I am sure that I am not alone in saying that when I attend the theatre, a high-quality performance caters for all the senses and I am also sure that all keen theatregoers will agree with the view that a well-designed theatre stage can be the finishing touch to a very high-quality show. However, the certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, that is added to a performance by a detailed and well thought out theatre stage design does not have to be the sole privilege of high budget shows performing on Broadway or in the theatres on the West End of London as there are several businesses who specialise in theatre stage design and are able to offer their services at reasonable prices so that smaller theatre companies and maybe even school drama productions are able to have a high-quality set which not only enhances but also adds another layer any performance.

The main task of the stage design falls to the ‘scenic designer’ who is responsible for collaborating with the theatrical director as well as with other members of the set production team (such as the propmaster, charge scenic artist and the technical director) to whom he communicates details of the design. Scenic designers are also responsible for creating a scale model of their proposed sets ideas to convey their ideas to the rest of the team.

These theatre stage design companies often employ a highly trained team of experienced set designers and set painters (many of whom had studied some form of art design or theatre-related studies at a very high level and who as a result have a high level of experience accumulated over many years). However, the process of designing a set for a theatre performance has far more components than just the painting of a set. These other components of stage design, such as the use of lighting, sound technology (including the positioning of microphones and speakers if required) and also the construction of aesthetically pleasing set pieces (such for the famous balcony scene in a performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’) are also catered for by these theatre stage design companies. As with the set designers and set painters, all of these specialists in lighting and sound technology (as well as the carpenters and joiners employed by these companies to actually build the sets) have accumulated many years of experience in working in the process of designing theatre sets.

Author Alexi Gibbs ©