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the role of the MAKE-UP & HAIR designer

If you chose to serve on the  MAKE-UP / HAIR DESIGN TEAM for this semester's Advanced Acting show, you are responsible for participating in design team meetings as well as growing as a designer during the rehearsal and performance process.


If serving on the Make-up Design Team, you are ALSO responsible for independently learning about the role of a make-up designer as outlined below. 


Please be sure you use your Process Journal (to reflect on your process/journey).

part I: planning & research 

(weeks 6-7)

Task (Formative Grade):  AFTER watching the first 3 videos below (from the top of the list), create your own Make-up/Hair Needs List (by carefully reading the script).  Consider what is needed for Make-up/Hair in each scene and for each character.  Use the Spreadsheet provided by Ms. Price.  Once your Make-up/Hair List is complete, turn it in to KP for a grade.

Task:  Discuss your Make-up/Hair list with your Design team.  As a team you will use everyone's list to compile one FINAL (Google sheets) Make-up/Hair list that you will "share" with each group member as you build and revise it.  See Ms. Price for a preferred  template to use for this spreadsheet.  Your team must consider/discuss which, if any, of the hair or make-up needs on the list will require quick changes or off-stage application.  This should be noted on your spreadsheet so that you can plan for it! (Don't forget to "share" your spreadsheet with KP, also.)  

Task: Highlight, in YELLOW, on your digital Google spreadsheet all the make-up/hair needs that are Special Needs/Effects  (These are the things you will want to order supplies for and/or start practicing on eachother right away - things such as old age make-up, or facial hair, or any other effects make-up, etc.)  Talk with KP directly about anything you think you will need to order, but be sure to do your research BEFORE talking to her about specific needs.  Leave plenty of time for ordering and delivery (several weeks at the very least).

Task:  As a team, create a Deadline Calendar for all of your make-up/hair designs, including deadlines for ordering supplies.  Assign team responsibilities and make-up artists for each character/need in the show, and determine when you will rehearse any quick changes in hair or make-up as well.  Consider each other's strengths when assigning tasks, and be sure to update your Make-up/Hair spreadsheet as needs grow or change throughout the process.

part II: learning /applying 

(weeks 8-16)

  • You must complete at least one reading/video, (or video series) per week and respond in your PROCESS JOURNAL.

  • You don't need to complete in order. You can pick/choose what is most interesting and/or useful to you each week.

  • You MUST watch/read each learning activity with a star (*).  You might want to START with those.


Do these first videos before all others, please.

*Videos: Basic Stage Makeup for Beginners, Ben Nye Kit (11:23)  AND Basic Stage Makeup for Men AND Women (9:49)

Journal Title:  Basic Make-up application

  1. Describe what you overall LEARNED (that you didn't already know) while watching these videos.

  2. What supplies are needed for basic stage make-up?  (list all as you watch)

  3. What order/steps are involved in applying basic stage make-up for both men & women?

  4. List helpful tips given for applying make-up.  (Ex:  always put it down on a paper towel, etc.)

  5. (How might application of make-up be different for black box vs. main stage? - think about this, but you don't have to answer in writing.)

  6. Go through all of our make-up and supplies and determine what will be needed (to order) beyond what we already have.  Organize the make-up for our show, and begin to determine what *might* be needed for each character.  Consider that when organizing/ordering.  Then communicate with Ms. Price precisely what needs to be ordered and from where.  Provide justification for each item needed (in case she has to prioritize due to funds).  Think about how a professional may communicate these needs to a producer, and try to do it similarly.  (i.e. random info on a sticky note would not be professional or helpful.)

Do these videos next, please.

*Video: Theatrical Makeup: Contour and Highlight for the Stage (8:22) AND In-Depth Stage Makeup Tutorial | Kathryn Morgan

Journal Title:  Theatrical Make-up

  1. List new tips and tricks learned in these videos.

  2. What, from this video, was helpful in preparing for OUR show?

  3. Practice a theatrical look on a classmate (who has off-stage time to participate).  Take photos of your work when done and put that pic to your journal. Describe what you learned from the process.

*Video: American Theatre Wing - Make Up Designer (6:37) 

Journal Title:  Make-up Design (Angelina Avallone)

  1. What is the role of the make-up designer (stated right away)?

  2. What is Angelina's process? (What does she start with? Who does she meet with? Etc.)

  3. What type of research does Angelina mention and for which shows?

  4. How does the designer make sure that ALL actors get their make-up applied in time?

(Notice how often "feeling" or describing words are used to create the make-up design.  How can analyzing the characters in OUR show help to create stronger make-up/hair design?)

Video:  Working in the Theatre: Makeup (19:56)

Journal Title:  Make-up 

(Take notes on the process, roles, and skills needed effective for Make-up designers.  Document new information and/or anything that you find helpful or interesting while viewing this teaching video.)

Video: Wicked Hair & Make-up:  Wigs (4:36) 

Journal Title:  Wigs in Wicked

  1. What are the steps in the wig-making process?

*Video "Series":

Wig Prep Tutorial (6:44)

Wig Prep - Pin Curls​ (17:02)

Long Hair (4:42)

Wig Dressing (13:06)

Journal Entry:  Wigs

  1. Take notes on the process and skills needed for hair care and wigs.

  2. Which characters in OUR show may need specific hair looks?  List characters and find or draw images that represent the look you'd like to create for those characters.  Insert those pics in your Process journal.

*Video Series:   Old Age Make-up

Journal Title Old Age Make-up

Age Make-up Tutorial (8:05)

Old Age Make-up (3:39)

Journal Title: 

  1. Take notes on the process and skills needed to apply age make-up.

  2. Which characters in OUR show may need to be aged?  List characters and find or draw images that represent the look you'd like to create for those characters.  Insert those pics in your Process journal.

