1st Edition

Innovating the Design Process: A Theatre Design Journey

By David E. Smith Copyright 2022
    164 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    164 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    Innovating the Design Process: A Theatre Design Journey explores the process of designing for theatre and details how each part of a designer’s own process, no matter what their design specialization, can be innovated and adapted for a more confident journey and for better outcomes.

    The book observes and deconstructs the processes used by theatre designers, uncovers and explains the structure and concepts behind those processes and shows how they can be easily reassembled for better results and to meet different situations. It uses innovative real-world practical examples from all the fields of theatre design taken from shows throughout the author’s career. The processes covered in this book are split into two sections – design development and design implementation – with an additional chapter covering design presentations. Written in an engaging and informative style, this text opens up a designer’s ability to innovate within the design process to optimize reproducibility, resilience, personal fit, confidence, collaboration and audience engagement.

    Innovating the Design Process is a next level book for both MFA theatre design students and early career professionals who wish to develop their craft further. Seasoned professionals will also find within its pages concepts to reinvigorate their own design process.

    The book includes access to an online guide to using Microsoft Word for Mac to mirror content in two separate documents.

    1. Introduction: Innovation and Creativity  2. Prototyping as Design Process  3. Words as pre-prototype  4. Script as Machine  5. Symbols, Narrative and Vocabulary  6. Granularization  7. Purpose, Meaning, Reason and Research  8. Word-based Prototype Template  9. Simplicity, Syncing Up and Annealing  10. On-Ramp, Quest and Warmup  11. Meet and Greet  12. Designer Run  13. Next Morning  14. Fade Ins and Outs  15. Designer as Chef  16. Content, Distribution, Environment  17. Quiet Time  18. Tech  19. Observing Theatrical vs Dramatic  20. Ending Safely


    Professor David E. Smith is a sound designer, composer, inventor, educator and author. He spent eight years with the Royal National Theatre in London, England where he engineered and designed the sound for many shows. More recently David has composed and/or designed the sound at Triad Stage in Greensboro NC, Arena Stage in Washington DC (Helen Hayes award nomination), North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly Massachusetts, Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence RI, The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta GA, Twin City Stage in Winston-Salem NC, Paper Lantern Theatre Company in Winston-Salem NC and Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville NC. David is the founding director of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts BFA and MFA theatre sound design programs, where he built a unique pedagogy for training young professionals and has published papers on the intersection of audience engagement and design.