microphone (on head or body)

     3. Floor Mics

     4. Hanging choir microphones


     1. Monitors: Monitors are pointed towards the stage or used in the booth for the sound engineers and actors to hear themselves or the            music clearly.

    Parts of a speaker

Sound Design

Sound design involves the inclusion of music and sound effects to a production. Those are the two main categories of sound design.

Can be done live or prerecorded.



    1. Read the script for fun

    2. Read the script and mark cues

    3. Pre production meeting

    4. Speaker Placement

    5. Consult with stage manager for cues

    6. Discuss with director which cues will be used

    7. Give a copy of cue list to stage manager, sound operator  SAMPLE CUE LIST.

    8. Record and organize cues

Copyright- We do not have the rights to just reproduce, work to try to get the rights to music and sounds if not already attained.

Stage Management

What does a stage manager do in a show?

"Stage managers have several key responsibilities and tasks to perform in each phase of a production, including: scheduling and running rehearsals. communicating the director's wishes to designers and crafts people. coordinating the work of the stage crew. calling cues and possibly actors' entrances during performance" (AACT).

A good production needs a strong stage manager helping lead the cast and crew. A stage manager's role is split into three sections, pre rehearsals, rehearsals, and the production itself. The role of the stage manager does change from program to program, and from educational theatre to professional theatre, but there are some helpful expectations and templates.

Stage Management Powerpoint

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Before Rehearsals

The stage manager should be involved in the production before auditions even begin. The stage manager is at the center of making sure everything runs smoothly from the director, the technical director, the designers, the actors and the technicians. Communication, organization and collaboration are essential in the stage manager's role.


Both a helpful tool and a major task. As you read the script, break the script down to all the needs of the script. Focusing on cast, set, lights, sound, costumes, music, special effects, props and the major action of the scene. While this will take some time up front, it will save you time in the long run and make you that much more familiar with the script. This is not for design purposes, the designers design, but it is for helping them in their job.



Light/Sound/Set/Prop/Costume/Other Plots: These lists break down each major technical needs of a show in a way that is easy for others to see. These can often be easily adapted from your production analysis.







AUDITIONS: Make sure you and your director have made an audition contract for the actors and technicians. You can create an audition form on paper (template provided) or you can create one on Google forms. The same can be done for an audition sign up.

  The stage manager should be the first person an actor sees and should be completely organized. Make sure any system you use works for the actors, the director, and you. If you have an assistant stage manager, this is a good time to divide and conquer to make sure everything is done smoothly and accurately.

  When it comes to auditions and callbacks, make sure you know what your director wants from the actors and try to make that happen.

  Create a contact list during the audition process, that way when it comes time to contact the cast, you already have it done.







Production meetings are an essential tool for communication for stage managers with the director and the different designers. Weekly or biweekly meetings to meet, discuss, establish deadlines and work out conflicts and disagreements before they become too large.​

During Rehearsals

THE FIRST READ THROUGH: The first read through is important for the stage manager because it is when you get to establish yourself and your role in the production. Make sure all contact information is gathered by the end of rehearsal. Also make sure the rules and consequences are clear, if those are not clear actors will press boundaries.

SCHEDULING: The director is in charge of who they want when. But it is up to the stage manager to keep track of conflicts to aid in the scheduling. It is also important to know who is needed when. Actors who are not busy at rehearsals become distracted and then become distractions themselves. Use your calendar, production analysis to only call actors when they are needed.

BLOCKING: Blocking is one of the most important jobs a stage manager has during the rehearsal process. Actors rarely remember where they are supposed to be and forget to write it down. Blocking can be done in two ways, short hand markings on the script itself or by making diagrams on the pages opposite of the script. Examples will be shown.

Examples for blocking shorthand.

STAGE MANAGER'S KIT: Stage Managers should always have a box of items including pencils, highlighters, and many other essential items.  For a more complete example of a kit, CLICK HERE.

REHEARSAL RULES: You and your director must set rehearsal rules. These rules are to aid in a better rehearsal process, not to punish. Develop and post rules regarding, tardies, absences, cell phones, guests, talking, when students are off to be off book, etc. Make sure these are posted for students.

CALLBOARD: Have both an online/digital source of information but also have a physical call board students know to check. This callboard should include, but not limited to, rehearsal time, special notices, announcements and other needs.


Make sure you have a definite source of communicating information to actors, technicians, designers, and adults involved in the production. If you have multiple sources, make sure you constantly update all of them.

REHEARSAL SCRIPT: The rehearsal script is essential in the process of recording information. This book would include all your notes, all rehearsal reports, all information related to the show. For a sample CLICK HERE.


Keep up your production meetings and write and distribute rehearsal reports for all rehearsals. This information is crucial and designers need it to do their job. Save yourself stress and complete these as detailed as you need.



During/After Production

OPENING NIGHT: Opening Night can be nerve racking for actors and technicians alike, that is okay, if they are nervous, it shows they care. You need to be steady and calm with them though, you are that link. Make sure everything is prepared, if you have done their job, they can do theirs.

PRESHOW: Have a preshow checklist for all technicians. Check all props, costumes, set pieces, etc. Make sure these are posted and distributed. You should have one for yourself as well. Run through these lists with your technicians before opening night and never assume it will be done unless it is marked down.



CALLING CUES: Calling cues is vital in the process of the show, there should be one person in charge of a show, no exceptions. When calling cues, make sure you come up with a pattern and rhythm your technicians are familiar with.

Try to use letters for sound and numbers for lights.

HANDLING CONFLICTS: You are the boss, try to handle conflicts. If it needs to go to the teacher it can, but if you can resolve it, do so. Good stage managers can resolve conflicts and prevent them from happening again. Learn and adjust and move forward. One example of a way to handle stressful situations is to eliminate talking on headset with a constant standby.


Fill out production reports just like you did rehearsal reports. These are helpful for keeping records as to what happened each night.