module specification

DN5014 - Performance Design Techniques and Practice (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Performance Design Techniques and Practice
Module level Intermediate (05)
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 60%   Practice Journal
Coursework 40%   Assessment feedback from work placement/ work related learning
Running in 2019/20

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module asks students to engage with the technologies, materials and making practices of designers working in performance design, and develops their 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 have to communicate and specific to audiences targeted. Students will research the range and scope of performance design roles and the different disciplines involved in the design and delivery of performance space, through study of precedents and work related, collaborative practice.
The module asks that students use a range of drawing conventions (including for set construction, costume and prop making), material experimentation and modelmaking techniques to communicate the relevance and resolution of designed ideas, investigating the effects of lighting, prop sourcing and direction in relationship to the performance. Students will develop scaled modelling skills using both traditional and digital methods.
Throughout the module students will asked to prove an understanding of historic, contemporary and emerging performance technologies and their relevance to space, text and available technologies.
The module introduces risk assessment and the range and role of regulatory bodies in relation to performance design.
Students will establish a critical, personal practice of recording, documenting and interpreting approaches to making performance and performance spaces.

Prior learning requirements

Pass and Completion (120 credits) of Prior Level


A series of lectures, seminars and case studies deepening the understanding of the various disciplines and roles involved in the realisation of a design for performance. LO1, LO2, LO3

A series of workshops that investigate and consider the regulatory relationship between audience and performer both in terms of effectiveness of performance and safety. LO4

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. LO5

Practical work in a production role either on an industry work placement or a third year realised performance created by or in conjunction with BA Theatre Performance students. LO6

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 and teaching


Learning outcomes

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

Knowledge and Understanding

LO1 understand the requirements and different types of drawings and communications required by all production departments including, costume, set historic and contemporary construction, prop making, prop sourcing, lighting and directing through drawn or modelled examples;
Cognitive Intellectual Abilities

LO2 apply a careful, methodical and imaginative approach to recording knowledge, methods and ideas to understand the relationship between concept, performance and built spaces;
Transferable Skills

LO3 explain the purpose of each professional and technical role within the collaborative practice of creating performance and performance space and describe the role of designers’ practice within the creation of the performance;
LO4 work within the regulatory relationship between audience and performer balancing the  effectiveness of performance with safety;
Subject Specific Skills

LO5 demonstrate precise and appropriate model making and drawn techniques to communicate design ideas in a simple small-scale design proposal;
LO6 experience practical work in a production role either on an industry work placement or a third year realised performance created by or in conjunction with BA Theatre Performance students.

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.

Students will receive assessment feedback on the practical work undertaken in a production role.


Baugh, C., (2013) Theatre, performance and technology: the development and transformation of scenography, Palgrave
Burton J., (2001) Scenery: Drafting and Construction: For Theatres, Museums, Exhibitions and Trade Shows, Routledge
Thorne G., (2010) Technical Drawing for Stage Design, The Crowood Press 
Thorne, G., (2015) Technical Drawing for Stage Design, Crowood, Marlborough Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [6 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. [6 April 2018].
Todd A. an Lecat J.-G., (2003) The Open Circle: Peter Brook's Theatre Environments, Faber and Faber 
Thorne G., (1999) Stage Design – a practical guide, Crowood Press
Payne, D. R., (1981) The Scenographic Imagination, Southern Illinois U.P.

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