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Scenic Design—Lesson 4

What's On

The 39 Steps

June 22 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

RADA Production

July 30-August 3, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

Much Ado About Nothing

June 21 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

Henry VIII

June 17 - September 5, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

Silent Sky

July 12 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

The Mountaintop

July 13 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

The Winter's Tale

June 18 - September 6, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

The Taming of the Shrew

June 19 - September 7, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

Scenic Design—Lesson 4


Students will learn about stage flats and get a chance to build one for themselves.


Standard L3.T.CR.2: Create and implement a major design element for a main stage production.
Standard L2.T.CR.4: Cooperate as a creative team to make interpretive choices for a drama/theatre work.
Standard L3.T.R.7: Analyze and evaluate why artistic choices are made in a drama/ theatre work.


9th-12th grades


60 minutes


  • In Person

    • One 8-foot 1x3 furring strip board 
    • Twelve 1⅝ screws
    • One 12”x18” sheet of luan or Masonite
    • Pencil
    • Square
    • Tape Measure
    • Glue
    • Miter or Circular Saw
    • Drill
    • Power Screwdriver
    • Staple Gun
    • Safety Glasses
    • Ear Plugs
    • Gloves


  • Distance Learning

    • Five Popsicle Sticks
    • One Piece of cardboard or cardstock at 2 inches by 3 inches
    • Hot Glue/Glue Gun
    • A razor blade or something to cut the popsicle sticks


Students will get the opportunity to build a Hollywood stage flat for themselves. (This unit compliments the “texture” unit and it can be introduced immediately after this lesson using the flat built here to paint on there.)

  1. VIDEO (5 minutes) Designing Theatre: The Comedy of Errors

    Video Example
    Assign one person to be the “Captain.” The role of the Captain is to call out the actions and dismiss the players who are not able to complete an action (or who does it the slowest). Once the captain calls an action, each player has to quickly start performing the action (e.g. within 3-4 seconds). If they don’t find a group fast enough or perform the right action, they are out of the game. When there is 1 player left, the game is over.

    For the groups that are meant to include a specific number of players ie: Man Overboard! (3 players) if the group ends up with a number different than the one called, those players are out of the game Ie: If you find a “Man Overboard” with 2 or 4 people in it, the whole group is out.

    Actions the Captain can call:

    Captain’s Coming!: Everyone stands in a salute towards the captain and says, “Captain my captain!”

    Swab the Deck: Everyone pantomimes a mob and moves around cleaning the deck.

    Lighthouse (2 players): 2 players grab each other’s arms and circle saying “be do be do” like they’re a lighthouse.

    Man Overboard (3 players): 2 players grab each other’s arms to form a “lifeboat.” Another player stands between the arms and is rocked back and forth by the boat.

    Rowboat (4 players): 4 players sit directly behind each other in a line like they are all in a rowboat or canoe and row their boat.

    Mess Tent (5 Players): 5 players sit in a circle as if at a table eating.

    To the Ship!: All players run to a designated area “the ship.”  The last one to get to the ship is out.

    Hit the deck!: All players drop to the ground.  The last one to do so is out.

  3. LESSON/ACTIVITY (45 minutes)
    Students will build their own Hollywood style flats.  There are 2 options here depending on in person or distance learning.  It is recommended that the teacher create one first in order to demonstrate the procedure and take the time to teach shop and tool safety.  Make sure the students know how to use the saws and protect themselves before they are allowed to use the tools.

    In person instructions

    Distance learning instructions

    Spongebob Squarepants Set Design

    Mary Poppins, Creating Mary’s World


Students will demonstrate their ability to measure and cut boards to assemble a miniature stage flat in the Hollywood style. They will have a physical flat to show they have learned the skill.

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2024 www.bard.org Cedar City, Utah