Unmasking Theatre Design

A Designer's Guide to Finding Inspiration and Cultivating Creativity

About the Book:

Every great design has its beginnings in a great idea, whether your medium of choice is scenery, costume, lighting, sound, or projections.  Unmasking Theatre Design shows you how to cultivate creative thinking skills through every step of theatre design--from the first play reading to the finished design presentation.  This book reveals how creative designers think in order to create unique and appropriate works for individual productions, and will teach you how to comprehend the nature of the design task at hand, gather inspiration, generate potential ideas for a new design, and develop a finished look through renderings and models.  The exercises presented in this book demystify the design process by providing you with specific actions that will help you get on track toward fully-formed designs.  Revealing the inner workings of the design process, both theoretically and practically, Unmasking Theatre Design will jumpstart the creative processes of designers at all levels, from student to professionals, as you construct new production designs.

Named one of 5 Theater Books to Read by Backstage.com

What People are Saying:

"I have read other design books and, while they are valuable, [Unmasking Theatre Design] is the first that I read from start to finish.  The language and topics flowed wonderfully and I was fully engaged in what I was reading.  I feel very strongly that [this] book is an asset to me as a designer and a resource that I will suggest to other designers in the future."


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"This is an exceptional book.  There are other books covering theatrical design, both general and in specific design areas.  This one is unique in the way it covers the topic.  There is not another book like it in this subject area.  Excellent."


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"Changed the way I teach design.  I now understand--as I hadn't before--HOW designers think, and how they go about the process of design.  I also understand now how this process mirrors the creative process that is necessary in every kind of creation and invention."


Reviewed in TD&T (Theatre Design & Technology) Fall 2015:

"Porter shares a method that is firm enough for young design students seeking guidelines they can follow, yet allows space to find their own individual comfort zones."


"When students are faced with their first design project . . . how do they proceed?  When they ultimately get stuck, how do they move forward?  Why did they make the choices they made?  And are those choices valid?  Unmasking Theatre Design tackles all these questions."


"Porter clearly demonstrates that it is important for students to understand that it takes patience and hard work to develop strong designs."


"Overall, Lynne Porter has written a welcome textbook that will guide many young designers of today, as well as encourage those of us who teach design to feel comfortable reassessing our own classroom methods.  We can use Unmasking Theatre Design as our guide.  I certainly will."


--Peter Kallok, Hampshire College

Read the Full Review
Unmasking Review TDT.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [511.3 KB]

Named Book of the Month by Lighting and Sound in America, May 2015

"Is the book useful for readers who are neither academics nor beginners?  Definitely."


"The book offers enough background to make it useful for the most inexperienced designer."


"This is one of the few books about design that reinforces the nonlinear nature of the design process."


"Another highlight of the book is the comprehensive explanation of collaboration."


"Both the quotations within the body of the book and the end notes of each chapter evidence Porter's commitment to research and investigation into creativity, design, and thought processes."


"Her work that is used as examples in the book clearly indicates her expertise and talent as a scenic designer."


"Porter's book is a provocative read."

--Ellen E. Jones, Youngstown State University

Read the Full Review
Unmasking Review.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [2.6 MB]

Lynne did a presentation and book signing 

at the Fairfield University Bookstore

Poster for Lynne's Book Signing
Adobe Acrobat document [122.7 KB]
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© Lynne Porter