Thesis and Proposals Written by Chris Bocchiaro

Room to Play:

Spatial Relationships and Architectural Influences in the Theatre


Chris Bocchiaro

Emerson College Honors Thesis

Spring, 2011

Advisor:  Joshua Polster, Ph. D


[Document in Full]


Herein is an account of the process I followed to complete the proposal for a new theatre space and the myriad considerations which must be taken into account in such a process. I discuss the “theory” around performance space design, both historically and contemporarily, specifically in regards to the effects of spatial relationships on the theatrical experience. The paper is informed by research into the designs of other theatres, as well as into the various works written on the subject by theatre historians and consultants.




Boylston Place Courtyard Theatre Propsal




Chris Bocchiaro, CTS

Emerson College Honors Thesis Creative Project

Spring, 2011


[Document in Full]


Here proposed is a new performance space on the Campus of Emerson College. The college has purchased property on Boylston Place and is considering options for its development. While the college has recently constructed several venues for collegiate, semiprofessional, and professional theatre, there is still extremely little mixed-use space available for student theatre, music events, spoken word events, and social events. The office of the Campus Center has identified this as a major concern and is interested in expanding their plant to provide more space for such events. This development of new space for student events has also been identified as a priority by the administration’s long-range planning committee. 




The Merry Burning of Italian Lamps:

An Exploration of the Origins of Theatrical Lighting on the Italian Renaissance Stage


Chris Bocchiaro,

Emerson College 

Fall, 2009


[Document in Full]


Pioneering American lighting designer Jean Rosenthall, when considering the question of what period in history she should most readily like to visit, found the choice simple. She would visit her oldest professional ancestors: the Italians of the Renaissance.  For, she writes, “In that hundred years (1550-1650) the major design elements of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century theater were developed." 


It is certain that thought was put into the lighting of ancient performances, but the Renaissance is the first period for which we have information on the theatrical use of artificial light. The theater designers and practitioners of that time were generous in the sharing of their mechanistic secrets. Indeed, it was an age of science and learning, and as such, everything was considered somewhat analytically, and always with the hope of improvement. Discoveries in geometry led to enlightened painters who were able to use perspective to achieve a greater realism than was previously possible. This advancement, and others, also found their way into stagecraft. The theater practitioners became as obsessed with verisimilitude as the painters and needed to develop new technologies in order to achieve it.

© 2018 by Design by Chris Bocchiaro.

Site designed by Robin M. Donovan Bocchiaro.