A Guide to Studying the Relationship Between Engineering and Theatre

Written by
Debra Bruch, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theatre
Michigan Technological University


The Experience of Theatre

How Theatre Happens

Directing Theatre

The Relationship Between Engineering and Audience

-- Introduction

-- The Space

-- Technical Conditions

-- Climate Conditions

-- Safety

-- Theatrical Conventions

-- Performance Conventions

-- Style Conventions

-- Creativity

What is the purpose of this site?

This series of web pages attempts to offer some practical ways for a person to understand the relationship between engineering and theatre in history as well as in today's theatre world.

This site does not try to explain how something is engineered. This site attempts to explain the fundamentals and traditions of theatre as they relate to engineering.

Use of fog in A Midsummer Night's Dream


Who would benefit from this site?

Anyone interested in studying the relationship between engineering and theatre might find this site beneficial. These web pages were initially placed to help teach a course titled "Performance Design Principles: An introduction to the design principles of the live art and entertainment industry, including design needs, production methods, equipment, and facilities for various venues. Among the applications to be surveyed are theatre, concerts, theme parks, museums, and corporate events." This class is an introductory class for four majors: Sound Design (B.A.), Audio Production and Technology (B.S.), Theatre and Entertainment Technology (B.A.), and Theatre and Entertainment Technology (B.S.) at the Department of Fine Arts at Michigan Technological University. For these majors in Fine Arts, students need to learn the artistic demands of theatrical art in order to be successful theatrical engineering professionals. Since I could not find sufficient teaching materials for this introductory class, I made this site. This site would also supplement the materials for my two theatre history classes, as uses of engineering in history are good examples to help explain principles.

As a sidenote, I wish that I could gorge this site with pictures I find in books, but I can't. It would be illegal for me to do so.


© Debra Bruch 2005