Behind the Scenes: Journal of Theatre Production Practice

Document Type



The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University

contains vocational education training programmes including technical design

courses with broad reach covering arts administration, stage management, stage

lighting, sound design, set and costume design. In an unsettling problematic,

teachers and students in the broadly themed Production and Design courses often

find themselves isolated from the other creative disciplines or battle with the

perception that their work is in fact not creative but entirely the technical

implementation of ‘someone’s else’s vision’. This approach seems to dismiss the

creative thinking required in the development and orchestration of the design and

denies the complexity inherent in anything ‘technical’. This paper will address this

disparity by drawing from the perceptions of a select number of current staff from

Production and Design subjects. We understand that this is a very specific take on

the subject from a small number of interested folk, in fact it is deliberately

idiosyncratic and narrow in research scope, and in no way indicates the viewpoints of

the Australian production and design community at large. Rather, we put forward a

particular point of view, given at a particular time, in order to argue that there is merit

in addressing what we see as a ‘hierarchy of value’ and seek further conversation

about how we may find a way that the technical/mechanical and the creative are not

considered as mutually exclusive. By doing so this would not only be a pedagogical

shift, but a movement in cultural paradigm.