21M.734 | Fall 2003 | Undergraduate

Lighting Design for the Theatre


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

This class will explore the artistry of Lighting Design. Students will gain an overall technical working knowledge of the tools of the trade, and learn how, and where to apply them to a final design. However essential technical expertise is, the class will rather stress the artistic, conceptual, collaborative side of the craft. The class format will be a “hands on” approach, with a good portion of class time spent in a theatre.

The students will be asked to take advantage of theatre in the greater Boston area, and are expected to view productions outside of the MIT campus. In addition, backstage tours at various local theatres will be arranged to illustrate how theatre architecture affects lighting design choices.

In the Dance Theatre Ensemble’s winter concert, the students will be afforded an actual design opportunity, (the final project) and will, as a team, execute a fully realized production from start to finish. This project is extremely time consuming, and work spent on it will be considered lab time.

In addition, a series of smaller projects will be assigned including but not limited to:

  1. Compiling a Library of Interesting Lighting Images
  2. Creating an Emotional Storyboard to a Piece of Music
  3. Crafting a Simple Plot for 2 Haiku
  4. Observing and Collaborating with Professional Designers and Actors
  5. Reworking a Light Plot for a Variety of Different Spaces and Situations


20% Attendance
20% Attitude and approach to work
30% Class Projects
30% Dance Concert/Lab Time


A compiled lighting design booklet, and a few scripts to be purchased directly from the instructor - total cost approx. $35.

Art Supplies

Some basic drafting materials may be borrowed from the theatre department, others may need to be purchased.

Box of 10 or more colored pencils.

Sketch Pad/Journal 11" x 14" (approximate size) for written and drawing exercises.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2003
Learning Resource Types
Activity Assignments