Designing a Set


Students will demonstrate understanding of the role of the set designer, his/her responsibilities, and the importance of the set designer to the production team by creating a set design for their chosen scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Materials Needed

Set Designer Worksheet

Transparencies of floor plans, audience view sketch

Overhead projector

Responsibility labels

Once Upon a Mattress designs

Sample of 3-d model


Related Documents


Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook

Before students come into class, arrange the desk/chairs into groups of three (3) around the room.  As students enter the room, hand them a piece of paper that says:  Discussion Leader OR Scribe OR Spokesperson.



Step 1—Have the students find people who have been assigned a different responsibility.  Each group must have a Discussion Leader, Scribe, and Spokesperson.  Then, have the groups sit in chairs in the pre-arranged areas.


Step 2—Distribute the Set Designer Worksheet.  Have each group discuss the first question (What is a set designer?), with each member of the group fulfilling his/her responsibility. 

            The Discussion Leader conducts the discussion

            The Scribe notates the discussion

            The Spokesperson will present the group’s conclusions 

Give the students 3-5 minutes to discuss the question and come to a consensus.


Step 3—Ask for a volunteer scribe to write the points on the board while each group presents their conclusions to the class. 


Step 4—Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each of the following questions:

            What are a set designer’s responsibilities?

            What traits, talents, and/or skills does a set designer need?

Have a new scribe write on the board for each question.


Step 5—Project the transparencies  

    • a floor plan
    • set design sketches
    • audience view sketches

Discuss how each is created.


Step 6—Explain that these same things are required for the Set Designer Section of the Production Book.  Post the Portfolio Requirements List for Set Designer.  Discuss each of them in detail so the students know what they are supposed to do.



            Set Designer:                                      100pts

            Definition                                5pts

            Responsibilities                       5pts

            Correlating Handouts/Research 5pts

            Preliminary Design Sketches  10pts

            Floor Plan                              15pts

            Final Design Sketches             15pts

            Model                                     25pts

            Explanation of choices            5pts

                        Construction Crew  (self-initiated research for answers)

            Definition                                5pts

            Responsibilities                       5pts

            Correlating Handouts/Research 5pts


Step 7—Discuss Show the Once Upon a Mattress (or other design sketch) designs so students will understand that they do NOT have to create a complicated design. 


Emphasize that they are to create a set design that corresponds with their production concept.


Step 8—Discuss how the set design must coordinate with the type of stage.  Distribute the handout about stage types and review the different types of stages and how the audience is arranged:

  • Proscenium
  • Thrust
  • Arena/Theatre in the Round
  • Black Box
  • Created and found spaces


Step 9—Distribute the set design handouts.  Discuss each one to make certain the students understand the Set Design Checklist as well as the SetDesigner’s Tools so students understand the process of designing a set.

Check for Understanding.


Step 10—If there is any class time remaining, let the students use that time to work on the Set Designer Section of the Production Book.


CLOSURE:  Remind the students that they must complete all the Production Book assignments.  Don’t forget to write in your learning log.



Teacher observation, participation, homework assignments