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Posted by The Ecumaniacs on March 5, 2013 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (1)

Stagecraft is a generic term referring to the technical aspects of theatrical, film, and video production. It includes, but is not limited to, constructing and rigging scenery, hanging and focusing of lighting, design and procurement of costumes, makeup, procurement of props*, stage management, and recording and mixing of sound. Stagecraft is distinct from the wider umbrella term of scenography*. Considered a technical rather than an artistic field, it relates primarily to the practical implementation of a designer's* artistic vision.

In its most basic form, stagecraft is managed by a single person (often the stage manager* of a smaller production) who arranges all scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound, and organizes the cast. At a more professional level, for example modern Broadway* houses, stagecraft is managed by hundreds of skilled carpenters, painters, electricians, stagehands, stitchers, wigmakers, and the like. This modern form of stagecraft is highly technical and specialized: it comprises many sub-disciplines and a vast trove of history and tradition.

The majority of stagecraft lies between these two extremes. Regional theatres* and larger community theatres* will generally have a technical director and a complement of designers, each of whom has a direct hand in their respective designs.

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Props/Theatrical Property

A theatrical property, commonly referred to as a prop, is an object used on stage by actors to further the plot or story line of a theatrical production. Smaller props are referred to as "hand props". Larger props may also be set decoration, such as a chair or table. The difference between a set decoration and a prop is use. If the item is not touched by a performer for any reason it is simply a set decoration. If it is touched by the actor in accordance to script requirements or as deemed by the director, it is a prop.

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Scenography relates to the study and practice of design for performance.

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A designer is a person who designs. More formally, a designer is an agent that "specifies the structural properties of a design object".[1] In practice, anyone who creates tangible or intangible objects, such as consumer products, processes, laws, games and graphics, is referred to as a designer.

Classically, the main areas of design were only painting, sculpture and architecture, which were understood as the major arts. The design of clothing, furniture and other common artifacts were left mostly to tradition or artisans specializing in hand making them.

With the increasing complexity of today’s society, and due to the needs of mass production where more time is usually associated with more cost, the production methods became more complex and with them the way designs and their production is created. The classical areas are now subdivided in smaller and more specialized domains of design (landscape design, urban design, exterior design, interior design, industrial design, furniture design, cloth design, and many more) according to the product designed or perhaps its means of production.

The education, experience and genetic blocks that form the base of a competent designer is normally similar no matter the area of specialization, only in a later stages of training and work will designer diverge to a specialized field. The methods of teaching or the program and theories followed vary according to schools and field of study. Today, a design team, no matter the scale of the equipment, is usually composed by a master designer (the head of the team) that will have the responsibility to take decisions about the way the creative process should evolve, and a number of technical designers (the hands of the team) specialized in diverse areas according to the product proposed. For more complex products, the team will also be composed of professionals from other areas like engineers, advertising specialists, and others as required. The relationships established between team members will vary according proposed product, the processes of production, the equipment available, or the theories followed during the idea development, but normally they are not too restrictive, giving an opportunity to everyone in the team to take a part in the creation process or at least to express an idea.

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Stage Management

Stage management is the practice of organizing and coordinating a theatrical production. It encompasses a variety of activities, including organizing the production and coordinating communications between various personnel (e.g., between director and backstage crew, or actors and production management). Stage management is a sub-discipline of stagecraft.

A stage manager is one who has overall responsibility for stage management and the smooth execution of a production. Stage management may be performed by an individual in small productions, while larger productions typically employ a stage management team consisting of a head stage manager, or "Production Stage Manager", and one or more assistant stage managers.

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Broadway Theatre

Broadway theatre,[n 1] commonly called simply Broadway, is a theatrical performance presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City.[1] Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

The Broadway theatre district is a popular tourist attraction in New York. According to The Broadway League, Broadway shows sold approximately $1.081 billion worth of tickets in calendar year 2012, compared with $1.037 billion for 2010. Attendance in 2012 stood at 12.13 million.

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Regional Theater in the United States

A regional theater, or resident theater, in the United States is a professional or semi-professional theater company that produces its own seasons. The term regional theatre most often refers to a professional theatre outside of New York City. A regional theater may be a non-profit, commercial, union, or non-union house.

Regional theaters often produce new plays and challenging works that do not necessarily have the commercial appeal required of a Broadway production. Companies often round out their seasons with selections from classic dramas, popular comedies, and musicals. Some regional theaters have a loyal and predictable base of audience members which can give the company latitude to experiment with a range of unknown or "non-commercial" works. In 2003, Time magazine praised regional theatres in general, and some top theaters in particular, for their enrichment of the theatre culture in the United States. Some regional theaters serve as the "out of town tryout" for Broadway-bound shows, and some will even accept touring broadway shows, though those more typically play at commercial road houses.

