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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Jack and the Beanstalk

Illustration of the character Jack looking up at a giant eyeball peering at him through a castle window, with a large vine encircling the castle wall.

The Scenic Design Graduate Students at Penn State’s College of Arts and Architecture proudly present their representation of the beloved story “Jack and the Beanstalk”!

Inspired by Flora Annie Steel’s 1918 edition of Jack and the Beanstalk, the collaborative team of MFA Scenic Design candidates and BFA Lighting Design students from the Penn State School of Theatre used their collective skills, knowledge, and creativity to create a storybook world for Jack and his beanstalk in the windows of the Downtown Theatre. Audience members can view the display and experience the world of Jack at their own pace by listening to a narration of the story, reading along, or discovering the plot along the visual journey of scenic elements.

The Graduate Scenic Designers led this collaboration, applying skills learned in their design studio classes and assistantships to create this storytelling installation. The physical retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk explores scale, color, texture, and shape in crafting a display with performative visuals. Motivated by a desire to create a visual, theatrical narrative, this unique experience provided the designers with the opportunity to explore a range of practical applications of skills, including 3D printing and modeling, set dressing, properties crafting, drafting, and scenic art. It was also an excellent opportunity to collaborate with a team, coordinate fabrication of elements, and foster strong communication skills.

More information, including process photos, creator bios, and a QR code to listen to the story, can be found here.

On view between April 10–May 9, 2021.