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Innovative Spaces: Black Box Theatre at UWCSEA East

Bronwyn Bye, Head of Drama, East Campus
19 December 2019

Set design for Beyond The Beautiful Forevers, UWCSEA East High School production

The set design for Beyond The Beautiful Forevers, which depicts the hardships and relationship struggles in the squatters slum of Annawadi bordering Mumbai Airport.

A room of many faces—no two productions held in the dynamic space look the same. Supported by a team of theatre-trained teachers and professionals, including student interns from a partnership with Republic Polytechnic’s Arts and Theatre Management programme, our students across the Arts disciplines in Middle and High School experience the makings of a production from start to finish, as close to industry-standard as possible.

A. Flexible space

Configuration options in the Black Box have a vast impact on audience experience. Examples include a ‘theatre in the round’ set up (where the stage is centred with the audience arranged on all sides), a ‘thrust’ configuration (where the stage is surrounded by audience on three sides), and a ‘traverse’ set up (similar to a catwalk, where audience are seated on either side).

B. Soundscaping

For an encompassing surround-sound, speakers can be directionally positioned anywhere in the theatre—whether hanging from a rig on stage, or under the seating rack. Music students also get involved in composing music for productions, by interpreting production briefs, applying appropriate musical styles, and experimenting with mixing sound design and orchestration.

C. Scenic workshops and set design

UWCSEA’s scenic design process is a unique feature of the theatre programme. Professional set designers and scenic artists work with our teacher/directors to create designs for productions. These are then built on site in our scenery workshop and constructed on the stage, giving students insight into the experience of  professional theatre making.

D. Costume design

Helmed by an in-house Costume Designer who supports the fabrication and management of costumes for productions across the campus, our on-site wardrobe department adds to the creative process of bringing productions to life.