Practical Technical Theatre

The Complete Solution for Technical Theatre Classrooms

The digital version of Practical Technical Theatre is acessible for free for Drama Teacher Academy Members. Visit to access or learn more about becoming a Drama Teacher Academy member.

This series of instructional DVDs is perfect for the teacher who feels more at home with a prompt book than a hammer, and would welcome a new, visually oriented teaching tool for their tech classes and production crews.

Developed by master theatre educators Bob and Marti Fowler, the series is engaging and fun for students. The lessons in this series will help turn your students into valuable theatre technicians who know what to do and how to do it.

Each DVD becomes your classroom textbook and is packaged with a CD-ROM which contains Lesson Designs that use Cooperative Learning and Multiple Intelligence Strategies, Resource Sheets, Written Assessments, Scoring Guides, Writing Prompts, and Performance Rubrics.

It is a complete curriculum for technical theatre classrooms.

Download a Set of Detailed Course Outlines

Program One

Introduction to Technical Theatre

Introduction to Technical Theatre is only available digitally. DVDs of this title are no longer available.

A great overview of theatre professionals and their responsibilities. This program is also appropriate for acting and survey classes.

  • Classifies the different roles in the theatre hierarchy from producer and director, to conductor and vocal coach, to tech director and the many and varied various technicians.
  • Takes your students on a video field trip of Proscenium, Thrust, and Arena stages in professional, state-of-the-art facilities and a stage in a school gym.
  • Tour of a professional theatre from the ticket booth to the green room, including the names of all the curtains, shops, backstage and FOH areas.
  • Visually subdivides the stage into the nine traditional acting areas, and addresses the 8 different directions scenery (and actors) can face the audience.

Hosts: Bob Fowler and Marti Fowler

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Program Two

Basic Set Construction & Theatre Safety

This program demonstrates how to become a safe and efficient stage carpenter.

  • Identifies basic safety rules that apply to any theatre, including set strike.
  • Demonstrates how to safely use common hand tools in three categories: measuring and marking, cutting and shaping, and joining tools.
  • Tours a completed interior set, then takes students back to the shop for lessons on constructing practical set pieces such as platforms, stair units and wagons. Scale drawings and computer generated graphics reinforce the construction techniques shown.
  • Demonstrates flat construction, including joining techniques such as how to use hinges and lash lines, battens and keeper hooks, and how to dutchman.
  • Explores options for dressing out a set with props.

Hosts: Bob Fowler and Marti Fowler

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Program Three

Lighting for Theatre

This hands-on primer will produce results on your stage by giving your students the skills required to light a stage evenly, establish basic moods, create some basic special effects, and troubleshoot many common problems.

  • Walks students through a step-by-step process for lighting a show, from designing and executing a basic light plot, hanging, circuiting, patching, subbing and cueing.
  • Differentiates the creative uses of various lighting instruments and control equipment.

Hosts: Bob Fowler and Marti Fowler

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Program Four

Audio for Theatre Second Edition

Bring two industry-recognized audio experts into your classroom with this program.

Audio for Theatre has been almost completely revamped! Professional audio engineer David Eisenhauer returns for the "nuts and bolts" sections of How an Audio System Works, and How to Operate an Audio System, including analog and digital audio consoles. A new section on Sound Design is hosted by Robin Weatherall, an award-winning sound designer, and a 17 year veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The Support Materials for the 2nd Edition of Audio for Theatre have been broken down into three different instructional units.

  • An in-depth, 16-Lesson unit designed for Technical Theatre Classes and technicians who will be operating audio equipment for your productions.
  • A 7-Lesson unit designed for Survey Classes. This unit includes the basics of Sound Reinforcement and Sound design.
  • A 6 to 8-Lesson unit focusing on Sound Design.

Hosts: Audio Engineer David Eisenhauer. Eisenhauer’s credits include live shows such as Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Enrique Iglesias and John Mellencamp. Sound Designer Robin Weatherall onboard. Robin has won numerous awards for his sound designs and compositions. He worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company for 17 years as a musician and has worked all over the world as a director, musician, sound designer, and composer for live theatre, opera, movies and television programs.

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Program Five

Stage Management Second Edition

With hands-on demonstrations and real world tips, this program will have your students running shows like professionals in no time!

