21M.734 | Spring 2005 | Undergraduate

Design for the Theater: Scenery


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

This course will examine theory of scenic design as currently practiced, as well as historical traditions for use of performance space and audience/performer engagement. Four play scripts and one opera or dance theater piece will be designed after in-depth analysis; emphasis will be on the social, political and cultural milieu at the time of their creation, and now.

Students will be encouraged to work in a variety of two- and three-dimensional media for communicating ideas. An important goal of the course is to develop a student’s self-critical faculties in addition to an easy, articulate style of presentation and defense of their interpretive choices.

Technical Requirements

Previous art training is not required. Students will be encouraged–and expected–to explore new techniques, materials and media as introduced by the Instructor and to be open to influences from peers and other members of the Theater Arts Design Faculty and Staff.

Course Objectives

  1. To develop a student’s ability to articulate visually and verbally their interpretation of play scripts and the relationship of their designs to those texts;
  2. To develop a student’s ability to communicate ideas visually through form, color, line, scale and graphic content via color renderings and scale models;
  3. To develop a student’s ability to defend design and interpretation choices;
  4. To develop a student’s self-critical abilities through regular feedback on developing and finished work by the instructor and from peers;
  5. To develop a portfolio of finished designs for each student presented in a professional manner.


21M.603 (Principles of Design) or permission of Instructor based on previous theatrical experience and/or art of any kind the student has done.


Technique in pastel, water color, drawing and scale model making will be demonstrated on an as-needed basis to any students who make a request or show an obvious need at any time during the course.

Basis for Grade

Students will be evaluated individually on the basis of their personal development during the term, not in competition with others. Emphasis will rest on the growth of their interpretative skills, ability to express and present their ideas clearly and persuasively, openness to feedback, self-critical acumen, and ability to meet project deadlines.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2005
Learning Resource Types
Image Gallery
Written Assignments