Open Forum

Technical Theatre

  • 1.  Technical Theatre

    Posted 08-06-2019 14:48

    I would like to create a semester-long course about the technical side of theatre, but don't have any curriculum designed yet. Does anyone have suggestions about textbooks, websites, or curriculum to use? This would be a new course at our school, and I would have to start it from the ground up!

  • 2.  RE: Technical Theatre

    Posted 08-07-2019 05:53
    Both Drama Teacher Academy (through Theatre Folk) and BYU Theatre have some good lesson plans and units. DTA has a monthly fee, but it is worth it for their resources and the collective of teachers with knowledge of theatre and drama education.

    Joshua Riese
    Spring Mills High School
    Martinsburg, WV

  • 3.  RE: Technical Theatre

    Posted 08-07-2019 06:30

    As you are looking for materials, you might want to look at the Technical Theatre Educators page on Facebook.
    The files section has syllabi, lessons and other materials.



    Dana Taylor
    Dana W. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    Evansville IN

  • 4.  RE: Technical Theatre

    Posted 08-07-2019 09:34
    I don't have text suggestions, but if you have access to your theater here is a general idea of some of the things I do.  First is vocabulary. We go to the stage and layout what everything is and stage directions.  Then I teach lighting and lighting design. I give them a basic tutorial on our light board and then have them design a light show for 2 minutes of a song.  We move to sound. We read a play and then they are required to create a sound design for a scene in the play. Next up we move to set design. I have them do a cost analysis for a simple set. They create a set design for a one act, including a ground plan and 3D representation.  Then we do shop safety and I get them building set prices for the upcoming show. After that we move to costumes which includes a basic stitch tutorial and a costume design using material. (By the way, there is a 1page written design concept with every Unit as well.) After costumes we go into makeup. We work on basic makeup, old age, and if time I will through a special makeup of some sort. To prepare for the final, we read a Shakespeare play.  Then for the final I incorporate the different units into a culminating project using the Shakespeare play.  Including a concept for lighting and sound, set ground plans and representations, a scale 3D model, two costume designs, a makeup design for 2 characters, and of course written concepts.

    This is for a full tech theatre approach, but depending on your situation you could just do stage craft and have them build props, sets and stock pieces.  There are lots of ways to teach a tech class. I have a sort of outline I could share if your interested.

    Andrew Fisher
    Canon City CO

  • 5.  RE: Technical Theatre

    Posted 08-07-2019 10:42
    Thre's a lot of information about various areas of design and tech subjects on my blog, at The blog was created to help non-professional theatre groups understand and use professional techniques.

    George F. Ledo
    Set designer

  • 6.  RE: Technical Theatre

    Posted 08-07-2019 10:39
    Can you give us an idea of what equipment you have; machines in your shop, what sound board, what light board and instrument inventory, sewing machines, etc?

    Beth Rand, EBMS
    Educational Lighting Designer
    School Theatre Operations Coach


    - HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE OPERATIONS ONLINE COURSE ( - NEW! INDEPENDENT STUDY for those who don't have time to join a cohort!
    Westminster, CO

  • 7.  RE: Technical Theatre

    Posted 08-07-2019 18:25
    Sure Elizabeth.  

    My light board is a ETC Ion.  Which I give them the basics of how to record cues and subs and control the color picker for the ETC D-40 LEDs. We have 75 or so ETC Source four elipsoidals as well as 75 D-40s and 16 Altman LED Flood lights.  I have an Allen and Heath ZED 22 sound mixer. 

     In our shop we have a band saw, 10" miter saw, numerous cordless and corded drills, reciprocating saw, air stapler, various hand tools and jig saws. 

     For sewing we have an older sewing machine we use in costumes, but for class they use needle and thread.  The costume design is represented by material on paper.  Some use the actual stitches and try to be creative others stay very simple and cut the material to the shape they want and glue it to the paper.

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  • 8.  RE: Technical Theatre

    Posted 08-20-2019 14:07
    I highly recommend the book "Painting for Performance" by Sean Oskea. it is supposed to be for beginners but is a lot more. not too big and very thorough and clearly stated with very good pictures. Available through Amazon, not too expensive.

    [Rachel] [Keebler]
    [Director, Owner]
    [Cobalt Studios]
    [White Lake] [NY]