When an audience watches a piece of theatre, they never see what goes on behind the scenes or know the people who work to make the production look their best. But theatre is a collaboration between what happens onstage and off.
This distance learning unit will introduce students to the world of technical theatre. Through video, they will learn information on specific technical theatre roles and how they work together, types of stages, parts of a theatre and stage geography, and then apply this knowledge through synchronous exercises.
For example, students will take on the role of a producer and decide how a budget will be divided among different departments. They will practice the calls a stage manager uses. The culminating assignment has students solve a common technical theatre issue: a unique stage direction in a play.
NOTE - Please read the Troubleshooting Hyperdocs instructions in the Overview, if you are having issues. If your students have trouble accessing the videos, try VERSION 2 Hyperdoc links provided under each module.
The overview lays out the structure of the unit, including time management, procedures for distance learning, video details, and an overview of the lessons.
Students will identify areas of technical theatre and explore how the use of these crafts affects storytelling.
This lesson introduces students to the various roles in the theatre and how they make up a hierarchy. Students take on the role of one of these three important roles in a theatre production through an activity.
Students are introduced to two groups of technical theatre roles and the people in charge of those groups: the technical director and tech crews and the stage manager and running crews. Students will take on the role of a stage manager and practice the calls a stage manager would use.
Students review the three most common types of theatre stages used today: proscenium, thrust, and arena stages. Students participate in a types of stages warm-up and explore how to stage something on different types of stages.
Students learn about stage geography and parts of a theatre. They practice stage geography in a warm-up and then work on a monologue exploring stage geography.
Students work together to come up with a solution for the famous “exit, pursued by a bear” stage direction from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale through written response, drawing, and making a design element with materials found at home.
TA7.CR.1 - Organize, design, and refine theatrical work.
a. Identify and rehearse effective communication skills.
b. Compare and contrast character types and relationships by analyzing character motivations, objectives, and goals.
c. Compare the physical, emotional, vocal, and social dimensions of a character.
d. Investigate the role and responsibility of the cast and crew.
e. Identify and model ensemble skills in the rehearsal process.
f. Utilize staging and blocking choices to enhance the performance.
g. Compare, contrast, and design elements of technical theatre.
h. Utilize theatre vocabulary throughout the rehearsal process.
TA8.CR.1 - Organize, design, and refine theatrical work.
a. Differentiate the physical, emotional, vocal, and social dimensions of a variety of characters.
b. Compare the relationships and interactions between characters by analyzing character motivation (objectives, obstacles, strategy, action, stakes, outcome).
c. Incorporate dramatic elements through improvisation.
d. Connect theatre vocabulary to the application of theatre performance.
e. Identify and demonstrate both ensemble and leadership skills in the rehearsal process.
f. Evaluate the effectiveness of artistic and technical elements used in a theatre production.
g. Design and create scenery, props, costumes, lighting, and sound.
h. Assume different roles and responsibilities in the rehearsal process.
TAHSFT.PR.2 - Execute artistic and technical elements of theatre.
a. Identify and define the various collaborative roles and relationships of technical production personnel (e.g. sound, lighting, set, scenic, costume, dramaturge, makeup, marketing, business aspects) in relation to the directors and performers.
b. Identify and apply the various aspects of directing, staging, performance spaces, and rehearsal management.
c. Recognize and apply the basic elements and procedures involved in the construction of props, scenery, and platforms.
d. Formulate effective theatrical designs in order to support the text and directorial concept.
TAHSTT.CR.1 - Create technical elements of theatre (e.g. sets, props, costumes, makeup, lighting, sound).
a. Explore and utilize the elements of design and principles of composition for a theatrical context.
b. Create basic to advanced technical elements by choosing appropriate materials, tools, and techniques.
c. Analyze and/or develop choices in technical elements (e.g. sets, lights, costumes, sound) of informal and formal productions and theatrical texts as a part of the design process, considering mood, tone, and symbolism.
d. Create industry standard paperwork (e.g. budgets, cut lists, materials, cue sheets, lighting and costume plots, schedules, calendars) as it relates to completing design renderings and/or models.
e. Conceptualize and/or generate design elements for a dramatic work (e.g. scene, one act, full-length, musical).
TAHSTT.RE.1 - Respond to technical elements of theatre using appropriate supporting evidence.
a. Revise projects, plans, and/or procedures after peer criticism to improve development of technical elements.
b. Identify and analyze the characteristics of different types of performance spaces and how they can influence production decisions (e.g. proscenium stage, studio/black box, thrust stage, classroom, arena, found space).
c. Evaluate design choices of professional designers.
d. Evaluate design and technical elements in a post mortem following the completion of a theatre production.
TAHSTT.CN.1 - Connect technical elements of theatre.
a. Explore and understand the collaborations between designers and directors to develop design elements.
b. Investigate the history of theatre architecture, stage technology, and other technical elements.
c. Understand technical theatre career options and various industry unions (e.g. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Actor’s Equity, United Scenic Artists, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, League of Resident Theatres).
d. Explore connections with other disciplines associated with technical theatre (e.g. scientific principles behind technical theatrical practices, physics of electricity and sound, basic structural engineering, load ratings, working load limits).
e. Connect design themes with historical and social relevance using dramaturgical research and an understanding of historical and cultural artistic movements (e.g. expressionism, realism, Kabuki, Sanskrit Drama).
Tennessee Theatre standards (2018) standards were built using the framework of the NCAS which is built on four key domains: Creating, Performing/Presenting/Producing, Connecting, and Responding. Within each of these domains are foundations and standards to support the development of curriculum, programs, and learning.
(source: Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Academic Standards for Fine Arts, Summer 2018)
Please refer to National Core Arts Standards to determine the standard that best suits your needs.
C.1.3 - demonstrate an understanding of production roles, practices, and terminology when planning and presenting drama works (e.g., set design, costume design, lighting plot, light cue sheet, sound cue sheet, prompt book, set sketch, set model)