Technical aspects of a theatrical production, which include lighting, scenery, costumes, and sound. While elements such as painted screens and wheeled platforms were used in the Greek theatre as early as the 5th century BCE, most innovations in stagecraft were developed in the Italian Renaissance theatre, where painted backdrops, perspective architectural settings, and numerous changes of scenery were common. Italian staging was introduced in England in 1605 by Inigo Jones for court masques. In the late 19th century, staging was influenced by the new naturalism, which called for historically accurate sets. In the 20th century, simplified scenic design focused attention on the actor. Staging techniques and the design of theatres have been greatly affected by advances in lighting, from the use of candles in the Renaissance to oil lamps in the 18th century and gas and electric lights in the 19th century. Modern stage lighting, which employs computerized control boards to achieve complex effects, can unify all the visual elements of a stage production. Seealso stage machinery.
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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.
The next known major act of stagecraft was in England where they performed renaissance drama from 1576-1642. This was the birth place of the first licensed theater in London but not long after they were closed because of an outbreak of civil war. There were three different types of theaters in London - public, private and court. The size and shape varied but many were suggested to be round theaters. It was a penny admission to stand in the pit. Prices increase for seating. Court plays were used for holidays and special occasions.
French and English restoration was the next big step for drama. Stages were taxed to enhance the depth of them. Wings were arranged on each side of the stage to suggest a long perspective on the stages. The back housed a big portrait that set the scene of each play. Many playwrights were reverting back to earlier times with dated scenes and costumes. One king of France built a theater in his palace with French builder. King Charles II granted Thomas Kikigrew the right to form an acting crew and company.
After this era all theaters converted to more modern eras and ways. Theaters were more up to date and were created with better things like fake plants and better props that made the whole experience more worthwhile. New forms of theater began to emerge such as melodrama, which was a popular singing drama. Next came the well-made play. These two types of plays would prove to stand as the most popular through most of the 19th century. Along with theaters casting, staging received great upgrades and became more proficient. Many new ones were being built. By the middle of the century over 65 permanent theaters had been built in Germany. Most of these had the technology to have rapid scene change.
Stagecraft comprises many disciplines, typically divided into seven main disciplines: