Scenography is the practice of designing a play.  It is the interplay of time, space, movement and light on stage; the visualization process of transforming text to human space.  It is a synthetic and inclusive design process.  Importance is placed upon the exploration of text and the integration of all design elements into a whole.  Research is emphasized as an ongoing exercise taking place on a daily basis.  Theatrical technology is an active partner in the process of scenographic design.  Experimentation and innovation are the result of a successful dynamic relationship between design and technology. 

MACBETH, by William Shakespeare

Lehigh University, 2002

Costume Design Guidelines
Lehigh University department of theatre
adapted from Departmental Design Guidelines
  • read play, discuss with production team
  • meet w/shop supervisors and department coordinator for budget and calendar information


  • research/concept
  • research presentation, finalization of concept
  • costume plot
  • rough sketches to mentor and costume shop manager
  • construction and build schedule is estimated
  • pre-determine build i.e. will show be mostly built, shopped, rented, pulled?
  • are there special requirements for wigs, makeup, crafts, jewelry, distressing, dying, painting or other?
  • go over research - does the shop need more detailed, historic or process research?
  • discuss dressing room assignments
  • order samples of special materials to test processes
  • if possible, patterning can begin from rough sketches


  • refine design ideas & prepare final renderings
  • determine makeup and hair needs
  • pulling of costumes may begin
  • pulling or building of structural under-garments
  • costume designer and shop manager plan fitting schedule
  • finalized costume renderings due
  • costume build is determined (specs)
  • continue pulling costumes
  • patterning and mock-up construction
  • ordering of specialized construction materials
  • build and fitting schedule is finalized
  • priorities are determined
  • order custom dance wear (requires minimum of 6 weeks for delivery)
  • present renderings to cast at first read-through
  • present renderings to shop staff

  • rehearsal costumes pulled
  • take photographs of actors if necessary (can only be done after auditions)
  • order makeup kits for actors (can only be done after auditions)
  • costume rental facilities contacted
  • research vendors, place orders for items requiring some time to get hats, shoes, wigs, costume props, accessories
  • patterning and mock-up construction continues


  • patterns complete
  • first fittings begin
  • continue ordering
  • major pulling and shopping completed
  • purchased fabrics in shop
  • cutting in fabric begins
WEEK #10
  • first fittings complete
  • cutting in fabric continues
  • construction and alterations
WEEK #11
  • construction and alteration of final costumes
  • final fittings may begin
WEEK #12
  • final fittings begin
  • finishing, trimming, distressing begins
WEEK #13
  • final fittings complete
  • finishing, trimming, distressing
  • prepare laundry instructions and schedule
  • prepare dressing lists

WEEK #14

  • tech week and opening
  • confirm placement of quick change booths
WEEK #15          
  • photo call
  • dry clean costumes during dark days as needed
WEEK #16
  • strike
  • send dry cleaning
A RAISIN IN THE SUN, by Lorraine Hansberry

Lehigh University, 1999

Responsibilities of the Costume Designer                                      
General Duties

The Costume Designer takes responsibility for all areas of costume construction, hair and makeup design and execution.  It is his/her duty to see that all phases of the design are carried out on schedule and within budget.  The costume designer sets the tone and mood for the costume shop, actors, and relationships with the production team, and should motivate and inspire all persons involved in creating the costumes.

  1. Attend all production meetings and make appointments with design faculty and directors as needed.
  2. Set up production schedule with shop supervisor, cutter, and assistant designer and be ultimately responsible for keeping the show on schedule.
  3. Work with cutter in the pattern making and cutting process.
  4. Purchase all materials and/or ready made garments and accessories for the production, including makeup and hair goods.
  5. Keep track of receipts and copies of receipts, submit receipts to the theatre department coordinator as needed.  Keep a running tally of the budget and report on the budget at production meetings and as necessary. 
  6. Pull or supervise pulling of all items from stock.
  7. Supervise the design assistant; determine tasks, hours, and shopping lists.
  8. Communicate daily or as needed with the costume shop staff and attend work calls as necessary.
  9. Attend all fittings. 
  10. Supervise all ongoing work in costume construction, accessories, makeup and hair. 
  11. Attend all shop production meetings as scheduled by the shop supervisor.
  12. Advise costume shop of all developments and changes related to costumes for the production.
  13. Assist costume shop supervisor in relaying information to the wardrobe crews, stage manager, and actors.  The costume designer will provide a costume plot, dressing lists, laundry schedule and costume inventory when applicable (rentals/borrowing.)
  14. Assist in creating a schedule for actor and crew calls.
  15. Attend all dress rehearsals, arriving early enough to work with the wardrobe and makeup crews.
  16. Attend strike and participate in clean up.
  17. Return of borrowed or rented items when necessary.

Responsibilities of the Assistant Costume Designer                        
General Duties

Duties of the Assistant Costume Designer will be determined on an individual basis for each production.  The costume designer, costume shop manager, cutter, and the assistant will determine what specific tasks/roles the assistant will fulfill.  The assistant designer may be asked to conduct research, assist with renderings, supervise costume shop staff, create specific costumes or costume accessories, do shopping or renting of costumes, or keep track of paperwork and budget. 

  1. Assist costume designer at all scheduled meetings; production meeting and shop meetings.  In the even the designer cannot attend a meeting, the assistant will represent the costume area.
  2. Be acquainted with the designs, the actors, the specific garments and the shop bible as it develops.
  3. Accompany the costume designer on shopping trips, or go shopping for the designer.  The assistant should keep a record of receipts, swatches, measurements, and other information necessary for shopping.
  4. Assist in the supervision of the costume construction and directed by the costume designer or costume shop manager. 
  5. Assist the designer in costume fittings whenever possible.
  6. Assist the designer in fabric and garment manipulation, dying and distressing.
  7. Attend dress rehearsals and assist the designer as necessary.  You may be asked to attend run-throughs prior to dress rehearsal as well.  Attend strike and assist as necessary.
  8. Other possible duties include: makeup and hair design, wig styling, pulling or purchasing jewelry and other accessories, millinery, and crafts.
  9. There is no hourly limit to this position.


The ass' head for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM was made from carpet layer's foam and barge cement.  A paper pattern was taped together over a wig block, then cut out of foam and glued together.  Adjustments were made for sight, hearing and fit, including the cutting of eye holes.  Details were added in foam for the jawline, eyelids, lips, and nostrils, then the head was covered with fur. Ears, teeth and mane were glued on, along with netting to cover eye openings.  Paint added further texture, highlights and shadows.

Socks being distressed with the auto detailing air gun for THE GOOD WOMAN OF SETZUAN.





Extreme sewing

There is no petticoat too large.

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