Live Theatre Production: Set design (revolves, trucks, projection, multimedia, pyrotechnics, smoke machines, flying)

Live Theatre Production: Set design (revolves, trucks, projection, multimedia, pyrotechnics, smoke machines, flying)

Set Design for Live Theatre Production

Understanding Set Design: Risers, Levels, and Flats

  • Risers, Levels, and Flats provide a dynamic, visually-engaging landscape backdrop for actors.
  • Flats are used to create walls and backdrops, risers are for elevation, and levels add dynamic depth to the stage.

Revolves and Trucks

  • Revolves, also known as turntables, allow for a rapid change of scenery on stage. They are part of the stage floor and can turn in either direction.
  • Trucks are movable platforms that can be pushed on and off stage to help change the setting.

Projection & Multimedia

  • Projections can be used to create backgrounds or project images and videos to aid the narrative of the play.
  • Multimedia can also be integrated with lighting and sound techniques to further enhance the visuals of the production.


  • Pyrotechnics refer to the use of fire, fireworks, flash pots and similar effects in a production.
  • Safety is paramount; pyrotechnics should only be used by trained professionals, as they pose a potential safety risk.

Smoke Machines

  • Smoke machines provide a foggy, eerie effect and enhance atmospheric lighting techniques.
  • The use of smoke can help to illustrate various moods or environmental conditions within a scene.


  • Flying means suspending performers or set pieces from a rigging system, making it appear as if they are floating or flying.
  • This technique requires significant safety protocol and rigging expertise.

The Importance of Coordination

  • Cohesion and unity in design is critical across all elements of the set, including props, costumes, and make-up.
  • Lighting, music, and sound should also blend seamlessly with the physical aspects of the set design for an enriched theatre experience.

Evaluating Set Design

  • Being able to critically analyze and evaluate different set designs is crucial. Consider how different aspects of the design contribute to (or detract from) the overall narrative, character development, and themes of the performance.

Remember, mastering set design for live theatre production requires mastery of both creativity and the practical understanding of these tools and techniques. More importantly, it should always serve the essence of the story that the performance aims to tell.