21M.603 | Fall 2005 | Undergraduate

Principles of Design


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: Two sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


This course deals with advanced design theories and textual analysis. Emphasis is placed on script analysis in general, as well as the investigation of design principles from a designer’s perspective. Students also refine technical skills in rendering and presentation, historical research, and analysis. Class sessions include interaction with student/faculty directors and other staff designers. The goal of this course is for students to approach text with a fresh vision and translate that vision into design for performance.

Course Requirements

Final Project

Design a complete production of Lysistrata by Aristophanes.


  • Concept Statement (written) and an up-to-date journal of the design process.

  • Scenery: Plans and renderings of all sets, with property and furniture lists, wallpaper and fabric swatches.

  • Costume: Swatched renderings with complete notation of accessories not illustrated.

  • Lighting: Cue synopsis and lighting storyboard for Lysistrata along with a magic sheet describing areas, specials, colors and washes. (Designs are to be presented in a neat and professional format, reflecting pride in the arts of the theater.)

  • Production Time Sheet, completed and initialed.

Final Projects will be presented to the Staff and Class during the final class session. They will be returned with written evaluations before the end of the exam period.


A critique of your design concept statement that includes a discussion of set, costume and lighting ideas. Your statement must be supported by graphic representation (rough sketches, collages, paper models, etc.) for scenery, costumes and lighting.

Be prepared to speak about your research sources, and about your style, period, and color choices. There is no Mid-term exam; completion and presentation of the above requirements will be discussed with the Design Staff during the Ses #14 Mid-term class, which will determine your entire Mid-term grade.

Production Responsibility

Students are required to work 24 hours on Theater Arts (Dramashop, Dance Program, Workshop) productions - six hours each in scenery, costume and lighting and six hours in an area of the student’s own choice. Students may elect any activity in a given area (various construction projects, running crews, anything to do with putting a play on stage, but not ushering or house management). The Production Assignment Time Record must be filled out describing each job completed and verified by the initials of the staff member in charge. The Time Record is to be submitted as part of the Final Project. All hours must be completed; grading is on work and attitude.

Students must confirm work schedules before arriving at any site to fulfill the production hours obligation. Please note that we are unable to accept work done for non-Theater Arts productions due to difficulties in scheduling supervision and evaluation of work done in shops other than our own.

Grade and Project Structure: Principles of Design

Grading is based on four areas of achievement:

Class Work/Attendance 30%
Mid-term Presentation 20%
Completion of Production Responsibilities 20%
Final Project Presentation 30%

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Image Gallery
Activity Assignments