  3. (If you feel we need any additional supplies for this, please let KP know ASAP.)

*Video:  Theatrical Makeup : How to Make Hair Look Gray for a Costume (2:50)

Journal Title:  Grey hair

  1. Take notes on the process and skills needed for creating a realistic grey hair look on a character.

  2. Which characters in OUR show may need specific hair looks?  List characters and find or draw images that represent the look you'd like to create for those characters.  Insert those pics in your Process journal.

  3. (If you feel we need any additional supplies for this, please let KP know ASAP.)

*Video "Series":  Beards & Facial Hair 

Journal Title:  Applying Facial Hair

How to Apply Fake Facial Hair : How to Apply a Fake Full Beard  (2:50)

Using Spirit gum to glue on a lace mustache or beard (6:33)

Journal Title:  Applying Facial Hair

  1. Take notes on the process and skills needed to apply facial hair on a character.

  2. Which characters in OUR show may need the addition of facial hair?  List characters and find or draw images that represent the look you'd like to create for those characters.  Insert those pics in your Process journal.

  3. (If you feel we need any additional supplies for this, please let KP know ASAP.)


(weeks 8-16)



For the next part of the Design Process, you will be creating a Design Board to visually display your research/inspiration. This will become the springboard for your own designs.  Read about this task below.

Task (Summative Grade - IB: Thinking Creatively):  AFTER your team has discussed and created your FINAL make-up/hair list, begin looking for INSPIRATION for the look and feel you'd like to achieve with your Make-up / Hair Design. (Note:  You MUST meet with the Director and Costume team prior to this step.) 

  • The goal of this task is to research and find information and inspiring images that will assist you in acquiring, designing, or creating realistic and visually interesting hair/make-up designs for our production. 

  • Each member of the team is responsible for researching and/or looking for inspiration for at least 3 characters (there can be overlap between team members, or you can divide and conquer)

  • Be sure your research is from credible sources, and also allow yourself to be inspired by the world around you. 

  • Creativity thrives in community, so be sure to collaborate with others and your team along the way.

  • As you research, be sure to "collect" your research/inspiration in a location that you can easily access when it's time to create your team's Design Board.

  • After research, discussions, and narrowing of ideas is complete, CREATE A (GROUP) PROPS DESIGN BOARD

  • Note:  You will be graded on your individual contributions to your group's Design Board




In order to design anything, a new designer must become comfortable with failure, and leave plenty of time for it during the process.  All creative work involves multiple attempts before arriving at the best outcome.  If you "get it right" the first time, you're probably not involved in creative work, and should re-consider what you've created.  Failure is natural, accepted, and expected in this course.  However, waiting until the last minute to fail is not, so please watch your calendar closely and plan ahead!  Theatre is ALWAYS on a timeline.

Designing and creating anything that's original requires planning.  How this planning "looks" is up to you, but you need to make sure that you make your designing/planning VISIBLE.  You will do this planning in your Process Journal, and it may include sketches of your designs, photos of practice sessions on models (or the real character), and face charts.  This documentation process could also include a catalog of tutorial videos on how you learned to apply make-up (or how you learned a specific technique), interviews with experts, or documentation on mentoring you received in tool use or skill development in order to create your designs on live actors.  

Task (Formative Grade):  YOUR Process of Design & Face Charts for each Character

  • Track your process of design in your Process Journal, including any relevant research, images, sketches, pictures of prototypes, or further learning you did to create your make-up/hair design.  You must make your design process visible for this grade.  (See paragraph above.)

  • Print blank FACE charts and be sure you have created make-up designs with application directions for every character in the show.

  • If  needed, feel free to check out these face charts and use them as a resource.

Task (SUMMATIVE Grade):  YOUR Completed Make-up / Hair Design (executed for the show)

part III: dress/tech rehearsals

(weeks 15-18)


Tech/Dress Deadline (Formative Grade):   Prior to Dress/Tech rehearsals, all make-up and hair design should be complete and practiced several times on the actors.  

Note:  It is the job of the Make-up/Hair team to be sure everyone brings in their own brushes, combs, hair pins, curling irons or rollers, and any actor-supplied make-up supplies (such as mascara or lip stick).  If a cast member is unable to do so, arrangements must be made in advance to be sure all actors have what they need.  Please be sure you've communicated these needs with actors far enough in advance.  (Providing actors with pictures, and/or information on where to find the items, is most helpful.)

Video:  Behind the Scenes at Disney's Aladdin

Journal TITLE:  Calltime​ / Pre-Show Checklist

1. In professional theatre, as shown in this video, what are the (specific) tasks performed by YOUR (assigned) role prior to a show?  

2.  What are some of the things that YOU could put on YOUR Pre-Show checklist to be sure our show runs smoothly?  (Think of ALL the things necessary from the time you enter the black box until the show starts, including things like "Where do I put my personal belongings?" or "Where should this prop be pre-set?" or "What's the best place for this quick change to happen?" Etc.  Don't forget to include "sign in" on your checklist.)

Task (Formative Grade):  You will create YOUR Pre-Show Checklist with ALL tasks to consider prior to the show.  This MUST be well-thought out and completed/hung up PRIOR to the FIRST dress/tech rehearsal.  Type and print your checklist (with your name in large font at the top) and hang in a designated area backstage.  (Keep in mind that you will most likely need to add to this list from things you learn or are reminded of in dress/tech rehearsals.)

EXPLORE MORE (optional):


(This list will be added to over time.  Let KP know if you find any helpful information that could be useful to future Advanced Acting students.)

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