21M.606 | Spring 2009 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Stagecraft


Widget Exercise

  • Work carefully
  • Ask questions! Do not make unsupported assumptions (Life lesson)
  • Have fun (another Life lesson)
  • Use all tools listed
  • Keep a list of tools used and what you used them for and your impression of the tool
  • Turn in list with widget by Ses #11

Tool List (PDF)

Costume Trousers

You will be making yourselves a pair of drawstring trousers. These are sweatpant/dorm pant type trousers. The trouser pattern that you will be working with is New Look 6764. These are drawstring trousers that sit below the waist.

By the first day of costume class you will need to have:

  1. Purchased fabric to construct these trousers.
  2. Washed your fabric: this is so that the trousers are washable without shrinkage after they’re constructed.
  3. An inexpensive pair of scissors that have never cut paper!
  4. An idea of how you want the finished trousers to look (more on this later).
  5. $5.99 to pay for a pattern

Use the chart that comes with the pattern to determine how much fabric you need to buy. Fabric generally comes in 2 widths: 45" and 60". Choose the length you want the trousers to be (view A, C or D, not B) and then determine the size you will be constructing (go by measurements at top of chart; not the size you buy in a store). Note that the measurement is for hip, not waist. This means re-measuring yourself at the hipline rather than the waist. You are welcome to come into the shop to measure yourself. Follow the chart down to the width of fabric you’ve chosen and you will know how many yards you need to purchase. Please be as funky/creative as you like with your fabric choices. There are, however some fabrics that are very hard to work with.

Fabrics to avoid:

  • Stretch velvets
  • Slippery knits
  • Very thick fleece (lighter fleeces are fine)
  • Very stiff fabric
  • Fur (don’t laugh…it happens!)

Wash your fabric in whatever temperature water that you plan to keep washing them in. Some fabrics are not washable without shrinkage; silk, cotton, wool, rayon- although they don’t shrink much in a cold wash. Once you wash and shrink them they are washable, but you must allow for shrinkage when figuring your yardage; add another half yard or so.

Please have fun customizing your trousers. Play with length, trims, fabric mixing and pockets, if you choose. I have attached some sketches of the different pocket options we have available.

Pocket Options (PDF)

Production Work/Lab Hours

A total of 24 hours: six hours in each of the three shops and an additional six in a shop of the student’s choice. These hours are required for successful completion of the course, and are worth one quarter of the final grade. Production hours must be recorded on the accompanying time record and verified by the supervising staff member’s initials. The time record is to be submitted with the Final Project. All hours must be completed and grading is based on quality of work and attitude supportive of the production. Only hours spent on Theatre Arts productions (Dramashop, Playwrights-in-Performance, DTE or CAST) supervised by Theatre Arts faculty/staff can be used to satisfy this requirement as we are unable to supervise, monitor, or guarantee the type of work done by other producing organizations on campus. Due to term regulations, production hours must be completed by Ses #26.

Students are urged to call the shops or otherwise confirm work times specifically with the staff before arriving at any site to fulfill production hours.

Log Sheet (PDF)

Midterm Presentation

At midterm, you will give a 3-minute presentation defining the details of your final project. This presentation will address what your project is, the challenges you will face and potential solutions, materials needed, your project timeline, and visual support and plans. The following must be submitted on or before Ses #10 and the presentations will take place on Ses #12.

  • 2 page written report about your project the possible challenges and your proposed solutions.
  • A detailed schedule of when the work will be completed with your own benchmarks. (e.g. by 3/1 I will have cut all the lumber for my project).
  • Sketches of the finished project.
  • Research to date, including relevant images.
  • Plans in the form of working drawings or patterns.
  • Materials list and possible sources.
  • Color swatches (fabric, paint, stain) as applicable to your project.
  • Meeting with appropriate faculty member for project feedback and approval.

If your project is not in the area of costume or built scenery, these requirements will be adapted with your project advisor.

Final Project

Design and construct a major costume, property, scenic or furniture item. This will be worth one quarter of the course grade and will be presented in class for the final exam. In addition to the completed piece, you will be asked to turn in the following:

  • 2 page report about the process of creating your project; what was different than you expected, were there any surprise issues and how did you solve them.
  • Journal containing sketches, notes, and drawings that you created during the course of your project.
  • Production time sheets.

Your projects will be graded on quality of execution and thoroughness of supporting materials. Since we would like to see you take risks with these projects, the difficulty of the project and how much you pushed yourself outside your comfort level will be taken into consideration. However, do not expect these factors to excuse ineffective time management, incomplete projects, and/or poor workmanship.

Student Work

All materials are presented with permission of the author.

Glider Chair (PDF)  
Hat and Vest Combo (PDF)  
Superhero Costume (PDF) (PDF)
1930s Evening Dress (PDF) (JPG 1) (JPG 2)

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2009
Learning Resource Types
Activity Assignments with Examples