The Theatrical Scenery

Building a theatrical scenery is based on using different techniques, in order to create a proper background for any staged play. This concept is being developed by the stage designer – he communicates with the artistic department (the director) and then he decides which is the best option. Afterwards, he creates sketches, models or layouts that will contain all the necessary technical and visual characteristics:

  • The sketches refer to the future set-up of the space and the objects – the measurements, mechanisms, models and scales that are going to be used in the production processes. This is a mandatory requirement, because these specific details will be used to elaborate the main structure of the scenography concept. The scenery model is a way of putting all the pieces together, on a smaller scale – so it will offer a preview of the result, making possible the visualization of a similar image. At this point, more sketches are necessary for describing not only the technical details, but also the costumes, lighting, props or staging methods.

When the plan is in place, the project is taken over by other experts – builders, welders, turners, locksmiths or carpenters. They will work on the scenery’s structure, using resistant materials, such as steel or aluminium and then, they will focus on cladding, using various techniques based on plywood, forex, comatex, polycarbonate, dibond, stiplex, plexiglass and others.

  • If the stage designer wants special decorations or sculptures, the visual artists will work on those requirements;
  • If the chosen pattern is repetitive, the artists can use eco-friendly resins, in order to obtain a unitary finish;
  • The last step is the responsibility of a painter or a visual artist. He will add finishing touches, based on the main characteristics of the scenery.

This is the process of how the stage scenery is being built. Each project is unique and has different requirements – therefore, the work needs to be done by experts. They will ensure that all the requests will be fulfilled equally and at the highest quality. In the end, even a tiny detail matters for getting a well-done job.

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Bucharest Metropolitan Circus decoration access to the pediment stage

Decor Ghost of the Opera-Scenekvelder - FOLKETEATERET -OSLO 1

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Where is a theatrical scenery being built?

If the scenery is large, it cannot be built inside a theatre building. Therefore, a production hall is needed – here, the team will work on this project in a bigger space. If the scenery will be assembled in various locations, the experts must create a modular system, useful for easy transport and setup. This detail is mandatory for carrying it in special spaces, such as narrow corridors, small theatres, cars or elevators.

Theatres have their own storage space, but it’s not always a large one – that’s why the whole set must be created being aware of certain conditions that may affect the further usage of the equipment.

Decor Ghost of the Opera-Scenekvelder - FOLKETEATERET -OSLO 5

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The Scenery & The Play

The chosen play is an important thing, because it can really change the look of the scenery. The social, historical and temporal details can fundamentally modify the way of creating the scenography. For example, if the play is placed in a particular period in history, all the elements must be connected to this factor, in order to build a specific visual frame. Sometimes, the director will choose to place the action of the play in a different time period – in this situation, the project has to align to this proposal, coming with a valid structure, based on these ideas. In other cases, a mix can be done – the director can choose to combine some classical elements with contemporary ones. Therefore, the scenery must be balanced and has to fulfill all these requirements. Also, the production team has to keep that in mind while they are working on the visual effects and refinements.

Theater decoration Romeo and Juliet TNB 1

theater decoration Romeo and Juliet National Theater Bucharest
What type of materials are being used in the scenery-making process?

In each and every project, a lot of materials are being used, in order to materialize the architectural specifications. The team can use a rectangular, squared or circular section, as well as plywood, triple layered wood, tego, dibond, plexiglass, stiplex, polycarbonate, adhesives and many others. Depending on their specificity, the elements will require a different approach on a case-by-case basis. The operations used can be extensive and each piece will be adjusted by turning, cutting, welding, priming and other special interventions, necessary for finishing the work. Special materials, such as ecological or acrylic resin, anti-corrosion primers, acrylic paints or various fabrics can also be used. All of these are technical ways in which the initial project becomes a physical representation – so the materials used must create a durable and well-done decor.

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What dimensions can a theatrical scenery have?

The dimensions can vary considerably, depending on the space that the theater has at its disposal, but also on the scenographic vision. The construction processes must relate to the existing perimeter, in order to be able to meet all the necessary rules imposed by this important factor. However, a theater show team can be invited to festivals or on other trips – that is why it is essential that the setting can fit on several types of stages, with different characteristics. Of course, this should not affect the design itself, but it is a detail that the producer, director an

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The lifespan of the decoration elements

The period of use can vary from one setting to another – a theatre show can run for several seasons, which will certainly influence the lifespan of the constituent elements. However, any such assembly has considerable strength, which does not wear out very quickly. At the same time, the type of usage can have an effect on this factor – the more the actions in the scene are directly related to the parts of the construction, changing their position or location, the more it is possible for the scenery to react to this type of exploitation, diminishing the total period of use.

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The Movie Set

The movie set has similar production procedures, but there are some essential features that are different from the constructions intended for the theater. First of all, the set must capture the reality very well, because, due to the resolution of the cameras, every detail is visible. Therefore, the projects must be made in detail – but in theater, the distance is greater and the clarity is not similar to the one that’s being captured in a movie.

The sets can be of various sizes and, depending on this aspect, they will be designed differently. These details are established by the production team, director and the set designer, before sending the project to those who will take care of the actual construction. However, there are situations in which the locations are pre-selected and become the movie set themselves – in this case, the space must be enriched with elements that complement and define it optimally.

The assembly of the set can take place at the filming location or in production halls; The people involved are mainly the same as in the case of theater sets – the production team, the architect or set designer, the director and all of those who will create the set from scratch – a specialized and experienced team of experts.

The dimensions of the project can be wider than the theatrical one, because the spaces can be both closed and open. For the outdoors, the used perimeters may be larger and this factor will require custom decorations. Therefore, a good approach is mandatory and all tasks must be properly delegated, in order to achieve the desired result, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Unlike the set intended for theater performances, the one created for movies is used only during filming and is usually not reused for other projects. Therefore, its actual lifespan is shorter, due to the structure of the filming process. However, certain elements can be recycled or reused in building other decors.

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Movie decor Somewhere in Palilula locomotive

Sets for Events

An event setting can be like a movie set, placed both outdoors and indoors. Also, its magnitude may be different, depending on the context in which the event takes place:

  • the music festivals or concerts can require specific scenery (mobile, fixed or rotating scenes, curtains, stairs etc.) and special equipment, in order to ensure all the necessary requirements (sound, acoustics, visibility etc.);
  • for small spaces (such as an exhibition stand) or private events (such as weddings, anniversaries, baptisms etc.), the approach will be different and the process will be oriented in specific directions.

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event stand Book Leipzig bright letters

When is a setting needed for an event?

  • In a small private event, the project must be adapted according to several conditions: space, theme, the design of the event and others. These specific events have defining and clear characteristics, required by the organizers or private clients – therefore, the end result must meet all these requirements and the whole process will develop in this direction.

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Sets for TV

A suitable setting for TV studios should generally be created in the same way as for a film. However, it has some distinct features, which belong to this particular field. In television, the scenographic precision is important, in order to be able to align with the profile of the respective programme – talk show, reality show, news, weather etc. Depending on this aspect, the requirements are specific and they can be modified by the format of the show, the lights in the studio or other technical details such as:

  • The number of participants;
  • The audience involved in the filming;
  • The placement of the desks, chairs or other elements necessary for the performance.

Although, in general, the construction timeline is the same as in theater or film, television is more divided into categories related to the theme of the programme. In conclusion, the decor must meet all these criteria, which may differ from one channel to another.

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Decor the piece The visit of the old lady - TNB 2

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Leipzig Book Stand in progress

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Leipzig Book Stand

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