All nonprofits must have a mission statement, which means that the type of plays staged at each regional theater varies dramatically. While some are devoted to the classics, others only produce new work, or American work, or something else entirely depending on the vision of the organization's leadership as well as its founding charter.

Many regional theaters operate at least two stages: a main stage for shows requiring larger sets or cast, and one or more other stages (often studio theaters or black box theaters) for smaller, more experimental or avant-garde productions. In addition to box-office revenue, regional theatres rely on donations from patrons and businesses, season ticket subscriptions, and grants from foundations and government. Some have criticized regional theatres for being conservative in their selection of shows to accommodate the demographics of their subscribers and donors. However, regional theaters are often much more experimental than that commercial theaters that rely solely on ticket sales. The LORT theaters represent the not-for-profit theatres in the country that pay wages to artists. Due to audience feedback, artistic staff, and a theater's history, each theater may develop its own reputation both in its city and nationally.

Some regional theatres commit to developing new works and premiering new plays. Theatres that develop new work, like Long Wharf Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, often work to move their productions to Broadway venues in New York. They also educate young audiences through educational outreach programs that teach the basics of the dramatic arts. Cooperative programs with nearby university theatre programs are also common at regional theatres. For example, the Asolo Repertory Theatre is a member of LORT and partners with Florida State University in operating the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

The two major organizations that help to maintain the general welfare of resident theatre in the United States are the League of Resident Theatres(LORT) and the Theatre Communications Group(TCG). These organizations encourage communication and good relations between their members and in the community, as well as promoting a larger public interest and support of regional theatre.

There are currently 74 LORT theatres located in every major U.S. market, including 29 states and the District of Columbia. LORT acts on behalf of its members in matters pertaining, but not limited to; collective bargaining with unions such as Actors’ Equity Association, United Scenic Artists, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, representation before government agencies on problems of labor relations, and the handling of disputes between members and their employees or union representatives.

Similar in purpose is the Theatre Communications Group. TCG’s mission is to “increase the organizational efficiency of our member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field, and promote a larger public understanding of and appreciation for the theatre.” TCG’s constituency has grown to encompass more than 460 members throughout the United States. Members benefit from opportunities to receive grants, attend various workshops and conferences, and gain insight into the not-for-profit industry through research. TCG also publishes the American Theatre Magazine, the ARTSEARCH online employment bulletin, and dramatic literature.

In recognition of the importance of regional theatres in America, the American Theatre Wing gives a Regional Theatre Tony Award to one regional theatre each year during the Tony Awards.

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Community Theatre

Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities—its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community. It may refer to theatre that is made entirely by a community with no outside help, or to a collaboration between community members and professional theatre artists, or to performance made entirely by professionals that is addressed to a particular community. Community theatres range in size from small groups led by single individuals that perform in borrowed spaces to large permanent companies with well-equipped facilities of their own. Many community theatres are successful, non-profit businesses with a large active membership and, often, a full-time professional staff. Community theatre is often devised and may draw on popular theatrical forms, such as carnival, circus, and parades, as well as performance modes from commercial theatre. Community theatre is understood to contribute to the social capital of a community, insofar as it develops the skills, community spirit, and artistic sensibilities of those who participate, whether as producers or audience-members.

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The Ecumaniacs Panto Group are always looking for new members!

Posted by The Ecumaniacs on February 28, 2013 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Ever wanted to be on stage doing the look behind you thing? Well, we are looking for new members to join us in our latest production. We need both speaking and non speaking parts, people who can do music, and people who might like to work back stage too. We even need people on teas and coffees!

Definition of PANTOMIME as given by Microsoft Encarta?

Posted by The Ecumaniacs on February 28, 2013 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

All text is © and ® 1998 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Pantomime, art of dramatic representation using facial expressions and body movements rather than words. In the open-air theaters of ancient Greece and Rome, where the audience could see more easily than it could hear, mime was an important element of acting. Pantomime was essential to commedia dell'arte, an improvised comedy that began in 16th-century Italy. Pantomime continued in the 17th- and 18th-century harlequinade, an offshoot of the commedia dell'arte, which depicted the adventures of Harlequin; his sweetheart, Columbine; and her father, Pantaleone. The pantomime eventually emerged as an elaborately staged spectacle with dialogue, song, dance, acrobatics, and other elements from the English music hall.


