Concept-Based Design is a method of design that allows the director and production team to create a unified world based on the ideas, perceptions and images extracted from an in-depth analysis of the play. Matt Webster designed this course for theatre teachers in a typical school setting with limited budgets, space and materials to use towards the design of their shows. Many theatre teachers feel most unsure about their design and tech skills and Matt wanted to help those teachers look at design differently, and make designing a show a little less scary and a little more fun!

Course Summary

Standards Addressed

10 Modules
1 hours, 38 minutes
3 Credit Hours

design production directing

Course Outline

Lesson 0: Introduction 7:36
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Lesson 1: Selecting a Play 11:33
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Lesson 2: Time, Space and Money 21:23
Lesson 3: Understanding the Concept-Driven Production 7:57
Lesson 4: Creating the Concept Design 8:50
Lesson 5: Generating a Design 3:35
Lesson 6: The 'What If?' Game 8:05
Lesson 7: Advertising & Publicity 8:51
Lesson 8: Using Existing Scenic Elements 14:14
Lesson 9: Teaching Concept-Based Design 6:24

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Standards Addressed

Common Core


National Core Arts Standards


TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Advanced

TH:Cr3.1.HSIII.c - Apply a high level of technical proficiencies to the rehearsal process to support the story and emotional impact of a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Cr3.1.HSII.c - Re-imagine and revise technical design choices during the course of a rehearsal process to enhance the story and emotional impact of a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Cr3.1.HSI.c - Refine technical design choices to support the story and emotional impact of a devised or scripted drama/ theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 8

TH:Cr3.1.8.c - Implement and refine a planned technical design using simple technology during the rehearsal process for devised or scripted drama/ theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 7

TH:Cr3.1.7.c - Consider multiple planned technical design elements during the rehearsal process for a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1: Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 6

TH:Cr3.1.6.c - Explore a planned technical design during the rehearsal process for a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Cr2.1.HSII.b - Cooperate as a creative team to make interpretive choices for a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr1.1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work - High School Accomplished

TH:Cr1.1.HSII.b - Understand and apply technology to design solutions for a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr5.1.HSI.b - Use researched technical elements to increase the impact of design for a drama/theatre production.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Pr5.1.HSII.b - Apply technical elements and research to create a design that communicates the concept of a drama/theatre production.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 8

TH:Pr5.1.8.b - Use a variety of technical elements to create a design for a rehearsal or drama/theatre production.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 7

TH:Pr5.1.7.b - Choose a variety of technical elements that can be applied to a design in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 6

TH:Pr5.1.6.b - Articulate how technical elements are integrated into a drama/ theatre work.

California VAPA Standards (2001)


California VAPA Standards (2019)


6.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

6.TH:Pr5.b - Articulate how technical theatre elements are integrated into a drama/ theatre work.

Florida Sunshine State Standards


Georgia Performance Standards 2010 - Theatre Arts


GRADE 11-12 - THEATRE MARKETING

TAHSTM.1 - Analyzing and constructing meaning from theatrical dramatic literature, and electronic media
a. Engages in script analysis and study as a means of developing a marketing plan
b. Utilizes theatre and content knowledge to contribute to the building of a balanced season
c. Creates narratives of varying length for use in marketing efforts

TAHSTM.2 - Directing by conceptualizing, organizing, and conducting rehearsals for performance
a. Identifies the responsibilities and tasks of a marketing team
b. Coordinates with directors and other organizational leaders to develop a calendar of marketing activities
c. Collaborates on the planning and execution of formal and informal marketing activities

TAHSTM.4 - Integrating various art forms, other content areas, and life experiences to create theatre
a. Examines the relationship between the marketing team other collaborators in theatrical production
b. Analyzes a variety of angles from which various press releases might be produced (e.g., production areas, cast, production history, personality/biography)
c. Creates and implements various press releases and other marketing efforts directed at reaching specific target markets

TAHSTM.7 - Critiquing various aspects of marketing for theatre and other media using appropriate supporting evidence
a. Designs, implements, and assesses a marketing plan
b. Records and analyzes trends in the local market
c. Evaluates the success of marketing efforts for individual events and the season as a whole

Grade 9-12 - TECHNICAL THEATRE II

TAHSTTII.1 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre
a. Interprets, prepares, and presents elements of technical theatre to enhance a scene
b. Creates a two-dimensional study of a three-dimensional object, using scale drawings, perspective drawings, blueprints, or computer renderings to design scenery, costumes, and properties
c. Analyzes and justifies design choices
d. Applies the principles, elements, characteristics, and functions of design to a theatrical production
e. Analyzes dramatic texts for theme/s, settings, era, style, genre, and characters to determine technical requirements
f. Applies knowledge of design principles and elements to set and property design, costumes, lighting, sound, and makeup
g. Collaborates with the director to develop concepts that convey the metaphorical nature of theatre, film/video, and electronic media productions
h. Incorporates the use of technological advances in theatre and other disciplines to create formal and informal theatre, film/video, and electronic media productions

