Course: THEA 272 Stagecraft
The Ground Plan
      and ground plan assignment
Arthur Dirks
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Red rule

A “section” is a view of an object that has been cut through to show the structure. The Ground Plan is a horizontal section with the cutting plane placed at a level that shows the most characteristic view of the shape of the set. Generally this would be as if a knife cut through the setting an arbitrary 4' above the floor of the set on all levels, cutting through the all openings. Construction above this line is represented by dashed lines, such as tops of doorways, overhanging balconies, levels above, etc.

The Ground Plan shows:

  1. The horizontal shape of the set as it sits on the stage floor.
  2. The location of all scenic elements on the stage floor.
  3. The setting in its assembled state.
  4. The identity and size of all major scenic elements.
  5. The suggested location of major floor properties and their approximate size, indicated in thin lines.
  6. Overhead construction and properties, indicated by dashed line.
  7. The swing and arc of all doors and alternate positions of other moving elements.
  8. All backings and drapins in position relative to sightlines.
  9. Location of key flying elements, including teasers, curtains, electrics, and cyclorama, if used.


The set is located on the stage in reference to two lines which are standard for each given stage:

  1. The Centerline: the center of the area where the setting is to be placed. In the proscenium theatre this line bisects the proscenium opening.
  2. The Plaster line: a line parallel to the proscenium opening coinciding with the upstage surface of the proscenium wall. Where there is no proscenium, or if a show will tour, designers often use a more flexible reference called the Set Line. All elements are specified in reference to a line at the extreme downstage extent of the setting, which is then placed in reference to some permanent theatre feature, such as the proscenium or back wall.


  1. Locate principal points of the visible components of the set and other significant reference points in their relationship to PL and CL.
  2. All walls, windows, platforms, and other elements are then dimensioned, placing dimensions outside and upstage of the setting as much as possible.
  3. Diminsion heights of platforms by simply placing the dimension in inches, in the form +x" (circled) in key places on the levels, such as at access points. The figure indicates distance above the stage floor (regardless of rise from surrounding levels). A - designation might be used if a level, such as an apron extension, dropped below the stage floor level. This convention is used for walking or floor surfaces, not furniture tops.



As scene designer for This Property Is Condemned , you have developed a model that expresses your ideas for the play. The director and other designers have agreed on the concepts and look of the show, and now you must provide the basic technical drawings for the stage manager and shop.

Using the project theatre for which your model was constructed, produce a ground plan in a scale of ¼”=1'-0”. Grading is on accuracy and precision, standards and conventions, completeness and correctness, and cleanliness.

  1. Draw the theatre:
  2. Draw the setting:
    Refer to your model. You may modify your design as you feel is appropriate.
  3. Dimension the setting and elements.
  4. Finish with labels, borders, title box.

All original content protected by copyright © Arthur L. Dirks, Taunton, MA., 2005.