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No it’s not a book by Irving Welch about Scottish drug addicts, but it can be just as difficult to understand their language.

Stage plots seem to have become some sort of interpretive art form. There seems to be very few standards in how they are executed. Stage plots can help all involved to have a clear blueprint of the show. It’s should be designed to be clear and direct.

What to include in your plot

 A way to verify the most resent version of your stage plot.

A date or version number usually does the trick.

A “legend” box for any symbols/icons you will use on your stage plot.

Stage dimensions

Distance between risers and downstage edge or mic stands for lead players.

Distance between risers

Riser position, equipment on riser, player on riser and whether or not the riser needs wheels.

Format riser dimensions to be clear (example 8’x8’+12”).

When renting risers order heights in 6” increments and note them in inches.

The lowest height is going to be 6 inches.

Remember riser sections are almost always 4’x8’ in the US.

Player positions.

Microphone positions and number for input list.

Note upper and lower keyboards with stands in the correct position.

Note stacked or side by side speakers for guitar and bass.

Placement of D.I.s

Power and stage box drop positions.

Note monitor placement and number for send on input list.


 creating your plot

There are plenty of options when it comes to how you create your stage plot including some free online drawing tools like Google Drawings or Google Sketch Up ( a search for an online drawing tool will render many results). If you have access to Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint you can create basic shapes and add text inside these programs. If you’re old fashioned, use a ruler and a pen. Personally I find Adobe Illustrator to be my favorite tool for stage plots, BUT its a little pricey if this is all you will use it for.

keep in mind

Realistic images usually create a busy and hard to follow stage plot.

The more organized the information, the easier it is to understand.

Using basic shapes for everything on the plot will aide in the readability of your plot.

Using symbols and icons for common things like D.I.s, microphones and power drops help keep the stage plot clean.

Avoid cartoon pictures of people and instruments, this causes clutter and makes the plot harder to follow.

 Don’t forget A “legend” box for any symbols/icons you will use on your stage plot.

Dress up the plot to suit yourself, but remember

clarity over aesthetics.

Having a clear and comprehensive stage plot can help the show before you even start to load in for the gig.

contributed to by Nick Norris
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