9:30-11:00 Tuesday and Thursday

Instructor: Heath Hansum

Office: Coleman Hall 135 577-3492

e-mail: hhansum@bucknell.edu

Office Hours: M-W-F 11-12


Course Purpose:

1. To create or improve students’ awareness and respect for the technology and design involved in stage productions. The course will familiarize students with design procedures for various areas in live theatre, music concerts and dance production.

    1. To aquaint the students with particular equipment and procedures used in live theatre, dance,

performance art, industrial presentation, and staged music concerts.

3. To improve the students’ ability to conceptualize technical design ideas and communicate them to the production team clearly using verbal and visual means.

Course Objective

This course is intended to instill the confidence and basic knowledge necessary to function in many different environments including, but not limited to, the facilities in Coleman and Tustin theatres. The course is intended to create a pool of capable students interested in designing, and providing technical support for stage productions.

Expected Results of the Course

Upon completion of the course the student should be able to:

-Understand the function of a production team, design and production meetings,
technical analysis, rehearsals.

-Understand basic electrical theory

-Safely use tools and materials to build and rig stage scenery

-Operate sound playback and recording equipment.

-Set up portable and lighting systems

-Identify all major areas and equipment in the physical theatre space.

-Develop computer skills relevant to entertainment tech

-Safely and efficiently rig from a lighting plot

-Effectively utilize verbal and visual means to illustrate design ideas.

-Identify most types of lighting instruments, electrical cable, connectors and lamps

-Build special effects devices

-Understand multiple control protocols used in theatre and entertaiment


Methods of Instruction

1. Classroom discussion / lecture followed by hands-on demonstration / usage of current subject matter.


Theatrical Design and Production 3rd ed. J. Michael Gillette

Backstage Handbook 2nd ed. Paul Carter

Assignments / Grading

1. Several brief quizzes on recent topics discussed in class.

2. Several projects demonstrating design approaches concepts and an understanding of the procedures, methods and equipment presented in class.

3. The grading breaks down as follows:

Quizzes 40% Projects – 40% Final Project 20%

4. Three (3) unexcused absences will result in a lower grade by one letter.

Six (6) unexcused absences will result in a lower grade by an additional letter.

Nine (9) Forget it. Stay home.

Course Meetings

1. Twenty-seven (28) class meetings + one (1) final exam period.

2. Approximately one (1) topic covered in class per period followed by practical discussion of equipment, techniques and discussions of design aesthetics and concepts.

3. Field trips and professional visitors will augment classroom discussion whenever available and appropriate.

4. Everyone is required to attend the mainstage Theatre and Dance performances during the semester.

Course Requirements

1. There is a thirty (30) hour lab requirement in which you must work in one of the shops. (Costume, Electrics, Carpentry, Paint, Props) 15 hours must be completed by fall break. The remainder must be completed before finals.

2. Everyone should work on the mainstage production light rigs and strikes. (They count as lab hours.) They are scheduled as follows.

Light Rigs

Saturday September 9 Tustin Black Box

Saturday October 14 Harvey Powers Theatre

Sunday November 12 Harvey Powers Theatre

Strikes will occur on the following dates:

Monday October 30 Harvey Powers Theatre

Saturday November 11 Harvey Powers Theatre

Saturday December 9 Harvey Powers Theatre

Recommended Tools / Reading


Adjustable wrench on lanyard

Mini Mag flashlight

Multipurpose tool (Leatherman or Gerber tool)


Lighting Dimensions - lighting magazine

Theatre Crafts International (TCI) - entertainment design and tech magazine

Mix magazine – sound engineering

Electronic Musician - sound engineering