TAHSTTII.2 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre
a. Develops designs that use visual elements to clearly convey environments suggested by the text
b. Illustrates the use of line, shape, texture, color, space, and balance to represent the environment of a plot
c. Designs original ground plans and set designs for a variety of dramatic works
d. Develops technical designs based on design concepts (e.g., musical and visual art principles) that meet the requirements of the dramatic work, film/video, and electronic media production

TAHSTTII.3 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre (Costumes and Make-up)
a. Applies construction techniques and materials for creating costumes
b. Investigates alternative strategies for obtaining costumes
c. Engages in proper safety practices in the creation of costumes and the application of make-up

TAHSTTII.4 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre (Lighting and Sound)
a. Applies established principles, elements, and techniques of lighting and sound design for a theatrical production
b. Analyzes and safely applies basic techniques of theatrical lighting and sound production such as using color gels, designing and reading a light plot and instrument schedule, and selecting or designing sound effects and background music
c. Uses available lighting sources to enhance formal and informal theatre, film/video, and electronic media productions
d. Creates appropriate sound effects, and selects music to enhance a scene or production

Grade 9-12 - TECHNICAL THEATRE I

TAHSTTI.1 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre
a. Compares and contrasts the characteristics of different types of performance spaces such as a proscenium stage, studio/black box, thrust stage, classroom, arena, or found space.
b. Analyzes ways in which the characteristics of a performance space can influence production decisions properties, lighting, sound, costuming, and makeup
d. Creates a chart of the responsibilities of technical personnel, including designers, builders, and operators
e. Demonstrates theatre safety practices as well as an ethical use of available technology and resources
f. Considers the interrelated nature of lighting, costumes, makeup, sound, properties, scenery, acting, and direction to create in a unified theatrical production
g. Researches and selects lighting, sound, scenery, properties, costumes, and makeup to help create a particular theatrical environment
h. Selects, documents, and arranges props, furniture, costumes, and sound to create the setting and environment of the plot
i. Uses standard safety and operating procedures for tools and equipment used in formal and informal theatre, film/video, and electronic media productions

TAHSTTI.2 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre (Sets and Properties)
a. Uses power tools under the operating and safety guidelines to construct theatre sets and props
b. Collaborates with other group members to design and construct a variety of functional scenic devices for a formal production
c. Describes and/or documents through words, drawings, technical elements, the setting and environment of a plot,
d. Uses available art materials, tools, and/or stock scenery to create and convey props and/or setting
e. Constructs or locates appropriate props to enhance a scene or production

TAHSTTI.3 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre (Costumes and Make-up)
a. Identifies the basic functions of costumes in theatrical production
b. Identifies the characteristics, safety considerations, application and removal techniques for different types of makeup and makeup materials
c. Demonstrates the safe and appropriate application of character makeup and simple prosthetics
d. Creates a graphic regarding historical, regional, and cultural styles of dress
f. Analyzes and safely applies basic principles and techniques of costume construction: cutting, dyeing, sewing, care, and maintenance of costumes
g. Uses available art materials, tools, and resources to convey the characters through costumes, accessories, and make-up designs for a scene or production
h. Designs and creates costume drawings and/or make-up charts

GRADE 6

TAMS6.4 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre
a. Explores the technical elements of theatre
b. Demonstrates ways in which technical elements enhance theatrical productions
c. Uses available resources to plan for and support theatre activities
d. Develops a plan to integrate the artistic and technical elements of theatre
e. Incorporates artistic and technical elements into a theatre production

TAMS6.5 - Directing by conceptualizing, organizing, and conducting rehearsals for performance
a. Examines the skills and responsibilities of the director
b. Identifies directorial tasks and creates a production timeline
c. Delegates responsibilities for production tasks
d. Demonstrates leadership skills
e. Identifies behaviors which demonstrate collaborative skills

TAMS6.6 - Researching cultural and historical information to support artistic choices
a. Applies research skills to theatre scripts, roles, and experiences
b. Examines the relevance of cultural and historical context
c. Utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to create original theatre
d. Synthesizes theatre styles and other media to create performances

TAMS6.7 - Integrating various art forms, other content areas, and life experiences to create theatre
a. Identifies similarities between theatre and other art forms
b. Draws conclusions about the relationships between theatre and life
c. Identifies theatre’s multi-disciplinary aspects
d. Utilizes a variety of sources to create original theatre
e. Demonstrates a variety of types of theatre performances

