Design and Technology

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.

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

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.


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.

Lehigh University Costume Shop - process for creating ass' head - initial foam formLehigh University Costume Shop - photo of ass' head being worn during playLehigh University Costume Shop - process for creating ass' head - initial foam form profile
Socks being distressed with the auto detailing air gun for THE GOOD WOMAN OF SETZUAN.

Lehigh University Costume Shop - image of student distressing socks

There is no petticoat too large.

Lehigh University Costume Shop - image of large pink petticoatLehigh University Costume Shop - image of student sewing large pink petticoat