1st Edition

Unmasking Theatre Design: A Designer's Guide to Finding Inspiration and Cultivating Creativity

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ISBN 9780415738415
Published December 15, 2014 by Routledge
320 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

Every great design has its beginnings in a great idea, whether your medium of choice is scenery, costume, lighting, sound, or projections. Unmasking Theatre Design shows you how to cultivate creative thinking skills through every step of theatre design - from the first play reading to the finished design presentation. This book reveals how creative designers think in order to create unique and appropriate works for individual productions, and will teach you how to comprehend the nature of the design task at hand, gather inspiration, generate potential ideas for a new design, and develop a finished look through renderings and models. The exercises presented in this book demystify the design process by providing you with specific actions that will help you get on track toward fully-formed designs. Revealing the inner workings of the design process, both theoretically and practically, Unmasking Theatre Design will jumpstart the creative processes of designers at all levels, from student to professionals, as you construct new production designs.

Table of Contents


Part One: Theatre and Design

Chapter 1: The Nature of Theatre

Chapter 2: The Designer’s Goal

Chapter 3: Two Key Elements of Any Design

Chapter 4: The Designer's Expressive Tools

Part Two: Deconstructing the Creative Process

Chapter 5: Thinking About Thinking

Chapter 6: Idea Generation

Chapter 7: Defining the Creative Process

Part Three: Putting Theory into Practice

Chapter 8: Creative Process/Design Process

Chapter 9: Fallacies about the Design Process

Chapter 10: Essential Activities for the Designer

Part Four: Unpacking the Design Process

Chapter 11: Comprehend the Nature of the Design Problem

A. Play Reading

B. Embrace the Production Limitations

Chapter 12: Gather Inspiration

A. Play Analysis

B. Visual Research

Chapter 13: Invent Solutions

A. [Good] Design Ideas

B. [Good] Design Expressions

Chapter 14: Develop the Work

Chapter 15: Present the [Best] Solution

Chapter 16: When You Get Stuck

Chapter 17: Dracula, a Case Study of a Complete Design Process

Part Five: Putting it All Together

Chapter 18: Collaboration

Chapter 19: Personal Factors

Chapter 20: Designers of Dreams

Appendix: Supplemental Exercises and Information

A. More Play Reading Exercises

B. More Play Analysis Exercises

C. More Design Expression Exercises

D. More Development Exercises

E. More Presenting the [Best] Solution Exercises

F. More Courage, Commitment and Focus Exercises

G. More Introvert/Extrovert Exercises

H. Design Conferences Unpacked

Suggested Reading

Software Resources

End Notes

Production Credits

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Lynne Porter is Resident Designer and Director of the Theatre Program at Fairfield University, where she has been teaching, administrating, and making theatre since 1995.She is also the Academic Director of Creative Life Residential College, a sophomore experience focused on inspiring the creative impulse. She regularly designs for the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, where she is an Affiliated Artist of the Ensemble. She also designs with the Guerrilla Shakespeare Project in New York and various theatres from Maine to Georgia. Lynne is an associate member of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America and a member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, as well as the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. She holds an MFA in scenic design from Indiana University.


"I have read other design books and, while they are valuable, [Unmasking Theatre Design] is the first that I read from start to finish. The language and topics flowed wonderfully and I was fully engaged in what I was reading. I feel very strongly that [this] book is an asset to me as a designer and a resource that I will suggest to other designers in the future." - M.K. Hughes, Southern Illinois University

"Your book completely changed my perspective and approach to design, and I think this is going to do wonders for the way that I teach, and the way my students learn." - Julia Fisher, Theatre Teacher at Saint Martin de Porres High School