Pragmatic considerations

In addition to solving creative or dramaturgical problems, there are many other pragmatic considerations to keep in mind when designing sets. For example, since TSDC performances don’t take place in traditional theatre settings, there is no ‘off stage’ area for performers to sit between scenes. This is an important consideration especially when working with performers for whom standing for long periods may be challenging.

In addition to furthering the narrative of the story, the ‘Waiting Area’ in We Need to Talk! provided a place for performer-advocates to sit in-between scenes.

Waiting area: We Need to Talk!

In Choose Your Destination, a ‘bus’ made of large wooden blocks served as both a site for the play’s characters to interact in as well as a place for them to be between scenes that were taking place off the bus. Likewise, chairs placed behind the performers’ apartment doors in When My Home is Your Business provided them with a ‘home’ where they could sit and rest in between scenes.

At ‘home’ behind the doors: When My Home is Your Business

There are also practical considerations that are not directly related to the dramatic needs of the play. Sets and props need to be:

  • Easy to transport to and from the performance site
  • Safe for performers to interact with
  • Readable — large enough for the audience to see and recognizable as objects
  • Constructed out of affordable and non-toxic materials


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Transforming Stories, Driving Change Copyright © by Helene Vosters, Catherine Graham, Chris Sinding is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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