Grade 9-12 - FUNDAMENTALS OF THEATRE II

TAHSFTII.4 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre
a. Identifies and defines the various roles of production personnel (sound/lighting, set, scenic, costume, makeup, marketing, and business aspects)
b. Identifies and applies basic elements and procedures involved in the construction of props, scenery, and platforms.
c. Distinguishes between effective and ineffective artistic designs
d. Infers elements of artistic design from scripts
e. Formulates a conceptualization of artistic design from scripts
f. Hypothesizes possible audiences responses to artistic elements
g. Creates product based on conceptualization
h. Demonstrates ability to plan, create, and assemble the technical elements for a scene or short play

TAHSFTII.5 - Directing by conceptualizing, organizing, and conducting rehearsals for performance
a. Analyzes the various aspects of directing
b. Recognizes directorial choices in performance
c. Describes the need for script analysis and concept development
d. Applies the process of directorial management
e. Distinguishes between effective and ineffective directorial choices
f. Formulates directorial questions (e.g., script choice, script analysis, audition and casting, planning and organizing, rehearsal, performance, evaluation)
g. Defends choice of script
h. Assesses acting and design elements of various scripts
i. Formulates a plan for rehearsal
j. Articulates the appropriate relationship between the actor, director and other theatre personnel (e.g., designers, technicians, managers)
k. Applies concepts of directorial design to performance

TAHSFTII.6 - Researching cultural and historical information to support artistic choices
a. Defines the role of the dramaturge
b. Applies the skills of the dramaturge to various scenes
c. Interprets cultural and historical data for use in production
d. Communicates data to theatrical personnel
e. Distinguishes between important and unimportant data for use in performance
f. Evaluates artistic choices of the production team based on data.

TAHSFTII.7 - Integrating various art forms, other content areas, and life experiences to create theatre
a. Identifies the various art forms which may be integrated into theatre (e.g., dance, music, visual arts, graphic arts, and electronic media)
b. Recognizes the arts as an effort to interpret and intensify experiences
c. Examines the contributions of the other arts in the creation of a role or the production of drama
d. Synthesizes observation, imagination, and research to create characters, environments, and situations
e. Combines elements of other disciplines to create theatre arts

Grade 8

TAMS8.4 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre
a. Applies the technical elements of theatre
b. Utilizes available resources to plan for and support theatre activities
c. Designs and creates scenery, props, costumes, lighting, and sound/music for theatre
d. Develops a management plan for incorporating technical elements of theatre
e. Incorporates artistic and technical elements into a theatre production
f. Evaluates the effectiveness of artistic and technical elements used in a theatre production

TAMS8.5 - Directing by conceptualizing, organizing, and conducting rehearsals for performance
a. Assumes the role and responsibilities of the director
b. Collaborates with others to create a production timeline
c. Delegates and assigns responsibilities for completion of tasks
d. Identifies, assumes, and demonstrates leadership skills
e. Communicates concepts and ideas

TAMS8.6 - Researching cultural and historical information to support artistic choices
a. Applies advanced research skills to obtain appropriate cultural and historical information
b. Analyzes the cultural and historical context in theatre production
c. Supports artistic choices with cultural and historical information
d. Examines how culture is defined through theatre and other media

TAMS8.7 - Integrating various art forms, other content areas, and life experiences, to create theatre
a. Analyzes and explains common themes, content, and structure among theatre and other disciplines
b. Compares theatre and media presentations to human experiences
c. Incorporates multi-disciplinary aspects into theatre productions
d. Uses recurring cultural motifs and social themes as a basis for theatre presentations

GRADE 7

TAMS7.4 - Designing and executing artistic and technical elements of theatre
a. Identifies technical elements of theatre
b. Uses available resources to plan for and support theatre activities
c. Designs and creates scenery, props, costumes, lighting, and sound/music for theatre productions
d. Incorporates artistic and technical elements into a theatre production

TAMS7.5 - Directing by conceptualizing, organizing, and conducting rehearsals for performance
a. Recognizes the role and responsibilities of the director
b. Collaborates with others to create a production timeline
c. Delegates and assigns responsibilities for completion of production tasks
d. Identifies and models leadership skills
e. Communicates concepts and ideas to the production crew and cast members

TAMS7.6 - Researching cultural and historical information to support artistic choices
a. Utilizes advanced research skills to obtain appropriate cultural and historical information
b. Analyzes the cultural and historical context in theatre production
c. Supports artistic choices with cultural and historical information
d. Draws conclusions regarding cultural similarities and differences
e. Examines how a culture is defined through theatre and other media

TAMS7.7 - Integrating various art forms, other content areas, and life experiences to create theatre
a. Compares and contrasts theatre with other art forms
b. Articulates relationships between theatre and life
c. Utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to create original theatre
d. Synthesizes theatre styles and other media to create performances
e. Adapts a variety of literary forms into theatre productions

Georgia Performance Standards 2017 - Theatre Arts


Alberta, Canada


Technical Theatre/Design 10-20-30 - Management - Stage

2 - recognize and use basic technical theatre/design terminology

Ontario, Canada