The Basics of Stage Design

The Basics of Stage Design

Over the many centuries of theater, all over the world stage designers have created their amazing art for plays, musicals, operas, and worship productions.  From a simple painted backdrop to sophisticated LED projection screens that can project almost any image imaginable.  The stage designer has always been an indispensable member of the production team.  So how does a stage designer achieve providing power to the performers?  We will go over some basic principles and functions that all stage designers follow.  

Tell The Story 

The main function of stage design is to support the story of the performance.  Stage designers must create sets, costumes, sounds, and lighting to serve the purpose of the performance.  However, there is more to the art than just recreating reality.  Usually there is a deeper meaning within the story that connects with the designer and the audience.  It is the designers focus to find the view and express it correctly through the art design.  This is where art departs from realism and the design becomes more powerful.    

An example of this would be a designer finding a visual metaphor and incorporating that in the stage design.  If the performance highlights frustration or restriction the designer may incorporate a brick wall to block the performer from reaching their goals.  This type of design can evoke a strong emotional reaction from the audience.  

Another example, would be costume designers, that create clothes that the performer would wear according to their situation.  This helps illuminate and describe the character to the audience.

Create The Mood 

The mood of a production can change throughout the performance.  It is the stage designers job to help support this mood.  The best way to portray this is through lighting.  However, the set designer must create a set that takes and reflects light so that the lighting designer can use it properly.  You can also incorporate moods with costumes.  For example, dark colors can help evoke a somber mood and bright colors can show joy.  

Create Composition & Focus

As stage design is art, good visual composition is a necessity.  This includes how large and small items are arranged on stage.  It also takes into account the line, form, texture, and mass of all items.  Composition can help create a feeling of order or unease, stability or chaos.  In addition, composition can be changed just by how the lighting designer lights and reveals the set.  

Focus is created through stage composition and lighting.  The lighting can help intensify and darken different parts of the stage to guide the audience’s eyes around the space.  How the light hits the stage can also be impactful on the audience’s focus.  In addition costumes can create composition through the combination of color, lines, texture, and value.  Combined, all the designers can create composition for each moment of the performance.  

Reveal The Space

The stage designer can dramatically change the audience’s perception of the space.  Reality states that the theater itself is usually located in a large black box called a theater.  Through the art of stage design, the audience can be made to believe that the space has magically changed.  All this occurs through the designer’s imagination and is communicated through craft to simulate the audience’s imagination.

As in mood, the space can be changed from moment to moment through creative and imaginative stage lighting.  With good production team work this is planned out so that these changes can occur.  That allows the performance to tell a story to the audience.  

A quality stage design enhances your event in a number of ways.  It is a great tool that can set the tone for your event.  No matter if you are utilizing your design to empower a speaker, enhance content, or even engage your audience, each detail compounds in the final product that it produces.  Having a team full of experienced professionals to assist you check all the boxes when putting together your next event can help you leave a lasting impression on your guests.  


Contact Art of The Event

If you are looking to set up or create an event contact Art of The Event today!  We have been working with clients to create unique stage designs since 2003!  You can get in direct contact with us by calling us at 781-670-9292 or by filling out a contact form on our website.  We look forward to working with you.  

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