Design for Performance 2019

grand-finale-al-carousel-desktop-hero-1133x628Image: Grand Finale by Hofesh Shechter

Course coordinator: Meg Rollandi

Assignment 2: Performance Design – words to worlds

“Yet design artefacts  – whether objects, materials, occasions, environments, or still and moving images- are inextricably bound to performance through notions of embodiment, action and events. Within them stories are told, forces are harnessed and roles are played out.” 

Hannah, Dorita, and Olav Harsløf. Performance Design. Museum Tusculanum, 2008.

Project outline:

For this second assignment you will create a performance design for Ella Hickson’s The Writer. This task requires that you translate the play text from words and ideas into a live performance event. This translation involves more than just speaking the text but asks that you as the performance designer propose the world that this version of the play takes place in.

The tools at your disposal – space, objects, costume, time, light, body, sound – can be arranged and rearranged infinite times over to shift the audience’s experience of the play. Each element present on stage carries meaning and function, as the performance designer you are able to manipulate our experience of these elements both individually and in combination with each other.

Project deliverables:

To communicate your performance design you will create the following:

_A storyboard of presentation quality images (short videos). This should be a minimum of 10 images and address each of the 5 sections in the play at least once. Your selected images should communicate key moments in the play as they relate to your overall performance design concept. These images can be created using a combination of whichever medium you choose.

_A 200 words concept overview statement. This statement should identify the key themes you have identified in the work and describe the arching narrative of the performance design.

_5min mixed media staging of a section of the play. This does not need to include dialogue, or a performer ‘acting’. You may choose to represent a key element of your design, using this mixed media staging as a way to describe or capture the essence/a sense of how the work might feel. These stagings will be realised at 1:1 and presented to the class in Week 12. 

Project key dates:

Week 8, Monday 16th: Site visit (time to be agreed on in class)

Week 9: Interim

Week 12: Presentation and hand-in

Google Drive link for shared resources, BATS plans etc

Week 7

  • Introduce new brief
  • Introduce the play
  • Introduce site
  • Precedent examples of text to performance
  • Design matrix

Site visit to BATS Theatre Monday, 4.15pm!

Independent study for week 8:

  • Complete reading and then close reading of the play.
  • Concept development: research, prepare working statement
  • Complete design matrix


Week 8

  • Discuss the play
  • Week 8 presentation
  • Watch party
  • 1:1 catch ups

Independent study for week 9

  • Complete design matrix
  • Concept statement
  • 3 scene proposals
  • Daffodil pitch

Videos from the session today are in the google drive folder – link further up this page


Week 9

Review three scene pitches.

Independent Study:

Draft storyboard presentation (10 images), at least 3 images/elements completed to presentation standard.

1x video example of water created on stage


Week 10

Review water videos…

Interim presentation exercise

Workshop mixed media stagings

Update blog links

Independent Study:

2 more images towards your storyboard to presentation standard.

-Be specific, use the resources (plans and sections), consider sight-lines, what is an appropriate rendering style, what elements of your proposal require detail or more detail, a storyboard is not necessarily a static image…

Draft version of mixed media staging, this should include at least 1x 1:1 test, detailed storyboard (more than sketches) including reference and research imagery.


Week 11

  • Review updated storyboard
  • Review draft mixed media staging

Submission requirements:

Stagings – presentations and documentation Week 12.  Digital submission via Stream of all other requirements Friday 25th October, Week 13, 5pm.

We will be starting presentations at 1.30, please be ready to start then!

Last modified: October 14, 2019