CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Church Stage Design on a Budget

ChurchProduction.com: When you watch television or go to concerts, it is amazing to see the elaborate stage settings that support the performers. The highly advanced technology used in theatrical design can make even the smallest stages look massive. Unfortunately, this technology usually comes with a price. The large-scale professional productions that I design usually have set design budgets that range from fifty thousand to over a million dollars.

5 comments:

Delaney Johnson said...

I continually find myself drawn back to articles by Church Stage Design. I'd like to say it is because of the religious content, but instead I believe the reason i keep coming back is because of the articles relativity to what we are learning here at Carnegie Mellon University. This article states that scenic design at its core is used to support what is happening on stage, and that it is usually emotional in some way, and as the article says, "This usually means that literal recreation of objects on stage may not be the most effective way to create such a supportive environment." This is similar to how our school pushes us to press thematic boundaries every day, like in the Arcade project I am completing currently. It is one thing to recreate an environment, but another to breathe new life and meaning into it. This is an experience, and what we strive to create as innovators.

Alex Talbot said...

While I've done absolutely nothing in terms of stage design for churches, I think for anybody starting out this is a great and informative article. It hits a bunch of points in a very basic way, but also is very informative in terms of that. Often, I see postings in groups online of massive church and religious productions with budgets higher than anything even Carnegie produces. To me, not at all involved with church or religious production, this has always confused me, in terms of where this funding comes from for a group that is supposed to be a nonprofit, and that is not taxed. I've heard it argued that it is intended to attract young people to the church events, but to me it just seems like a misuse of money in some ways . That said, I think that this article is a great description of how to design on a budget, and is valuable for anyone, religious or not, on how to make a quality show on a small budget.

Emily Lawrence said...

I would recommend this article to anyone who is just starting in lighting design. There are many basic, necessary tips included that should be remembered by every designer, and they are explained in a well-understood way. On the note of church stage design though, I am continually amazed by how impressive it is getting. Back in my town, I had been going to the same church for about 15 years, so I saw the transition that was made in lighting equipment specifically. It went from simply full stage front light to an almost full concert rig in just the time that I was there, and it is still amazing to see where it has come. While it is beautiful and fun to worship in this setting, I am amazed, and somewhat disappointed, that money is spent on lighting. While I would take wonderful lighting equipment any day, I would like to think for a church it is going elsewhere to help people. I have always thought that religion should be simple and personal, and a full concert rig during a Sunday service does not go hand in hand with that for me.

Julien Sat-Vollhardt said...

Why does church need stage design? I am not a religious man by far but I honestly don't like these articles that pop up every few days about church production. Every single writer of these articles treats the church gathering as a production that should be designed and teched and rehearsed and I wholeheartedly disagree, and I honestly feel extremely uncomfortable with the thought. Religion and faith are extremely powerful forces, forces which can steer people's lives and guide their entire lifestyles, and those forces are trivialized when people write about them as a show. It seems disingenuous to me as well to present such powerful ideas with such fluff and such triviality. That is not what church is for. Church should not be entertainment.

Cosette Craig said...

Stop posting these articles. There is no way a $25 set is as effective as a $50,000 one. Maybe a $500 set but no. Okay, so he dumbed set design down to a formula but I forgave it until I saw the rainbow idea. Putting a rainbow onstage doesn’t make you some magical money saving wizard of emotion and meaning. The further I get in this article, the more I imagine it written by a small child. If you find a platform in a dumpster, it’s probably in there for a reason. Why am I reading an article about painting a platform red at a church? This website doesn’t belong on the green page. It is completely foolish. I have not read a single article on here that has been useful in any way. It’s so strange to see a bunch of pretentious, bitter, uninformed “designers” making a spectacle of a church service.

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