Project 2: Stage and Prop


“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players, They have their exits and entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.”

Jaques monologue, “As you like it” William Shakespeare

Stage:  The “Stage” is a proposal for both the “Record” performance, tailored to a specific site, audience, and season, AND an architectural host to the performance. The “Stage” will address the format, and essential atmosphere of the performance and provide the “players” (performers and audience) with stage, “exits and entrances” and the minimum essential facilities for the “Acts” and “Ages” of the place, people and city. Consider the “Stage” equivalent to a prototypical bandstand, seen through the lens of your performance. The “Stage” may be singular, multiple, condensed or distributed, static, transitory, or transformational in response to the routines and rhythms of the city and nature of the performance; but it must harness and celebrate the local conditions, to delight, entertain, inspire, to bring the city to life.


Prop:  The “Prop” is a portable furniture size component of the “Stage” at the interface between “player” and set. The “Prop” will be essential to the performance, tailored to the performers, “Stage”, site and essential technical characteristics. The “Prop” will provide a vehicle to test and explore a component of the “Stage” at 1:1, working at first through scale models and drawings, then by making test pieces, working towards a full scale prototype, before finally crafting a well honed finished component.


Site:  The “Stage and Prop” will be sited in the Bodleian precinct in the historic heart of Oxford: an open courtyard bounded by the Bodleian, Clarendon Building, an ornate boundary fence, and bi-sected by the Don’s procession marking the beginning and end of the academic year on route to the freestanding Sheldonian Theatre. While the existing activities of the site and surrounding buildings must continue, the “Stage” may intervene in the site in any way you deem to be appropriate.

Working:  Working in groups of 4-5 for yr2 and 2-3 for yr3 you will analyse, define, design, research, and document the proposal, site and experience from first inspiration to final iteration. Each group will test and explore their “Stage and Prop” proposals and prototypes on site, and will produce shared physical and digital models, and iterative design drawings/process work, but the final drawings and presentation in the portfolio will be individual, acknowledging the author of each element.


  • Visit, survey and define the proposed location for your “Stage” within the Bodleian precinct, considering the potential “players”, and seasons
  • Consolidate your “Record” proposals to define the “Stage” performance, scale of production, who the “players” are, the size of the “company”, and the audience


  • Determine the seasonal timelines, program of performance/rehearsal/preparation, tools and equipment, quantities, sizes and spaces, scale of operation, essential conditions, resources, materials and traditions, consider “front of house”, “on stage” and “backstage” activities, by visiting equivalent and recording real productions
  • Meet, record, research and document the proposed “Players” (audience and cast), their skills and needs, where they are from or going to, their history
  • Adjust and adapt the “Record” performance to embrace and respond to the Bodleian site, “Stage”, players, audience and the nature of seasonal performance
  • Visit, survey, research, draw, model, record and thoroughly interrogate the Bodleian site to define the city’s seasonal and permanent “Acts” and programs, the resources, orientation, light, landscape, sound-scape, “entrances and exits”, and how these are all woven into your proposals
  • Explore, experiment and test your ideas on site and in the studio: be the performer, be the audience, what is your set? script? or program?
  • Record the testing your ideas and proposals on site and against your conceptual, spatial, and cultural agenda and program requirements to develop each next iteration
  • Explore appropriate materials, construction, structures and environmental systems, by drawing on architectural and performance precedents to develop your own ideas


  • As well as supporting your “Stage” proposition, the “Prop” will be the vehicle for your 1st semester technology work.
  • For yr2 students the “Prop” is their “Live Project” aligned to the requirements of the U30020 Technology module; the prototype Prop forming their assessed submission
  • For yYr3 students the Prop is the test bed for Advanced Technology: materials exploration and detail component, to be assessed at the Christmas Portfolio Cross Crits


Media:  Use any media, material or technique that is appropriate to best explore, test and communicate your ideas, documenting the project in approx. 10no. A1 (or equiv) Hybrid Sheets + 10no. A1 (or equiv) Process and Testing sheets, integrating constructed, drawn, rendered, precedent and photographic elements on each sheet.


  1. Intro: 3rd Oct wk2
  2. Interim: 27th Oct wk5
  3. Review: 14th Nov wk8                     Group “Stage” + “Prop” prototype (yr2 tech assess)
  4. Yr3 Cross-Crits: 8th Dec wk11      Individual Portfolio + final “Prop” (yr3 tech assess)
  5. Yr2 Cross-Crits: 12th Dec wk12    Individual Portfolio + final “Prop”