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This Unit in Stagecraft:


Day 1:   Stage Lighting Basics

  • Asked students:  If you were to look UP in any part of a theatre (backstage and/or house), what would you see?  The next unit is focused on those things.

  • Reviewed names of curtains (main, border, legs, etc.) as well as "scrim" & "cyc", and discussed FLY LINES that are used to bring all of those things IN and OUT on a proscenium stage.

  • Reviewed names of pipes (battens, electrics) that hang in the fly loft.

  • Introduced LIGHTING basics and watched a brief video on the Role of Lighting Designers (for the Broadway show, Billy Elliot).  Watch video HERE.  Students wrote down what they learned on a Handout (click HERE or get from your Stagecraft folder).  Discussed what was interesting, surprising, or educational from the video.

  • Introduced students to a "Lighting Plot" (what it's meant to communicate, how it's used, what the symbols mean, etc.)

  • Students were given a handout with various Lighting Fixtures illustrated.  (Click HERE or get from your Stagecraft folder.)

  • Learned about gels and were given gel books to look through various gel colors.

  • Discussed creating "warm" vs. "cool" light and what "feelings" each evokes.

  • Learned about the 3 primary roles of a Lighting Designer:

1.)  Light the actor ​

2.) Show the time of day / setting

3.) Create the Mood

  • John gave a brief lighting lesson showing each type of fixture and how it functions.  (Ellipsoidal, Par Can, LED Par & LED Strip Lights, Scoops, Cyc Lights, and others)

Day 2:   Fly Lines & Electrics

  • Reviewed:  gels, names of lighting fixtures, 3 main roles of lighting designers

  • Learned about gobos and the effects they can create with lighting

  • Analyzed / Discussed:  The MOOD created by the direction and color of light used (did this by looking at various stage pictures and discussing as a class)

  • Went to the theatre:  1/2 of the class worked with KP on learning how to safely run fly lines & 1/2 the class worked with John/G on the electrics, learning how to change a gel (and other lighting fixture parts and basics)

  • Groups switched (the 1/2 that was with KP sent to John/G & the half that was with John/G went to KP)

  • Safety:  Reviewed "calls" and how to follow them working at the fly lines.

  • In-Class Assignment:  Running fly lines & changing a gel are required in-class assignments for all students.  (If you were absent today, watch the following videos:  Theatre Fly System & Lighting: Gels / Gel Frames  & Lighting:  Hang/Focus Light Fixture)

Day 3:   Lighting & the Stage

  • Reviewed:  gels, gobos, names of lighting fixtures, 3 main roles of lighting designers

  • Watched a video:  "How a Broadway Show 'Lights  the Lights'"  and completed Handout. (Students were introduced to the following new lighting terms:  master electrician, conventional lights, moving lights, shutters, "wash", deck electrician, practicals, smoke/foggers, c-clamps, data cables, main console [and backup], dimmer, & iris)

  • Went to the theatre:  1/2 went to the catwalks to look at light fixtures & complete a Handout (with a partner) & 1/2 the class went to the stage to measure it & complete a HANDOUT (with partner).   When done, groups switched (if time).  Note:  Measuring the stage will be for a future lighting design project.  (Students will create a scaled groundplan.)

  • Any student who has not yet learned how to use fly lines or change a gel must do so asap!  (Please see Ms. Price if you missed that day or did not have a turn to try. This is a required assignment.)

Day 4:   Analyzing Lighting Design / Measuring the Stage

  • Reviewed:  lighting terms

  • Watched a video:  "Sound & Light Board Operators"  and completed Handout.

  • Analyzed as a Class:  Lighting design in 3 different theatre productions (the MEANING/MOOD created with lighting)

  • Students were given their next :  To create a mini-lighting design for a story that they create.  Each group was given a genre for their story (mystery, fantasy, romantic comedy, science fiction, horror) and the lead "character" in their story (an egg)

  • Went to the theatre & finished yesterday's activity:  1/2 went to the catwalks to look at light fixtures & complete a HANDOUT (with a partner) & 1/2 the class went to the stage to measure it & complete a Handout (with partner) in order to create a groundplan for the lighting design project described today. 

Day 5:   Learning to Work in "Scale"

  • Reviewed:  In groups, you will be creating a mini-lighting design for a story.

  • Discussed: You must first create a groundplan for your design.  (Ms. Price explained what a groundplan is and how it's used in theatre design & staging)

  • Reviewed important terms for creating groundplan:  plaster line, center line, apron

  • Students were asked to take out their measurements of our OHS stage from last class' activity (Handout

  • Discussed:  In order to create a scaled drawing of the stage/set (groundplan), you must have the REAL stage measurements, and then "scale them down" to create a scaled drawing of the stage.

  • Discussed:  In order create a scaled drawing of the stage, you must first learn how to work "in scale" and a scale ruler will help you do this.

  • Ms. Price taught students how to use a scale ruler, assisting students one-on-one as needed.  For additional instructions, use your Scale Ruler Handout (which is also in your folder).  If you missed class, you can watch a youtube tutorial HERE.   You MUST prove mastery on the scale ruler for a grade, so be sure you don't miss out on learning this skill and ask for help when you need it!

  • Students were given time to practice working in scale, and to begin their groundplans (in pairs) - if time.

  • In-Class Assignment:  Scale Ruler Handout

Day 6:   Creating a Groundplan

  • Reviewed:  Working in scale (If you are AT ALL  confused, see Ms. Price.  Mastery is REQUIRED.)

  • Students were given time to work (in pairs) to finish their groundplans.

  • ASSESSMENT:  Students could take their Scale Mastery Test today, if desired (must complete before the end of the unit)

Day 7:   Creating a Furniture Plan / Lighting Design Exploration

  • Students were given time to finish (in pairs) their groundplans, and to add furniture or scenery to their groundplan if the story warranted it.

  • Students were given time to work in their groups to create a story and lighting design.  Time was given to explore with angles, direction, and color of lighting, etc.

Days 8 -9:   Finish Lighting Design / Present Lighting Design Scenes

  • Students were given time to work in their groups to FINISH their story and lighting design. 

  • ASSESSMENT:  Students shared their stories / designs with the class.  (Graded on IB Criterion C: Thinking Creatively)

Days 10-11:    From Theory to Stage

  • Watched a video:  "Special Effects Designer" and completed Handout.

  • In Class Assignment:  Students went from theory (their mini-lighting design project) to reality by learning (from John/G) how to begin the process of lighting the stage, including the following skills:

    • cutting gels and putting them in frames

    • putting gel frames in fixtures

    • focusing a fixture

    • using shutters

    • creating "pools of light" on stage

    • programming lights

    • (how to change a bulb)

Supplemental (Going Beyond) Information:

To learn more about LIGHTING for the Stage:  

Inspiring Videos:

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