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Design

In this section, you’ll find content that relates to theatrical design—including lighting, sound, projections, costumes, properties, set, makeup and hair, intimacy design, and stage combat. There is a huge range of topics covered here, but a great place to start is the series Design (in a Time of Reckoning), which uplifts the work of the design community and asks, What would it mean to have a culture of justice in theatrical design?

The Latest

It's Not Easy Being Green
Essay
It's Not Easy Being Green
by John J King
14 September 2021
Seeding Change
Essay
Seeding Change
by Porsche McGovern, Katherine Freer
30 August 2021
Design Meeting (ASL and Live Captions)
Video
Design Meeting (ASL and Live Captions)
With Alexis Chaney, Margaret Toomey, Jesse Portillo, Porsche McGovern, and Katherine Freer
Friday 3 September 2021
United States
A floating jellyfish-like figure made out of a large sheet and plastic bags. The lighting is pink with the word mixtape on the sheet.
It's Not Easy Being Green
Essay

It's Not Easy Being Green

14 September 2021

Playwright John J King shares his experience with and advice for centering sustainability in theatre productions.

Bright text above a dark teal hand drawn image of many pairs of hands placed around a table with papers of various sizes ready to be populated with designs for the future.
Design Meeting (ASL and Live Captions)
Video

Design Meeting (ASL and Live Captions)

With Alexis Chaney, Margaret Toomey, Jesse Portillo, Porsche McGovern, and Katherine Freer

Friday 3 September 2021
United States

Five designer facilitators came together to share strategies about how to turn analysis into action through embodied practice. Livestreaming on the commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv Friday 3 September 2021 at 5 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 7 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 8 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

A black and white image of a flower and a raised fist drawn on a portion of a wooden door with a hinge.
The Price of Pay Activism
Essay

The Price of Pay Activism

2 September 2021

Genevieve Beller and Elsa Hiltner discuss exploitation and abuse in the theatre field, pay equity, how there should always be space for people to learn and move forward in a better way, and more.

Clint and Lindsay wearing semi-formal attire and smiling in front of a background with "Playwrights" all over it.
The Design of Change
Essay

The Design of Change

31 August 2021

Lindsay Jones and Clint Ramos discuss the intersection of art and activism, as well as the paths they take to create meaningful change for the next generation of theatremakers.

Yellow flowers, purple flowers, dark green leaves, and insects surrounding the words "Seeding Change" against a light green background.
Seeding Change
Essay

Seeding Change

30 August 2021

Katherine Freer and Porsche McGovern kick off the second installment of their Design (in a Time of Reckoning) series, which had its first week back in February 2021.

A grey-colored person looking off to the left with colorful flowers bursting from their head.
The Realm of the Senses: Theatrical World-Building for Social Activation
Essay

The Realm of the Senses: Theatrical World-Building for Social Activation

26 August 2021

In this entry of Devising Our Future, Aly Perry asks, “How might we position and design theatre as an essential space for healing, pleasure, and connection through an intertwining and interdependent realm of the senses?

event poster with headshot of dora arreola.
Master Class with Dora Arreola: Developing a Concept
Video

Master Class with Dora Arreola: Developing a Concept

With the National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation

Saturday 15 May 2021
United States

Pangea World Theater and Art2Action presented a Master Class with Dora Arreola livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Saturday 15 May 2021 at 12 p.m. PST (San Francisco, UTC -8) / 2 p.m. CST (Chicago, UTC -6) / 3 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5).

Image of two puppeteers on stage using puppets in front of a digital created forest backdrop.
Spaces of Puppetry in Lübeck
Essay

Spaces of Puppetry in Lübeck

7 April 2021

Antonia Napp, Sonja Riehn, Silke Technau, and Stephan Schlafke share learnings about running KOLK 17, a cultural institution in Lübeck, Germany that combines a puppetry theatre company and puppetry museum, and where the goal is to redefine exhibiting the art form.

a purple background with the text "DESIGN meeting" and the event participants names listed.
DESIGN Meeting
Video

DESIGN Meeting

Structured as a departmental check in, designers will report out on the state of our community and the field as whole

Friday 28 February 2021
United States

Presenting DESIGN Meeting livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 26 February 2021 at 1:30 p.m. PST (San Francisco, UTC -8) / 3:30 p.m. CST (Chicago, UTC- 6) / 4:30 p.m. EST (New York, UTC -5).

The backstage area of a theatre, with a red curtain on a raised platform. There are random props and items strewn about. A woman in a 1940s outfit is standing at stage left. Down on the lower level is a ghost light. The entire stage is covered in textured, selective lighting.
Illuminating the Careers of Disabled Lighting Designers
Essay

Illuminating the Careers of Disabled Lighting Designers

25 February 2021

Lighting designers Annie Wiegand and Michael Maag discuss how being part of the Deaf and disability community intersects with their design work.

an actor onstage
Three Costume Designers Meet for Tea on the Edge of a Cliff
Essay

Three Costume Designers Meet for Tea on the Edge of a Cliff

24 February 2021

Lux Haac, Dominique Fawn Hill, and Deb Sivigny, three costume designers from around the United States, get together to talk about how they bring their values and identities into their individual practices, the importance of not tying their creativity to work, and more.

overlapping collage of plays featuring kate mcgee's lighting designs
Industry or Community
Essay

Industry or Community

What Are We Going Back To?

