Fundamentals of Theatrical Design

Fundamentals of Theatrical Design

by Karen Brewster and Melissa Shafer

Allworth Press, 2011

 

In a Nutshell: A thorough textbook that defines elements of design with exercises to implement them into your own productions.

 

As a dance teacher, you’ve worn multiple hats—role-switching from choreographer to lighting technician, costume maker or set designer. Next time you’re faced with unfamiliar territory, Fundamentals of Theatrical Design can give you a leg up. Written by East Tennessee State University associate professor of theater Karen Brewster and scenic lighting designer/technical director Melissa Shafer, this 284-page text (including an index and a 42-page appendix with glossary, light-design graphics charts and design guides) is primarily geared toward theater productions. But the step-by-step breakdown of the design process makes it a great resource for any director.

 

Beginning with a guide to analyzing and understanding a work in order to make valid design choices, the text then defines production elements and lays out design principles and visual composition. A chapter on collaboration is especially helpful when working with a team of professionals—how can you communicate and relay your ideas to designers in a clear and understandable fashion? Finally, the text offers the basics of lighting design (types of lights, rig layouts and color theory), costume design (figure drawing, fabric types, renting, implementation and building) and scenic design (defining space, making technical drawings, models and backdrops). And every chapter ends with four or five exercises to aid in each step of the design process.

 

Want a free copy of this resource? Visit www.dance-teacher.com and enter to win!

Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less
News
The author with Maurice Hines. Photo by Anthony R. Phillips, courtesy Hopkins

In March, prior to sheltering in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, my husband and I traveled from New York City to Miami to screen our award-winning documentary, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, at the Miami Film Festival.

Our star, Tony Award–nominated dancer and choreographer Maurice Hines joined us in Miami for the festival—stepping and repeating on the opening night red carpet, sharing anecdotes from his illustrious seven-decade career with local tap students, and holding court at a cocktail mixer with lively female fans.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Haruko Photography, courtesy ABT

Gabe Stone Shayer may be American Ballet Theatre's newest soloist, but he never dreamed he'd be dancing with the company at all. Though he grew up in Philadelphia, his sights were always set on international ventures—especially The Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

Even in his early training, he was learning from Russian educators: Alexander Boitsov at Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, and Alexei and Natalia Cherov, from the Koresh School of Dance. At age 13, he transferred to The Rock School for Dance Education, where he danced until his acceptance to The Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 14. At 16, Shayer returned to spend his summer in the States and attended ABT's summer intensive—fully intent on going back to Bolshoi to continue his training in the fall. Four weeks in, he was offered a studio-company contract. "I was so surprised," Shayer says. "Having come of age in Russia, I was very Eurocentric. Of course ABT was on my radar, I just never imagined it was for me."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.