module specification

DN4011 - Performance Design Techniques and Technologies (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Performance Design Techniques and Technologies
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 25%   Series of Models & Material Experiments
Coursework 25%   Set of Analytical, Technical and Annotated Drawing
Coursework 50%   Practice Journal
Running in 2019/20

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to technologies, materials and the communication and making practices of designers working within performance design, developing students’ understanding of the collaborative nature of the process involved in creating performance and performance space.

Students will develop communication techniques appropriate to the diversity of information designers use and the audiences targeted. These will include the use of different orthogonal drawing conventions, diagrams and sketches, and a range of modelmaking and storyboarding approaches to communicate precise ideas and information.

The module will use different methods to establish this knowledge, including case studies, making and drawing workshops, lectures, seminars and make reference to a wide variety of published sources.
The module identifies the range, scope and practice of the roles and disciplines involved in the design and delivery of performance spaces. Through the projects students will be introduced to historic, contemporary and emerging performance technologies and the key statutory and regulatory responsibilities relating to production design. Students will at the same time analyse methods of critical and reflective recording, documenting and interpreting approaches for performance and performance spaces.


• An introduction to simple construction and material technologies, informing the construction of performance spaces and design components.  LO1

• An outline of historic and contemporary principles and techniques. LO1

• A series of workshops develop drawing, material and model making techniques to support the testing and communication of knowledge arising from the lectures and seminars and their application to studio projects. LO2

• Drawings will include designers’ technical drawings (plans and elevations), bench drawings, concept drawings, costume drawings and storyboards. The subject of these may be case studies or the studio module project work. LO2, LO3

• Models will develop students’ workshop skills by developing familiarity with a range of materials and processes. The models will be used to test material and constructional principles and to test these in the application of the students’ ideas developed in studio practice modules. LO3

• A series of lectures, seminars and case studies will introduce the various disciplines and roles involved in the realisation of a design for performance. LO4, LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

LO1 identify principal historic and contemporary constructional methods through visited and researched precedents and understand the importance of and methods of collaboration in designing and delivering performance and performance space;

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities

LO2 demonstrate a careful, reflective, methodical and imaginative approach to recording knowledge and stating key regulatory responsibilities, understanding how they influence decision making within performance design;

Transferable Skills

LO3 demonstrate appropriate and accurate modelmaking and orthographic drawn techniques to communicate design ideas;

Subject Specific Skills

LO4 describe the position of designers’ practice in the creation of performances;
LO5 understand the requirements and different types of drawings and communications required by production departments including for costume design, set construction, prop making, prop sourcing, lighting and directing.

Assessment strategy

The Practice Journal records the students’ progress through each element and activity of the module. The understanding and critical enquiry demonstrated in the journal is key to its success. The consistency of the record of learning, the care with which the journal is produced and the consequent effectiveness of its communication of the knowledge and skills acquired will be assessed.

The series of material experiments and models will demonstrate the students’ skill in material understanding and model making and their understanding of the use different techniques to convey ideas and information and to convey particular and appropriate information.

The set drawings will demonstrate students’ development in using drawings as a tool to develop and communicate ideas. They will demonstrate their understanding of the use of different drawing types and the use and integration of textual information.


Baugh, C., (2013) Theatre, performance and technology: the development and transformation of scenography, Palgrave
Blurton, J., (2001) Scenery: Drafting and Construction: For Theatres, Museums, Exhibitions and Trade Shows, Routledge
Glebas, F., (2009) Directing the story: professional storytelling and storyboarding techniques for live action and animation, CRC Press
Glebas, F., (2008) Directing the Story : Professional Storytelling and Storyboarding Techniques for Live Action and Animation, CRC Press
Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [5 April 2018]
Howard, P., (2009) What is Scenography?, Routledge
Howard, P, and Howard, P., (2009) What is Scenography?, Taylor & Francis Group
Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [5 April 2018]
Orton,K., (2004) Model Making for the Stage: A Practical Guide, Crowood Press
Reid-Payne, D., (1981) The Scenographic Imagination, Southern Illinois University Press
Thorne, G., (2010) Technical Drawing for Stage Design, Crowood Press
Thorne, G., (2015) Technical Drawing for Stage Design, Crowood
Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [5 April 2018].
Thorne, G., (1999) Stage Design – a Practical Guide, Crowood Press
Todd, A. and Lecat, J. G., (2003) The Open Circle: Peter Brook's Theatre Environments, Faber and Faber
Wilson, A., (2003) Making Stage Props: A Practical Guide, Crowood Press

Society of British Theatre Designers exhibition catalogues

Make Believe  UK Design for Performance 2011-2015, Society of British Theatre Designers
Collaborators: UK Design of Performance 2003-2007, Society of British Theatre Designers
2D > 3D: Design for Theatre and Performance, Society of British Theatre Designers
Transformation & Revelation, Society of British Theatre Designers