About the Work
"Behind the Scenes" is a tech theatre curriculum designed around using free and open source applications on iPads or tablets to help students understand the design process.
Pre-service theatre and education students from Morgan State University, an historically black college, and teaching artists of color created a standards-based technical theatre curriculum addressing lighting, sound, sets, and costumes. The curriculum focused on teaching the designer's process Read, Research, Plan, Design.
The team created scenic, set, sound and costume design challenges for the students to complete, which were piloted in Baltimore City Schools in 2021, and again with additional designers in rural schools across the nation in 2022.
Many thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts who funded in part the original field test and publishing of the final curriculum - downloadable for educators everywhere from this page.
"Behind the Scenes" Curriculum
Including detailed lesson plans, handouts, and design modules, suggested internet resources, as well as an optional pre and post test. Download and go!
The following technical theatre curriculum was created in partnership with the Baltimore City Schools, pre-service educators from Morgan State University and a cadre of Baltimore area designers from the vibrant Baltimore/Washington theatre scene.
Illustrating the Design Process: Examples of Student Work
Student work samples illustrate the design process taught in the curriculum.
1. Research, Read and Plan
3. Present (Communicate your design)
Research, Read, Plan
Mood Board for Scarecrow
Making it Possible: The Designers & Staff
Sharlene Michelle Clinton is a writer, singer-actor, dancer, costume designer and make-up artist. Sharlene has worked as the Costume Designer for several productions for the Fine and Performing Arts Department of Morgan State University, Coppin Repertory Theatre, Fells Point Corner Theatre, The Strand Theatre, Single Carrot Theatre and other local theatres in the Baltimore Area; There was a Boy, The Bluest Eye, Crowns, Broke-ology, Jitney, Reparations, The Color Purple, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, In the Blood and Sojourners to name a few. She is also a professional Make-up Artist. Sharlene has performed in the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s premiere of Margaret Garner and 2007 production of Porgy and Bess and graced the stage in Theatre Morgan’s production of The Wiz, Raisin, as Lena Younger, Black Nativity and the one-woman show, Big Momma an Em. She is also a member of the Carter Legacy Singers.
Milagros Ponce de León is an Associate Professor of Scenic Design and Head of the B.F.A. Program in Theatre Design & Technology in the School of Theatre at Penn State University. She studied drawing and painting at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and holds MFA degrees in both studio arts and scenic design from The University of Maryland at College Park. Her areas of specialization include scenic design, 3D drafting, scene painting, and rendering for the theatre. Recent design credits in the Washington, D.C. area include scenic designs for Detroit’67 at Signature Theatre; Silent Sky, Into the Woods, Jefferson’s Garden, and Ragtime at Ford’s Theatre; Life is a Dream at Gala Hispanic Theatre; and Miss you Like Hell, Matilda, and In the Heights at Olney Theatre Center. Additional credits include scenic designs for Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in NC, and Catalyst Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Imagination Stage, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Metro Stage, National Players, Opera Vivente, Round House Theatre, Theatre Alliance, and Studio Theatre 2nd Stage in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area. Upcoming projects include sets for Everyman Theatre, Round House Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, and Ford’s Theatre. Milagros has received five Helen Hayes Nominations for Outstanding Scenic Design in the Washington, D.C. area. She is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local-829, and an Associate Artist at Ford’s Theatre.
George Ledo is a freelance set designer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied set design at California State University Northridge and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, then served for fifteen years in the architecture field, mostly on corporate and government projects. He also served as head of the design studio and project manager at a major scenic fabrication company in upstate New York, where he designed or managed jobs for Universal Studios, Six Flags, the Washington Opera, television, Union Properties (Dubai, U.A.E.) and other clients. He has created sets for numerous production companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Douglas Morrisson Theatre, Altarena Playhouse, Stage 1, Ohlone College, Moreau Catholic High School, Junipero Serra High School, Bay Area Children's Theatre, and others. Since 2010, George has served as a judge at the annual Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival in Fremont, CA, usually in the Set Design, Graphic Design, and Build-a-set events. He also presented a Set Design (mini) Boot Camp at the EdTA National Conference in Las Vegas in 2016.
Simone Schneeberg (she/her)
Simone is a DC scenic designer and technical director. Simone started working in DC at the Theatre Lab as Assistant Technical Director of their summer program before moving to the Studio Theater, as their technical direction apprentice (Doubt, Pipeline, White Pearl) and as the acting technical director for Pass Over. Simone transitioned to scenic design, designing and building for designed and built for Monumental Theater Company (Be More Chill, Head Over Heels) and the Rainbow Theatre Project (Blue Camp) in 2019. Her most recent projects include work with Nu Sass (Twig and Bone, To Fall In Love), Edge of the Universe Players (A Number), Theater Prometheus (Motherhood) and Unexpected Stage (Fade). While primarily a scenic designer currently, Simone is a creator and builder at heart; she is looking forward to joining Rorschach Theatre on their upcoming production of Sometimes the Rain Sometimes the Sea as Technical Director in Spring 2023!
