Author: Faith Cheruiyot
Tuesday, September 13, 2022

What Are The Principles of Theatrical Design?

Do you have a performance or a drama that you would like to perform? One follows many things when preparing a stage for a performance. It is difficult as it involves different professionals performing various tasks to ensure success.

There are different principles of theatrical design that help you get a good stage for performance finally. It entails most of the visual representation of the stage and how to achieve that. It involves professionals like directors, make-up artists, costume designers, lighting designers, e.t.c. It makes the overall performance of dramas and performances exciting. Most theater service providers have all the teams required for these tasks.

In this post, we will discuss some of the best principles of theatrical design. We will cover the types and how they differ from each other. The principles get handled by different professionals who work with others as a team. Read on.

What Are The Principles of Theatrical Design?

What Are The Principles of Theatrical Design?

  • When building theatre or you provide theater services, there are several principles you have to consider when setting up the space meant for performance for both the audience and performers.

  • There are several principles that one follows when designing the theatre. Ensure the audience enjoys the performance. The audience can either sit or stand during the show. 
  • In providing theatre design, you must learn how to ensure everything is colorful and conducive to match the performances. The principles focus more on the visual appearances of the play.

Once you provide theater services, you have to ask for more information about the performances and plays, which will help you add more beauty to the design.


It entails developing various character looks and styles during production. The clothes for the casts—as well as hats, shoes, wigs, canes, jewelry, and other character components like boning, padded stomachs, and many others—are chosen by costume designers.

  • One must be very creative to get better results. Read and understand the script and design the costumes based on the themes. Consult with the directors and the team to understand the show deeper.

  • Following that, they will have to draw the sketches for construction and render the costumes. They are responsible for creating the hairstyles for the cast, including wigs, beards, hairpieces, mustaches, etc. After the design phase, the designers stay in touch with the team to make sure that everything, including the settings, scene rhyming, dress parades, etc., works flawlessly.


To ensure proper lighting, the lighting designer is responsible for creating lighting for the play, changing it in variance with the text, and considering the budget, visibility, and safety.

  • Designers work with directors, stage managers, sound designers, set designers, and choreographers to ensure the control systems fall correctly. Most theater services provide lighting designers, or they can hire on a freelancing basis.
  • After reading and understanding the script, they talk with the directors and other team members and alert them on how the lighting will change between the scenes.

These individuals also attend the rehearsals to understand how the team uses the stage. Also, they design the lighting positions and the equipment they need. 

Scenic designs

It involves using different sets and sceneries to design the backgrounds and scenography to meet the goals of your desired production. You work closely with the directors to understand the overall production and how you can design the stage.

  • A ground plan will show all the elements in the scene, all the positions onstage, and other storage positions for moving elements. All the elements created rely on the drawing elements. Most of the elements require a lot of creativity.
  • Scenic designs open different concepts. The theatre service provider and director and the team work on creating renderings, elevations, and other drawings that are part of the production.

It is more of teamwork, and everyone has different roles during the design process. Most designers have a deeper understanding of the script, and everything they do works perfectly.


It involves painting and changing the face, body, and hair. Many materials are used to achieve the final output. It includes cosmetics, different substances, and plastic materials.

  • It helps transform the characters and makes the audience recognize them easily. You must consider the distance between the stage and the audience so that the makeup is clear. 
  • There are makeups for different situations; for example, we can have make-up for showing motion pictures. Currently, there is a lot of improvement in the makeup sector. Many new things get introduced every time, and you must match the trends.

It involves using portable onstage elements that don't count as a costume. These include the curtains, food is eaten, scarves, puppets, dressing counts, e.t.c. You have to hire prop designers with the team to do the job. It must understand how to craft and build amazing objects.

  • Props can even manipulate how the actions of the character. The main aim is to motivate the characters and make them feel better at acting. 
  • They play an important role in playing the scenes, and you can even set to use them during a certain time frame during the performance time. Their important role is vital in storytelling, making the audience follow the performance keenly.
Sound Design

It involves controlling what the audience hears during the performance. They mostly use sound effects and music to match different components and props. You have to ensure the sound is very clear and effective to create a good listening experience for the audience.

  • Collaborating with the director and agreeing on which sounds to use in your project is good. For each production, you must create its own sound to avoid sharing sounds between different performances.
  • You can use illuminated integration to create good sounds that are original and unique. One must also ensure directionality whereby the audience gets both listening and viewing experiences.

Note that you can achieve this easily by using directions speakers. Other effects you can consider in sound design include voiceovers, foley sounds, ambiance, e.t.c 

What are the main types of theatrical design?

What Are The Principles of Theatrical Design?

There are different types of theatrical design. They include:

  • Proscenium stages
  • Thrust stages
  • Promenade theatre
  • Black-box or studio theatres
  • Platform stages
  • Hippodromes
  • Open air theatres
  • Site-specific theatre
  • Theatres in-the-round
  • Arena theatres
Importance of following the principles of Theatrical Design

It is important to follow the principles of theatrical design when you provide theater services to your clients. Companies normally use the principles to create a good stage for performances. There are several benefits you get when you follow them.

The benefits include:

  • It provides better performance for the audience.
  • The sounds are very clear, providing a good listening experience.
  • It creates a good relationship between the performance and the audience.

What Are The Principles of Theatrical Design?


Having good theatre design depends on how you follow the principles. You must ensure that all the principles get implemented during theatrical design for you to have the best performance. Many theatre service providers don't understand some aspects of the principles, making it hard for their clients to have superb performances.

Are you having a performance or play and looking for a theatre services provider? At Geek Computer, we provide a theatrical design that meets modern designs. Contact us by leaving us a message, and we will get back to you.

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