International Conference "Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theater Design & Technology

December 18 - 22, 2014


The Essence of Production Design in Thai Traditional Theatre
and the New Approach for New Audience

Research presentation, lecture and discussion by Professor Ritirong Jiwakanon (Thailand) - 
Theatre Designer, Teacher, Professor at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. 

Ritirong Jiwakanon teaches theatre production design at the Department of Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. He is also a committee of Cultural Management Program, Graduate School at Chulalongkorn University. As a professional theatre designer, he has done designs for many professional theatre companies nationally and internationally. His design credits include Dream Girls (2012), Macbeth (2011), Fame, the musical (2010), Sita-Sriram (a new interpretation of Sita from the Ramayana, 2006), Miraculous Adventure of the Conch Prince (Sung Thong, a traditional Thai play, 2005), Prism (Commemorate to ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year 2003), Turandot (Monday Magazine Critic Award of Costume Design, Canada 2002). He was graduated in Theatre Design at Yale School of Drama (1995).


Theatre in Thailand has been part of people and society in this cultural rich country for such a long time. Community, temple and royal court are the main factors to keep the theatre alive. Many performances have been created to serve religious ceremonies in temples and to praise and celebrate the monarchal functions that become center of people’s spirit. According to the political movement and the influent of the west through times, the image of traditional theatre has changed to complete the audience’s need with new form and technology. Somehow, the essence of traditional art has been neglected and theatre artists pay too much attention to the presentation instead of the art itself. One the contrary, if the tradition has been perpetuated as before, it is far more challenging to keep the audience in the theatre. In case of Thailand, this heritage is more complicated by people’s belief and custom in theatre that combined arts and religious together. 

This research is concerned of how production design in Thai traditional theatre has been flourished during the two hundreds years of Thai theatre arts in which the aim of has been represented the culture and its audience. Changes of production design in traditional theatre is consequently inextricable from changing in audience perception and today media. In order to have the “classic” survived in this modern world, the harmony between the tradition, the new technology and the understanding of the audience has been approached. 

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"