Jessica Winfield is a lighting designer, theatre electrician, and an AEA stage manager. Jes found her passion for technical theatre while studying at Morgan State University. Because she is eclectic and likes to delve into many things, she focused on the three areas that fit her talents and interest the most; lighting design for creativity and the diversity of that art discipline, theatre electrics for the technical knowledge of the instruments she was using in her designs, and Stage Management because she loves operations, being a liaison between different departments, and making things flow seamlessly. Jess designed the lights for several shows while at Morgan State and continued doing design for professional theatres and festivals such as MetroStage and the DC Fringe Show as well as designing for church events, schools, weddings, corporate events, and video production. The one thing Jess loves about lighting and every aspect of theatre is that it allows you to showcase your skills in multiple areas that might not even seem theatre-related at all and she is pleased where her studies continue to lead her in life.
Alexandra Vásquez Dheming is a Lighting Designer from El Salvador based in NYC. Alex specializes in lighting design for dance, but has also lit musical theater, straight plays, live music, live events, festivals, and art installations. She is known for her collaborations with companies such as New York Theatre Ballet and Vanaver Caravan, and her work on festivals like DanceFest, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Junior Theater Festival, and Savannah Stopover Music Festival. Alex was recently featured in San Diego Repertory Theater's New Latinx Play Festival. Alex has lit original work by renowned choreographers like Pam Tanowitz, Richard Alston, and Chase Brock; her lighting is regularly seen at Lincoln Center's Clark Studio, The Tank NYC, Center for Performance Research, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, FIAF Florence Gould Hall, Green Space Studio Theater, Kumble Theater, and the former Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center among others. Her multidisciplinary work has been shown around the United States, Spain (Museo Guggenheim Bilbao), France (Cannes Film Festival), and El Salvador. Alex’s favorite moment in performance is the involuntary gasp of an audience member during an impeccably timed blackout. She enjoys being the person in the room offering a different perspective and opening up a bigger conversation. Rhythm is intrinsic to her work, as she experiences lighting design as choreographing light. Alex holds a BFA in Production Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with minors in Dance and Design for Sustainability. She is a proud alumna of the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas (SILV), and of the Jacob’s Pillow Internship program, to which she returns yearly in different capacities. She is also the 2020/2021 Lighting Mentee at Wingspace Professional Mentorship Program by Wingspace Theatrical Design.
T. Keyinta Boyd brings 15 plus years professional experience in the areas of technical theatre, youth development and arts administration. She has worked with organizations in roles of varying degrees from Apprentice to Stage Manager, Sound Designer, Mentor, Teacher, Director, Community Programs Coordinator, and Education Coordinator. Having the opportunity to have served the arts community in all levels of organizational structure has afforded her the talent to design for all grade levels throughout Baltimore City Public Schools, the Youth Art Institute at Morgan State University, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Unchained Talent, Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center and Unchained Talent. Obtaining a B.A. in Theatre from Morgan State University, using the arts to inspire and transform her own life, she unequivocally knows how the arts can empower people to GROW and CREATE a world that fosters positive relationships of self and community; thereby, exemplifying “all the world’s a stage”.
Sarah O’Halloran is a sound designer and composer. She comes from Ireland and is based in the Washington DC area. Sarah studied music at University College Cork, Queen’s University Belfast and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. Sarah loves to compose original songs for the productions she works on as well as instrumental and electronic music in a variety of styles. Sarah has worked with professional theater companies including Theater J, 1st Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Theater Alliance, Everyman Theatre, Studio Theater and Olney Theater Center. She enjoys working with students and has taught or designed for educational projects at U.M.B.C., U.Va., U.C.C., and Imagination Stage, she has also served at G.W.U. Sarah has been nominated for Helen Hayes Awards for her work on Swimming with Whales and The Brothers Size.
Cheryl J. Williams is an educator and technical theatre professional from the Baltimore area. She is the founder of CJ Williams Consultants. Cheryl has been a professor of theatre for over 25 years, having taught a wide range of theatre courses, at various universities to include: Morgan State; University of Maryland, College Park and Baltimore County; Old Dominion University, Virginia Union University and the University of Ghana (West Africa). She also teaches the Metaphysical Interpretation of the Bible and World Religion for the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching Cheryl’s professional work includes teaching artist, director, lighting & sound designer, production/stage manager, workshop leader, motivational speaker, and videographer.
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