Advantages and Disadvantages: Stage Configurations

Theatre in the Round


  • Audience is able to look at the production from multiple perspectives, depending on where they’re sitting


  • At some point, actors backs may face towards the audience
  • Scenery has to be built for a 360 angle, audience may be blocked by the props
  • Sound projection is harder to all angles of the audience



  • Larger audience
  • Audience gains a good view as actors are only performing to one side
  • Scenery only has to be one sided


  • Disconnected audience as they are sat farther away
  • Actors inability to use the vast space



  • Audience is able to look at the production from multiple perspectives, depending on where they’re sitting
  • Less distracting background/scenery
  • Audience feels more connected to the production


  • Audience will see actors back if actors face one side
  • Scenery will have to designed for both sides
  • Complicated blocking issues
  • Backstage area, no wings for the actors to come out of



  • More realistic feeling, more connected to the audience


  • Angles/perspective of where the audience is sat to the actors on stage
  • Scenery has to be angled in a certain direction
  • Safety hazard for the actors, potential of falling off

Black Box


  • Easier to project and perform
  • Easier to connect to audience


  • Less space
  • Small audience, crowded
  • No backstage area, no wings

Site Specific


  • Realistic
  • More open space
  • Total creativity


  • If it’s outside, no control over the weather
  • No control over background noises and lighting
  • Harder to project and perform in an open space
  • Not designed to be a performance space

Scenery and Scenic Construction


Even though I had previously taken wood work courses and have dealt with large power tools before, I used to think that they were quite intimidating and never was really that open minded, and hesitated in using them. Though, once we began our project, I found that these power tools actually came in handy and allowed us to cut and handle wood quickly and efficiently. I became more comfortable handling things like these, and now I find using saws and tools such as drills fun. Although, at times our group would make measurement mistakes, or our cuts were never perfect so some parts were always a bit off. And though it’d be great if this didn’t happen, the mistakes we made gave us an opportunity to learn from them, and problem solve so that we could fix these issues and make them unnoticeable.

YOU as an artist and a theatre maker

I used to think that all forms of art needed to have perfect fine details and look amazing, just like the way I had imagined it in my head. However, after going through the process of constructing and painting the fireplace/boats, now I think that perfection isn’t necessary. Although it will always be an aspect that everyone strives to achieve, now I think and am aware that the audience is sat so far away from the pieces, or distracted by something else ,that they won’t be paying attention or directly focusing on the piece, so being perfect isn’t so significant. Additionally, before creating these pieces of scenery, I never really considered myself an ‘artist’ of any kind, as I didn’t typically create the usual mediums of art like canvas painting and sketching. But after we completed the two pieces, I was able to learn more artistic techniques and crafting techniques and I came to realize that art can be found anywhere, and anything can be deemed as art, it’s just different and comes in a different form!

Theatre and Theatre Production

Before we began creating our pieces, I had never realized the amount of work that went behind creating each set/background. Whilst going through the cutting of wood, the actual constructing, and finalizing the product by painting and other details, it occurred to me that there were so many components of making one piece and that the audience never gets to see this backstage process. I felt as if this was an eye opener for me, as backstage workers are never given enough credit for what they do since the scenery always plays a huge part in a production; creating the atmosphere of a show, expressing the specific setting/time period, and so much more. In the future when I watch a production, I’ll just be wondering and admiring all the effort that was put into creating all the scenery and the time dedicated towards producing it. Moreover, creating these pieces allowed me to soak in the importance of collaborating well with peers. This is because we were all working on the same thing, however at times, we would have different thoughts or strategies to get something done. Therefore, we had to communicate and come up with a combined idea of how to tackle a certain task. And 4 brains are always better than 1!

Backstage Roles

Lighting Designer:

  • Manipulate stage lighting to define the way the audience services the stage/actors
  • Responsible for the design, operation, and installation
  • Decide what gets lit/not lit on stage
  • Usually work with directors, stage designers, and costume designers (freelance)
  • Salary ranges from $42,00-85,000, depends on how good you are and how much work you take on

Scenic Designer:

  • Scenic designers focus on line, colors, textures, form, movement, and shape
  • Ensure visual concept for production and stage environment/atmosphere
  • Sketch their ideas scene by scene, produce scale models for builders
  • Read scripts and discuss ideas with the director- to make sure they get the intended outcome
  • They research the background of the play/production to make their designs accurate and relevant
  • Salary ranges around $51,000

Sound Designer:

  • Create soundtracks for a variety of needs
  • Responsible for creating and obtaining soundtracks for the play/production
  • Make decisions for what the audience will hear, when it is played, and where the sound comes from
  • Establishes the sense of place or time to help create a mood or atmosphere for the play/production
  • Critics come to review your show, harshly judged- work becomes their resume
  • Salary ranges around $5,219 in a month

Prop Designer:

  • Make, store, and transports all the props on stage
  • Includes three types of props- set props, hand props, and decorative props
  • They sketch, buy, and make the props for productions, usually following a budget restraint
  • Allow the props to work well with the play/production and actors, and make changes if needed
  • Salary on average is $63,988


Completed marble stage flat

  • Measuring and building the flat
  • Priming the flat base with grey paint
  • Painting the flat with background colors (scumbling)
  • Spattering the paint onto the flat to give it more texture/dimension (spattering)
  • The veining on top of the colors, and creating a general direction/sense of flow (veining with feathers)
  • Spattering more paint over the veining

I think that Tracy and I did well on the scumbling aspect of this, as I really liked how the background colors mixed together and the “feeling” and texture it provides to our marble flat. Also, I really like how we only used feathers to do the veining as it gave the marble an “expensive” feel to it because the veins were thinner and more detailed. However, this is also an aspect I would maybe improve more on in the future, because even though it was quite detailed and gave off an “expensive” look; when we were standing back and looking at all our flats, I noticed that our veining wasn’t as noticeable and kind of started to blend in with the background colors. Therefore, in the future, I would most likely make my veining a bit thicker or denser so that it is more visible from afar point of view, and is clear to the audience.

Theatre Tour

This is a picture from when we walked up to the “catwalk”, I found this part of the theatre to be very interesting and it was one of my favorite places we visited because there were a lot of different aisles you could go down. From here, it also felt as if you were safe and protected cause of the mesh wiring that surrounds you. Additionally, I loved getting to tour this area of the theatre as I never knew there were lights that came down from here. The lights are stationed and angled so far away from the stage, yet they are still so bright.

The second picture is the “spotlight” room that is accessible from the sides of the catwalk. This is was my favorite spot to visit as we got to try and control/move the spotlight around. I found it fascinating that the spotlight was hand-controlled because I had always thought it was programmed and automatic. Controlling it by hand makes it so much harder because the spotlight is so heavy, and you have to move it around smoothly while still predicting/remembering where the actors on stage will go.

Lastly, I chose this picture from when we visited the dimmer room because it is definitely something I’ll remember. I never knew this type of thing existed to help conserve energy and control how strong/bright the lights are and I think it’s really cool how this exists. Also, when we visited the ES theatre, I found it interesting that since technology has advanced, the LED type of lights don’t need these dimmers.

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