Structural Design for the Stage (Paperback) book cover

Structural Design for the Stage

By Alys Holden, Ben Sammler

© 1999 – Focal Press

428 pages

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Paperback: 9780240803548
pub: 1999-02-26
Hardback: 9781138170988
pub: 2015-09-29

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About the Book

This book provides the theater technician with a foundation in structural design allowing an intuitive understanding of why sets "stand up". It introduces the basics of statics and the study of the strength of materials as they apply to typical scenery, with a minimum of theory and many examples. The material is presented such that only a basic knowledge of algebra, geometry and trigonometry is required. This useful text is also invaluable to professionals as a permanent handbook complete with carefully selected reference tables, which are applicable to most theatrical situations.

Traditionally, theatrical design and carpentry are rooted in a craft-based tradition that places a high value on empirically tested techniques; in other words, if it was done that way for a show and nothing fell down, then that's the way it will be done.


An excellent resourse to teach the physics of structures to tech theatre students. It covers the parts of structural engineering that pertaining to theatre without getting too far from the practical aplication. (Tom Davis, U of Florida)

A unique text that fills a long-standing void. (Henry Grillo, NC School of the Arts)

Table of Contents

Introduction; Forces, Stressees and Strains; Stress Analysis for Beams, Geometric Properties; Sawn Lumber Beam Designs; Wood Column Analysis and Design; Combined Loading for Wood Members; Steel Beam Design; Steel Column Analysis and Design; Combined Loading for Steel members; Trusses and Cables; Plywood Design; Appendices; Works Cited.

About the Authors

Ben Sammler is currently the Chairman of the Department of Technical Design and Production for Yale School of Drama. He is the Production Supervisor for Yale Repertory Theatre and has over seen over 150 productions. Ben Sammler is also an experienced lighting designer and technical director with over 15 years of teaching experience, as well as the co-author of Structural Design for the Stage, 1999 (Focal Press), winner of the Golden Pen Award presented by USITT in 2000.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General