Skip to Main Content
Harry Ransom Center homepage

  • Set rendering
    Boris Aronson (Ukranian-American, 1898–1980) [Wedding scene from “Fiddler on the Roof”] Ca. 1964. Ink, watercolor, acrylic, and crayon on paper. Boris Aronson Scenic Design Papers, Harry Ransom Center.

Words into Worlds

Creating Place in the Theatre

August 26 – February 25, 2024

Playwrights are visionary storytellers. They are the first to conjure the world of a play or musical. Through evocative descriptions, they literally and figuratively set the stage for the story to unfold. Scenic designers must then interpret and physically realize the writer's words.

The renderings and set models displayed in Words into Worlds are works of art created to serve a practical purpose—to allow other members of the production team (the director, other designers, performers, construction crew, etc.) to understand what the set will look like before it has been built.

See displays from landmark American and British theatre productions from the past century, which bring together the iconic work of writers like Adrienne Kennedy, Arthur Miller, Robert Schenkkan, and Tennessee Williams, with award-winning designs from artists like Boris Aronson, Beowulf Boritt, Jo Mielziner, and Norman Bel Geddes.

This exhibition was organized by Dr. Eric Colleary, Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts.

National Endowment for the Humanities
Any views, findings, recommendations or conclusions expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Austin PBS

The Ransom Center appreciates the generosity of our promotional partners: CultureMap, KUT 90.5 & KUTX 98.9, and Society Texas.