The technical aspect of theatrical, film, and video production is known as stagecraft. It entails building and rigging scenery, hanging and focusing lighting, designing and procuring costumes, make-up, stage management, audio engineering, and props procedures.
Stagecraft is distinct from the broader term scenography. It is primarily the practical implementation of a scenic designer’s artistic vision and is considered a technical rather than an artistic field.
Stagecraft can be performed in its most basic form by a single person (often the stage manager of a smaller production) who arranges all scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound, as well as organizing the cast. Regional and larger community theaters will typically have a technical director and a team of designers, each of whom has a direct hand in the design of their respective productions.
Within much larger productions, such as a modern Broadway show, successfully bringing a show to opening night necessitates the work of skilled carpenters, painters, electricians, stagehands, stitchers, wigmakers, and the like. Modern stagecraft is highly technical and specialized, with numerous sub-disciplines and a wealth of history and tradition to draw from.
Stagecraft is made up of many disciplines, which are typically divided into a few main disciplines:
Lighting design is the process of determining the angle, size, intensity, shape, and color of light for a given scene, as well as hanging, focusing, purchasing, and maintaining lighting and special effects equipment, and show control aspects.
Make-up/Wigs: The use of makeup and wigs to enhance an actor’s features.
Mechanics: The design, engineering, and operation of flown scenery or the flying of performers, as well as mechanized scenic elements and special effects.
Production: Stage management, production management, show control, house management, and company management are all part of production.
Scenery: Set design, set construction, scenic painting, theater drapes and stage curtains, and special effects are all examples of scenery.
Sound Design: Musical underscoring, vocal and instrument mixing, and theatrical sound effects are all examples of sound design. The sound designer is also in charge of system design and construction.
Theatrical Property: Also known as props, includes furnishings, set dressings, and all items large and small that are not scenery, electrics, or wardrobe. There may be some overlap. Props handled by actors are referred to as hand props, while props kept in an actor’s costume are referred to as personal props.
Wardrobe: Costume design, construction, procurement, and upkeep are all part of the wardrobe process.
Video (or Projection): This is a relatively new field of stagecraft that is gaining popularity. It can be a discipline in and of itself, or it can be taken on by the Lighting or Scenery disciplines.
Stage Automation: the use and control of moving electronics that can move set pieces, set dressings, and the stage floor, among other things. Rigging is a type of stage automation in which a motor is used to control lines or objects.
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