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Pre-Qualified Structures for the Stage

This course identifies prequalified structures in theatre set design and responsibilities of using them. Themes covered include understanding loads on platforms, structural considerations, sheet goods, stick lumber, framing, legs and supports, 2x4-framed platforms and stressed-skin panels (“triscuits”), pre-manufactured platforming.

After completing the course students will be able to:

  • How builds are made in an entertainment setting
  • Why things are built the way they are in an entertainment environment
  • Safety that comes with building
  • An engineering understanding of the building process in the entertainment industry

Course Delivery

Pre-Qualified Structures for the Stage is a 5-week long course that is taught asynchronously, meaning students can access the course whenever best fits with their schedules. Students have access to the course for six months.

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Meet the Instructor

Rich Dionne is an associate professor of practice and faculty technical director specializing in scenery automation and show control systems. Additionally, he mentors Multidisciplinary Engineering students concentrating in Theatre Engineering, and is the department production manager. He has a passion for both the art of theatre and the science and engineering of making theatre happen. Rich has served as the technical director for numerous productions in the Department of Theatre; prior to coming to Purdue, Richard was the production manager and resident sound designer at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, where he mounted numerous productions at various indoor and outdoor venues, including a nationally-recognized educational touring company. Additionally, he has served as the technical director for Berkshire Theatre Festival, Alpine Theatre Project, Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, and Dorset Theatre Festival, mounting critically-acclaimed productions including The Whipping Man, Barefoot in the Park, Amadeus, Night of the Iguana, Avenue Q, The Illusion, and Death of a Salesman.

Rich is the co-director of Purdue’s Fusion Studio for Entertainment and Engineering with his colleague Dr. Mary Pilotte. The Fusion Studio connects industry leaders with scholars and practitioners, provides space for development and exploration, and inspires pedagogical innovation at the nexus of engineering and live entertainment.

Rich is the author of Project Planning for the Stage: Tools and Techniques for Managing Extraordinary Performances (available from Southern Illinois University Press) and is co-author with Michael Gillette of the eighth edition of Theatrical Design and Production (available from McGraw-Hill). He is the Commissioner of Technical Production of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology and an ETCP-Certified Theatre Rigger (#2928).

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Course At A Glance

Modality: Asynchronous, self-paced
Access: 6 months
Course Fee: $500
Who Should Enroll:
    • High School Theater Teachers
    • College Theater Professors
    • Local Theater Owners/Managers
    • Stage Managers
    • Local Theater Directors
    • Performing Artists
    • Theater Technical Directors
    • Venue Owners