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OTHER ITA SITES:
Building Stage Theatres – How Much Work is Involved?
The amount of work involved with the building of a stage varies greatly from show to show. There are a number of factors that affect the complexity of the stage design and therefore the difficulty of the stage building process.
The first is the stage designer’s creative vision and the second is budget. However you mustn’t assume that just because a play has a huge budget it is going to have a huge and complex stage and set design. The company, set designer and/or director may be taking a minimalist approach and have just a bucket on stage, for instance.
It is also going to depend on what type of set up the theatre already has. Stage design goes beyond mere set design and may need to incorporate such things as seating arrangements and rostra for a stage area. In some cases, it can also include lighting design.
There is three different types of stage layout common in the west and these are ‘in the round’, the proscenium and the thrust. ‘In the round’ is when the audience is sat around the staging area so that actors are surrounded completely; the proscenium, the most common stage type, is when the audience faces the stage on one side only. The thrust is when the acting area is surrounded on three sides, commonly this extends from a proscenium stage and is often used in music concerts and is an area where guitarist can ‘rock out’.
Another factor is whether the show is touring, and moving from venue to venue, or staying in one place. If the show is touring then it is likely to mean that the set building and stage design is kept simple and light in order to facilitate rapid ‘get ins’ and ‘get outs’. On the other hand a large stationary theatrical piece can have a huge lavish set. Sometimes touring sets require a lot more energy over all as they are put up and taken down at each venue. Conversely, a stationary theatrical event only needs to have the stage set up once and then taken down at the end of the run.
Again the type of stage theatre supplies that you will need will vary from show to show. Stage theatre supplies can range from scaffolding, to hold up backdrops (common in touring productions), rostra (for creating stage areas), lights (if not available) and so on. Indeed stage theatre supplies can include anything from these major requirements right the way down to the trusty old roll of multi-purpose Gaffer tape, ideal for holding sets together, stick down leads for health and safety purposes, to even holding costumes on in extreme circumstances.
As you can see the amount of work required and specific stage theatre supplies varies so much from production to production that it is almost impossible to quantify. Largely it is dependant on the artistic vision of those contributing. A rather large and spectacular stage and set design can be created on a shoestring budget, whereas a production with a very minimalistic set can have a vast budget. As such the amount of work required, or not, is largely down to careful design and planning of those involved.
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