References and Handbooks


Active Member
What are everyone's recommendations for reference books for various technical theatre disciplines?

(In various posts, I've seen a few mentioned, but the authors aren't usually listed, and I'm not even sure if they are the proper titles.)

For my own part, I've found Daniel Ionazzi's The Stagecraft Handbook (available at my local library) very useful for my needs. Going to Amazon, I find numerous books on the subject – but which ones are the best? Or, any to avoid?




The Backstage handbook is a must for any technician.Scene Design and Stage Lighting (Parker, Wolf, Block) is an old standard, and the new edition has been expanded. The Gillette book is excellent too; it is a shame I can't think of the title and it is currently at home. I am a big fan of books and don't own nearly enough. Those are my top three picks for theatre books. In addition, a good knot book is good to have, shop math, and a drafting book for reference.



Well-Known Member
I like the Stage Rigging Handbook alot.


Whenever I'm teaching someone the basics of set design, the first thing I do is show them the Backstage Handbook (previously mentioned) and tell them that while desigining set it is their bible. Also helps to have the commonly referenced parts (appropriate stair ratios especially) bookmarked.


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i have recently read Stage lighting step by step by Graham Walters and Technical Theater for nontechnical people by Drew Campbell i found bothe to be informative and helpful !


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'A Syllabus of Stage Lighting' by Stanley McCandless 1964 is very good. still the best way to learn is experience.


Active Member
avkid, i skimmed technical theatre for nontechnical people in a bookstore once, and found that it was.... for nontechnical people, it gave a basic synopsis of everything, but did not teach details. for example i dont think it got into mic placement, equalizing or alot of other things that are important to mixing sound, i found it to be more of an overview, probably good for teaching but not that great for established techs. then again, i skimmed in a bookstore so i may be wrong.


if you are doing set design i also like John Blurton's Scenery: Drafting and Construction book is good but you might have to interpet some of the terms because it is written by a british writter.

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