Selected Bibliography of StageCraft Literature


Arnold, Richard L. Scene Technology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. 1994.

Very good. Covers scenic construction, painting, properties, special effects, and shop organization.

Bellman, Willard F. Scene Design, Stage Lighting, Sound, Costume and Makeup. New York: Harper and Row. l983.

Very good. A standard text. Includes units on the scenic process, architecture, organization, safety, scenery, properties, color, costume and makeup, lighting, sound, and scenic projection.

Burris-Meyer, Harold and Edward C. Cole. Scenery for the Theatre, revised edition. Boston: Little Brown and Company. 1971.

Excellent. The "bible" of the commercial scene shop. Excellent illustrations. A good unit (possibly the best) on scene painting. Gives a step-by-step procedure for a number of standard scenic treatments. The only reference which covers scenic engineering.

Crabtree, Susan and Peter Beudert. Scenic Art for the Theatre. Boston: Focal Press. 1998.

Excellent. The history, tools and techniques of the scenic artist.

Gillette, A. S. and J. Michael Gillette. Stage Scenery, It's Construction and Rigging, 3rd edition. New York: Harper and Row. 1981.

Very good. Was the "bible" of the academic scene shop when I was a student. Contains an excellent section on "special construction and rigging problems."

Gillette, J. Michael. Theatrical Design and Production, 4th edition. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company. 2000.

The text book for the class.

Hays, David. Light on the Subject. New York: Limelight Editions. 1989.

Very good. A non-technical book on the art of stage lighting for the director and actor.

McCandless, Stanley. A Method of Lighting the Stage. New York: Theatre Arts Books. 1958

Excellent. The first book to present a systematic approach to lighting the stage.

Mielziner, Jo. Designing for the Theatre. New York: Bramhall House. 1965

Excellent. The memoir of and a portfolio from one of New York's most important designers. Includes a major section on the process Mielziner used in his design for Death of a Salesman.

Parker, W. Oren, and R. Craig Wolf. Scene Design and Stage Lighting, 6th edition. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. l990.

Excellent. One of the best all purpose texts on scene and lighting design. Includes units on scenic construction, painting, and shifting as well as lighting production.

Payne, Darwin Reid. The Scenegraphic Imagination. Carbondale IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 1993.

Excellent. Probably the best book on the theory of scenic design.

Pecktal, Lynn. Designing and Drawing for the Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1995.

Excellent. Well illustrated. A companion book to Pecktal's Designing and Painting for the Theatre. Well illustrated, excellent source of research material. Contains units on multiset productions, three dimensional scenery, openwork scenery, suspended scenery, and minimal scenery. Includes interviews with twelve major scene designers -- Tony Walton (1934- ), Robert O'Hern (1921- ), Douglas Schmidt (1942- ), Ming Cho Lee (1930- ), Tony Straiges (1942- ), David Mitchell (1932- ), Robin Wagner (1933- ), Santo Loquasto (1944- ), David Jenkins (1937- ), John Conklin (1938- ), John Lee Beatty (1948- ) and John Napier (1944- ).

Pecktal, Lynn. Designing and Painting for the Theatre. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1975

Excellent. Well illustrated. The best reference on the art of scene painting. Includes interviews with ten major commercial scene designers -- Jo Meilziner (1901-1976), Rouben Ter-Arutunian (1920-1992), Oliver Smith (1918-1994), Ben Edwards (1916-1999), Robert Randolph (1926- ), Ming Cho Lee (1930- ), Raoul Pene du Bois (1914-1985), Howard Bay (1912-1986), Donald Oenslager (1902-1975) and Robin Wagner (1933- )

Pilbrow, Richard. Stage Lighting Design - The Art, the Craft, the Life. New York : By Design Press. 1997.

Excellent. One of England's most successful lighting designers and theatre consultants describes the art and craft of stage lighting.

Rose, Rich. Drafting Scenery for Theatre, Film, and Television. White Hall VA: Betterway Publications, Inc. 1990.

Very good. The name pretty tells it all.

Rosenthal, Jean and Lael Wertenbaker. The Magic of Light. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1972

Excellent. A poetic book on the "magic of light" by one of its masters. Contains sections on lighting the play, musical, opera, and dance. The "Art" is still valid but the "Technology" is outdated.

Sporre, Dennis J. and Robert C. Burroughs. Scene Design in the Theatre. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. 1990

Good. Includes units on design, construction and scene painting.

Sweet, Harvey. Handbook of Scenery, Properties and Lighting (Two volumes), 2nd edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc. 1995.

Good. An introductory, two volume set. Volume one covers theatre architecture, scenery and props. Volume two covers lighting. From the preface: This book "is devoted to the worker...who has a keen interest in doing plays...but is limited in time, budget, experience, or...physical resources."

Watson, Lee. Lighting Design Handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1990.

Very Good. A well documented look at professional lighting design. Includes sections on both theatrical and architectural practice.

Woodbridge, Patricia. Designer Drafting for the Entertainment World. Boston: Focal Press. 2000.

Excellent. Covers the principles, conventions and professional applications of scenic drafting -- Examples include a box set on a proscenium stage (Oneill's The Iceman Cometh designed by Ben Edwards), the musical (Guys and Dolls designed by Tony Walton), settings for television and film, and the trade show booth.


Entertainment Design (Formerly TCI and Theatre Crafts)

A "popular" magazine published ten times a year. Covers all aspects of theatrical and film production.

Lighting Dimensions

A "popular" magazine published nine times a year. Covers architectural, concert, theatrical, film and television lighting.

TD&T ( Formerly Theatre Design and Technology)

A scholarly journal published four times a year by the United States Institute of Theatre Technology.
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Last updated: August 19, 2002
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