I'v been looking for some theories to back my thesis on 'sound design and application for the theatre', but I couldn't get any. Please can anyone help me with any theory of sound for stage play? I've used many search engines but to no avail. It's going to be quiet difficult to buy anything online from my country. But if anyone has read or has any material on they should please share it with me with it.

  • It's a bit unclear what you are asking. Can you give a bit more detail as to what particular areas of theatrical sound design theory you are looking for?
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 15:02
  • Well, I don't really have a clear understanding of that too, I'm just looking for a thoery that supports theatre sound design, like aural manupulation or soundscapes for the theatre. Other technical theatre fields (lighting, costuming, make-up...), have some theories backing their application and styles in the theatre. I don't know if you understand...? Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 17:21
  • I am actually writing a thesis on appraising sound design and application in theatre performances, as a requirment, there has to be some theoretical framework to support my research. Thanks Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


It's not an area I know much about, but in the UK there is an Association of Sound Designers for theatrical sound designers. They maybe able to point you in the right direction or give you some useful contacts. Their website is: http://www.theasd.uk/


Perhaps some historical background could be a fun and easy way to look at the theory behind things. See the famous sound effects in Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard from the late 19th century as a foundational moment in the theory of sound design.

As far as design: Sound design for the theater has been diagetic and musical for a long time - song and dance are in live theater since the beginning of theater, and likewise devices like drums or special sheets being used for the sounds of thunder have existed without any "theoretical" basis all along...yet the role of a modern sound designer goes beyond those concerns to mediate the audiences relationship with the story in a wide variety of ways. There are as many different ways as different plays. Again a useful way to explain theoretically would be to look at an example play.

As far as application: the guiding principal behind most theatrical sound design reinforcement is to create a rich, immersive, detailed, coherent audio experience that feels unified with onstage action. Yet at the same time, each audience member from the front to the back of the house has to share this experience as closely as possible. How to deploy a surround system in a theater is an art that I only ever learned from watching better sound designers do it - in other words, I don't know where the theory is written down.

This article is about film sound design but builds some useful theoretical scaffolding around the creative role of a sound designer- in other words, it could furnish good quotes for you and is from a reputable source:



Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.