This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.


Design and Production

The highly skilled creative people working in design and production plan, construct and organize all the physical details of the play's environment.

All the scenery and furniture and some of the props used in the production are the results of the set designer's vision.

The garments and accessories the actors wear represent the work of the costume designer.

The actors are made visible and the onstage atmosphere is enhanced by the lighting designer.

The background music for the show is created by the composer and the sound designer provides the sound effects.

The stage manager ensures that the whole show runs smoothly.

The design team relies on the production team to translate its vision into reality. The production manager and technical director coordinate the creation of the sets, costumes, lighting and sound/music, making sure all the technical aspects of a production take shape according to schedule and budget while respecting the integrity of the work. Each technical area of a production also requires the skills of a host of trained theatre personnel.

Sets and Props

  • The head carpenter supervises set construction.
  • Carpenters build and/or install the sets.
  • Scenic painters paint the set.
  • The stage crew moves the various elements of the set on and off stage during scene changes.
  • The propmaster oversees the construction and organization of the properties used in the show.
  • Props artisans construct the properties required for the show.
  • The props crew keeps track of the props during the performance and run of the show.

Costumes, Wigs and Makeup

  • The head of wardrobe oversees the costuming process.
  • Cutters devise patterns and cut the material for costumes.
  • The cutter's assistant, known as the first hand, supervises the stitchers.
  • Stitchers sew the costumes.
  • Dyers work with dyes, paints and other products to colour materials to be used in costumes or props.
  • Milliners make hats and other items to be worn on the head.
  • Dressers assist the actors with costume changes during performance.
  • The head of makeup oversees the application of makeup.
  • The wigmaster makes wigs and other hairpieces and help the actors with these during performances.
  • Newly made costumes must often look worn, old or even battered to suit the characters they are made for. This means that once created, costumes have to go through a process of breakdown to achieve the desired look.
  • The term "costume breakdown" is also used to describe the process of reading a script to see how many costumes the play will need. The breakdown ends up looking like a grid divided into scenes and costumes changes.

Lighting and Sound

  • The head electrician ensures the safe installation and use of all lighting equipment.
  • The head of sound supervises the installation of the various elements of the sound system.
  • Technicians install the equipment.
  • Board operators run the control boards and other equipment that operate the lighting and sound equipment during a performance.

Types of Stages

The shape of the stage on which the play will be produced influences the planning and execution of all the visual elements of a production, including the blocking of the actors.


  • the acting area is contained at one end of a box-like space
  • the performance is viewed from one basic direction



Proscenium or "picture-frame stage"

  • similar to an endstage, with a proscenium framing the stage and dividing the audience from the performers
  • stage image: Architectural Design by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated Digital Model by Cicada Design.

Thrust Stage

Thrust stage

  • the acting area extends into the audience area
  • the performance may be viewed from more than one direction
  • stage image: Architectural Design by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated Digital Model by Cicada Design.

Arena stages

  • the acting area is completely surrounded by the audience area
  • the performance may be viewed from several different directions

Configurable theatre

  • Configurable theatre spaces, like the Studio at the National Arts Centre, can be adapted to create any of the types of stages listed above.