23 February 2021

Masha Tsimring talks about pay equity in the design world, the upsides and downsides of freelancing, how COVID-19 has affected designers, and more.

An illustration of protest signs with slogans reading Black Trans Lives Matter
Design with an Equity Lens
Essay

Design with an Equity Lens

Cultivating a Theatre Ecosystem That Can Hold Us All in Our Full Humanity

22 February 2021

Kate Freer and Porsche McGovern begin their series, Design (in a Time of Reckoning), with an opening essay about how theatremakers are currently being presented with a chance to reimagine the way the art form is made and how designers are an essential part of the solution.

a colorful illustration
The Technological Theatre Experimenters
Essay

The Technological Theatre Experimenters

18 February 2021

In envisioning of the future, Jared Mezzocchi begins by questioning: “What if theatre’s identity is not lost in the digital, but instead is enhanced in it?”

text LEVEL UP
Level Up: The Dramaturgy of Digital Performance and Design
Video

Level Up: The Dramaturgy of Digital Performance and Design

Engaging in meaningful conversations on digital tools in live performance

Monday 18 January - Saturday 13 February 2021
Canada

Associated Designers of Canada and ToasterLab presented the symposium Level Up: The Dramaturgy of Digital Performance and Design livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv from Monday 18 January to Saturday 13 February 2021.

an actor onstage
Alternate World Design During the Pandemic and Beyond
Essay

Alternate World Design During the Pandemic and Beyond

11 February 2021

Heidi Coleman and Patrick Jagoda discuss alternate reality games (ARG) as a means of motivating audiences to take action, what goes into creating ARGs, game-based improvisation, and more.

Who Designs in LORT Theatres by Pronoun: Positions and People
Who Designs and Directs in LORT Theatres by Pronoun: 2020
Essay

Who Designs and Directs in LORT Theatres by Pronoun: 2020

22 December 2020

Porsche McGovern shares the results of the sixth year of her study on who designs and directs in LORT theatres by pronoun.

a laptop open to a presentation and written notes/sketches in front of it
Revolutionary Costume Pedagogy
Essay

Revolutionary Costume Pedagogy

2 September 2020

Michelle Souza looks at how costume designers and educators can dismantle the status quo of Western-focused, chronological teaching of historical garments and move toward a pedagogy that acknowledges and honors diversity, intersectionality, and globalism.

a clown nose on a laptop
Theatre, Clown, and Physical Comedy… Online?
Essay

Theatre, Clown, and Physical Comedy… Online?

17 August 2020

Charlie Peters, who has spent the early days of the pandemic thinking about and experimenting with how physical comedy can (and can’t) live online, shares what he’s learned.

a group watching a presentation
Inequity by Design
Essay

Inequity by Design

13 July 2020

Elsa Hiltner discusses equity issues for designers in the theatre industry and offers tips for how artists can work together to change the system.

The Edwin Booth Award: Mimi Lien
Video

The Edwin Booth Award: Mimi Lien

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, the traditional in-person event is replaced by an enduring online tribute

Friday 29 May 2020
New York City, USA

The GC CUNY Doctoral Theatre Students' Association in collaboration with The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center and GC Public Programs presented The Edwin Booth Award: Mimi Lien livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 29 May at 4:30 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles, UTC-7) / 6:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 7:30 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).

three people writing on a large circular paper hanging on a wall
Visual Storytelling in Socially Engaged Performance
Essay

Visual Storytelling in Socially Engaged Performance

26 February 2020

Irina Kruzhilina discusses the importance of visuals as a means of expression in politically and socially engaged theatre.

Who Designs in LORT Theatres by Pronoun: Positions & People
Who Designs and Directs in LORT Theatres by Pronoun: 2019
Essay

Who Designs and Directs in LORT Theatres by Pronoun: 2019

16 December 2019
four actors onstage surrounding by an audience standing
Drag, Disco, and the Donkey
Essay

Drag, Disco, and the Donkey

Performed Masculinities in American Repertory Theater’s The Donkey Show

23 October 2019

James Montaño discusses The Donkey Show, cross-gendered performances vs. drag, camp as an aesthetic concept, and more.

actors onstage
Don’t Wish, Do It Yourself
Essay

Don’t Wish, Do It Yourself

Women Finding Their Power in Cendrillon

17 October 2019

Shari Caplan discusses Opera del West’s recent production of Cendrillon at the Boston Center for the Arts.