  • A New Overview Section identifies what a stage manager does, from pre-show conferences to closing night in Limited, Touring, and Extended runs.
  • Detailed sections illustrate rehearsal skills like Taping the Stage, Making Prompt Books and Calling Scripts, Using Blocking and Cueing Shorthand, Running Production Meetings, and other tricks of the trade.
  • A New Communication Section addresses when to use Electronic Media, Individual Notes, and when to communicate Face-to-Face.
  • Focuses on Technical Rehearsals and Performances, including Pre-Show Protocol, how to actually Call a Show, and how to avoid, prepare for, and, when necessary, handle Common Problems.
  • More New Sections include: Maintaining a Show, Touring and Extended Runs, Stage Managing Musicals, and Careers in Stage Management


J. Jason Daunter is a New York based professional stage manager whose Broadway and National Touring credits include the Broadway Blockbuster Wicked, Cyrano de Bergerac, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chicago, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He is an Educational Theatre Association board member, and a driving force behind EdTA’s "Defying Gravity" initiative.

Tom Martin has worked as a Professional Director, Stage Manager, Production Manager, and Associate Producer for the last 35 years. He has worked extensively at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, LaJolla Playhouse, and is on the theatre faculty at St. Louis University.

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Program Six

Set Design

This program illustrates how to maintain top-notch production values in facilities that range from the high school "cafetorium" to state-of-the-art theatres.

  • Explores various types of common interior and exterior set design styles: Box Sets, Unit Sets, and Wing and Drop Sets, as well as combinations of those three types.
  • Demonstrates how to analyze a script to determine technical demands.
  • Offers hands-on group projects such as researching for period plays, working with the director and other designers to achieve a specific style the production concept, and considering directional compositions in the design.
  • Analyzes common aspects of set design including sightlines, furniture placement and traffic patterns, and basic scale drawing.

Hosts: Bob Fowler and Marti Fowler

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Program Seven

Lighting Design

This program is an extension of, and should be used after, Lighting For Theatre. It explores advanced concepts of lighting design by investigating the process of designing and executing a complete light plot that incorporates many special effects.

  • Demonstrates how to analyze a script with "designer’s eyes," and the collaborative process of working with the director and other designers.
  • Compares and contrasts common representational and presentational production styles.
  • Analyzes color theory, angles of light and other design considerations.
  • Explores how to design a hanging plot, how to create instrument and patching schedules, and how to cue a show on both computerized and manual lighting controllers.

Hosts: Bob Fowler and Marti Fowler

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Program Eight

Business & House Management

Enter the working world of the "business of show business" with this program. Develop a system to build patron loyalty, manage ticket sales, create budgets, and prepare for the unexpected.

  • Discover new ways to publicize your plays, fill the seats in your theatre, and make the program grow within your school environment.
  • Outlines the best strategies for managing ticket distribution, preparing and printing programs, handling facility preparation and maintenance, training your staff in performance protocol, and handling emergencies.

Script written by Lana Hagan, faculty SIU Edwardsville and EdTA Leadership Coach. Ms. Hagan has presented Business and House Management workshops at conferences across the US. The program is hosted by Bob Fowler and Marti Fowler.

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Program Nine

Careers in Theatre

This program provides video and stills showing professionals working in their specialized areas, including...

  • Performers, playwrights, composers, stagehands, dressers, designers, scenics, FOH personnel, directors, choreographers, business management personnel, TDs, production managers, crafts personnel, stitchers, drapers, casting directors, and more!
  • Different types of theatres (NY, Regional, Touring).
  • A second DVD that has interviews with working professionals to help your students discover what a typical day at work is like, what the most satisfying and challenging parts of their profession are, what kind of training their job requires, what their day to day lives are like, and which jobs demand irregular hours and travel.
  • How to get into the different theatrical unions, what the unions offer, and careers in theatre education.

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Program Ten

Costuming for Theatre

This program is written and hosted by Terry McGonigle, an EdTA Hall of Fame inductee. It is a two week unit that will help your students discover...

  • The Design Process, script and character analysis, research, the functions and elements of costume design, and costume charts and plots.
  • Figure Drawing, even for people who are convinced they cannot draw!
  • Drawing Fabrics, including patterns, print, texture.
  • Moving from two to three dimensions, and how to buy, build and rebuild costumes.
  • Turning old into new by creating period clothing from modern pieces.
  • Accessorizing to complete the look.

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