Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Corner Blocks

Corner blocks are one of the first things I remember learning about on day 1 of Stagecraft class in college. It answers the question, "What am I looking at?"

What Is a Corner Block?
Simply put, it's an info box that is drawn in the corner of a technical drawing, or draft, and gives you an idea of what you're looking at.

Info that's typically included will be the name of the show, where it is being put on, who is putting the show on, what scale this is drawn in, and if there are more drawings that complete the design. Here are a couple of examples:

How it's Used
If you were given a technical drawing, like a light plot or a ground plan with no explanation, you'd be awfully confused. Who is in charge of this drawing in case there are any questions? Where is this going when it's built?

"This is what you asked me to build. It's specified here, 18 inches."
Photo found at
Now, if only there was some information so that the builder could have gotten it right the first time...
That's better!
BAM! There's our answer. There's our contact person. If the designer took the time and care to make himself available to the builder by simply adding this information, the builder would have known who to go to and had the means to get in touch before buying the materials and ask, "Are you sure you meant to write 'inches' instead of 'feet'?" Noticing a draftsperson's mistakes is critical to being a good builder, because it's not just about getting the job done, it's about making sure it's exactly what the client needs.

Let's take a closer look at what's involved here.

Below is a corner block that I used as a template when I was drafting all throughout college. I'll go through what each item is.
1) Theatre Company Name
Name of the organization putting on the show - High School Thespian Players? The Community Dramatic Arts Alliance? The Grand Fancypants Broadway Production Co.?
2) "Show Title"
Full name of the show itself - Anne Frank: On the Moon, The Music Man in ASL, Cyotes: The Musical
3) Author
Person who wrote the show
4) Draft Title
Is this a ground plan? Light plot? Front elevation?
5) Venue Name
Where this show is going to happen - Great Thespians' Auditorium? The Global Theatre?
6) Designer's Name
Who designed whatever this is?
7) Draftsperson's Name
Who drew whatever this is?
8) Checked
Has this been approved by anyone?
9) Date
How recent is this draft?
10) Scale
How does this compare proportionally to the real thing? What measurement on the page will equal 1"
Note: I don't know how scale is written out for metric use. But in the US it is most typical to make the scale relate things to 1 inch
11) Plate, aka Draft
How many drawings are there that make up the complete idea of this design, and which one is this in relation to the rest? This might be a scenic design that has front elevations, side elevations, a ground plan, and a sight line drawing; together those make up 4 plates, and this one might be the 1st of those 4.
12) The box outline
All of this information gets contained in one clean box. Nice and neat and all together.

It doesn't have to take up much space. The one I used is about 4"x4". Other people have their own designs that flatten it out and make it wider so they have more room for the actual draft. Some people's corner block goes straight across the bottom of the page, and includes much more information like the designer's contact info, their website, other companies involved with the production, etc. Do whatever you want and make it yours. Just be sure that it's consistent.

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