Management Idea/Assignment: Stage Management Floor Taping


Students are taught how to plot points on a found plan with a scale ruler. They are split into groups of 3-4 to tape out the ground plan for two acts of an opera.


  • Students became confident in using a scale ruler to replicate a full-size ground plan in the rehearsal space.
  • Students learned that accuracy in taping out rehearsal spaces is important to the process.
  • Finding accuracy in a group setting challenges the students to collaborate and refine their communication skills.
  • This project takes a substantial amount of out of class time. This helps future stage managers balance their time commitments with a group.
  • Students gain more skill and understanding at reading ground plans.


  • The biggest skill the students work on in this project is communication.
  • When they work together the communication they need to use is paramount to the success of the project.
  • Typically, one student emerges from the group as the leader. This also helps the students practice leadership skills.
  • These groups quickly learn working efficiently vs. quickly. Taking the time to plot your points first saves you time in the end.


I discuss how to plot points from a ground plan with a scale ruler (if students don’t know how to use a scale rule, instruction may need to be a separate class). A discussion on the importance of the centerline and plaster line follows. It is very important to discuss NOT using the theatre walls for reference, instead only using the PL and CL. I then show students this video (

I then have the students work on plotting all of their points. Then I assign them groups. I then assign each group an evening to tape out their ground plan. They are instructed to meet with their group outside of class to compare their points. Once the group is in agreement on all points they create a master to base their taping off. They then tape out the floor based on their previous group work.

TIME REQUIRED: One class period of explanation on how to complete project. Blocks of reserved time for students to work on project. Each group takes any where from 3-6 hours to tape the project out. The typically give them each one full evening to complete the project. Grading this project can be time consuming, as it is location dependent. I typically spend
about a half-hour grading each project first thing the next morning after their project is due.


  • ground plans that are to scale
  • scale rulers
  • lots of spike tape in various colors
  • pencils
  • tape measures
  • chalk lines

ADAPTATION: Changing group sizes as needed will help manage this. Grading this project is time consuming on the instructor. Limiting the amount of groups helps with this. This project is adjustable depending on size of class. Using only one ground plan or a simpler ground plan can make the project more accessible to level and size of class. Two students are the ideal minimum for a group, larger groups can be created if needed.

EVALUATION: I pick 20 points from each act of the opera and take a measurement from the centerline and the proscenium line. Those two measurements from the ground plan are then compared to the actual measurements from the students taping work. If one measurement is off by more than three inches, it is marked working. The students do not know which points I will be using to evaluate their work. I spend about 30-40 minutes grading each project. I take pictures as reference for each group. I give details on each area they had difficulty on and give them the exact amount their measurements are off by. Students evaluate each other from a group work standpoint.