In the 20th century two French actors, Étienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau, were outstanding mimes. Actors in early 20th-century silent motion pictures, including Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, relied entirely on mime to convey the story. A group of actors, including Bill Irwin, David Shiner, and Bill Berky, became known as new vaudevillians and helped revitalize mime performance during the 1980s and early 1990s.


Commedia Dell'arte, form of professional theater, one of the earliest and most influential in Europe, originating in northern Italy in the 1550s and flourishing for 200 years. In their improvised comedies, Commedia troupes relied on stereotypical characters, masks, broad physical gestures, and clowning to play to large, diverse crowds.


The stock character types of the Commedia were instantly recognizable. Lecherous Arlecchino wore a black, snub-nosed mask, was extremely acrobatic, and possessed the cunning of an amoral child. Pantalone, a cheap and gullible merchant, attempted to disguise his old age and attract women by wearing tight-fitting Turkish clothes. The Doctor used meaningless Latin phrases and prescribed dangerous remedies. Endlessly boasting of his victories in war and love, the Captain always proved to be a coward and an inane lover. A pot-bellied rascal, Pulcinella concocted outrageous schemes to satisfy his desires. Columbine, a servant or wife of one of the Old Men, demonstrated intelligence and charm in a world of stupidity and misunderstanding. Although the governments of Spain and France attempted to censor and regulate this popular theater form, the physical humor and character types of the Commedia were eventually incorporated in conventional theater.


Marceau, Marcel (1923- ), French mime, considered to have almost single-handedly revived the ancient art of pantomime. He was born in Strasbourg. In 1946 he enrolled at the School of Dramatic Arts in Paris, where he studied with Étienne Decroux. In 1947 he created his famous mime character, Bip. Marceau's one-man show was probably the outstanding success of the 1955-1956 theatrical season in New York City, and he has since toured the United States many times.

NODA The National Operatic and Dramatic Association

Posted by The Ecumaniacs on February 28, 2013 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)





The National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) was founded in 1899 and has a membership of 2500 amateur theatre groups and 3000 individual enthusiasts throughout the UK, staging musicals, operas, plays, concerts and pantomimes in a wide variety of performing venues, ranging from the country’s leading professional theatres to village halls.


NODA is divided into eleven regions, each headed by a regional councillor who sits on the national council (the ruling body of the Association), supported by a network of regional representatives and officers. These 190 volunteers are the vital link to the grass roots of the Association, the amateur theatre groups themselves. The Association is administered from its Headquarters in Peterborough, with a knowledgeable and friendly staff able to deal with virtually any enquiry relating to amateur theatre.


There is a broad spectrum of ages involved in amateur theatre nationwide, from a burgeoning number of youth groups to adult companies which meet the needs of all levels of both performers, whether dramatic or musical, and enthusiasts involved backstage, front of house or in administration. Each production created is a genuine community event.


NODA aims:

To give a shared voice to the amateur theatre sector

To help amateur societies and individuals achieve the highest standards of best practice and performance

To provide leadership and advice to enable amateur theatre to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century


Benefits of membership include access to NODA’s advice service at national and regional level, access to the members’ area of the NODA website, representation to government, funding agencies, rightsholders and the media, and access to conferences, workshops and seminars to help share information on best practice. NODA also holds an annual residential Summer School (with bursaries available) offering training from professional tutors in acting, music directing, musical theatre, stage management and other courses for performers, directors and technicians. It publishes regular regional magazines and its quarterly NODA National News, and holds annual national and regional Programme and Poster competitions to encourage the highest standards in design. The NODA Library and Meeting Room provides access to a comprehensive research archive of scores, libretti and reference books, as well as an attractive room for meetings.


NODA’s trading arm, NODA Limited, acts as a mechanism for raising additional funds for the Association. Its publishing department, NODA Pantomimes, offers over 100 entertaining scripts by such popular authors as Leonard Caddy, Peter Denyer, Stephen Duckham, Ron Hall, Mark Llewellin, Peter Long & Keith Rawnsley, Robert Marlowe, John Morley and David Swan, and other publications including an exciting musical The Slipper and the Rose, and practical guides for performers and directors. It also offers Long Service Awards, and discounts on playscripts, libretti and scores, theatre books from the catalogue of A & C Black, make-up from Charles H. Fox, and telephone bills through Class Systems by up to 50% below the BT standard rate (with 5% of all call charges donated to NODA).


1999 saw NODA celebrating their centenary.