Theatre Job Descriptions

The Director of a play is responsible for the total concept of the production. Although many individuals contribute to the creation of the final product, the Director is the lead visionary which everything funnels through to create a cohesive whole. The Director is responsible to the Producer for the delivery and interpretation of the show's artistic elements by opening night in a financially responsible manner.

The Director's vision is shaped through consultation meetings, both in the conceptual stages and on-going production meetings, with every member of the Creative Team and the Production Team. Implicit in these meetings will be the notice by the Director of any unique technical, design, or promotional requests or strategies that can be delivered within the budgetary and time restrictions.

The Director’s job includes pre-rehearsal preparation, such as interpreting the script, relevant research, casting, scheduling of activities during rehearsals, creating a preliminary prop lists and requirements for rehearsal items.

They must work with a voice coach and choreographer/movement coach as the needs arise.

The Director must attend all scheduled Production Meetings and maintain production correspondence with relevant parties, either directly or through the assigned Stage Manager. This will include any changes or developments occurring in rehearsal that may affect any technical, design, or promotional elements of the production.

The Director should aslo be reasonably available so as to participate in press interviews, radio/ television spots, and the like.

UP Requirements:

Respect both the production policies of University Players and the responsibility of the Director to exhibit standards of courtesy and discipline to the cast and crew.

In matters pertaining to the concept, promotion, and execution of the production, the director shall have the final word insofar as the budget and time permits.

Final approval of all plans for designs and copy shall normally be initialled by the director. The director is then expected to adhere to the approved plans and copy.

Any issues occurring between the director of the production and any member of the production staff which cannot be resolved will be referred to the Director of the School of Dramatic Art.

The Producer is responsible for the coordination of all the business components throughout the process of mounting a theatre production. These duties include:

  • all financial management including raising the money required to fund a production, controlling the resources and expenditures of a production,  allotting and enforcing budgets for each department
  • handles the business and legal end of employing members of the Creative and Production Teams
  • securing playscript rights, rehearsal space and performance venue
  • supervising administrative staff and their work, including publicity & marketing, box office sales and auditorium maintenance
  • collaborates with the director and all staff to plan a production timeline and deadlines for various aspects of the production to ensure a successful show opening and run. The producer and director oversee this timeline, with periodic re-assessment and modifications as needed.

The role of Producer as it pertains to University Players is undertaken by the Director of the School of Dramatic Art.

In many theatre companies, the Production Manager (PM) and Technical Director (TD) roles are merged into one job. This is the case within University Players where the position is called the Technical & Production Coordinator.

The Production Manager's role is to manage an entire production from beginning to end. This goes beyond the physical aspects of a production and includes the people, the resources, the facility, the calendar and the budget. The Production Manager oversees the work of the design departments and technicians and is responsible for supervising, coordinating and balancing the technical needs of the director, designers and department heads, with an eye on the production budget and the group's resources of manpower, time, space and equipment.

Theatre Production Managers lead all production efforts including hiring, supervising all staff and crew. They also coordinate with other theatre personnel to ensure the efficiency of the production process.

A production manager works with designers, the technical crew, and the management team to make sure the technical elements of a show are completed safely, on time, and on budget.

 

In many theatre companies, the Production Manager (PM) and Technical Director (TD) roles are merged into one job. This is the case within University Players where the position is called the Technical & Production Coordinator.

The Technical & Production Coordinator is responsible to the Producer or Production Manager for the organizing and costing of the technical needs of the show - materials for the set, lights, sound, equipment rentals and special effect needs. The Technical Director manages and directs the crew, coordinates the lighting technicians, the sound technicians, the set builders to keep everyone working together to meet deadlines. The Technical Director works with the designers and technicians to make technical rehearsals work smoothly up to the final dress rehearsals, previews and opening night.

They supervise and maintain lighting and sound equipment, rigging equipment, and stocks of scenery and properties. Assist the Master Carpenter in maintaining stocks of construction materials. In conjunction with the Master Carpenter, maintain a current file of theatrical supply houses, lumber yards, etc. and ensure the proper maintenance of all tools and power equipment.

The Technical & Production Coordinator makes recommendations regarding repairs and replacement and on capital equipment expenditures for the lighting, sound, scenery, and property areas to the Producer. In consultation with the Director of the production arrange for, schedule and chair all production meetings. Establish the production schedule in consultation with the Director of the production and other members of the production staff, and be responsible for the completion of technical elements according to the production schedule deadlines.

With the Master Carpenter be responsible for the construction and rigging of scenic designs as furnished by the Scenic Designer. Conduct any necessary scenic and rigging repairs incurred during the run of the production. Share the supervision of strikes with the Master Carpenter, Prop Master and assist in teaching general workshop and theatre safety and procedures. This will include instruction in power tool usage.

The Technical & Production Coordinator must also be present for all technical rehearsals to train and supervise pertinent student assistants and running crews and verify the proper light and sound cuing notations to be used by the Stage Manager and running crews. With the Stage Manager and his/her designate, ensure that the floor plan as laid out in the rehearsal area and on the stage are correct and to scale.

 

In conference(s) with the Director, the Scenic Designer creates the scenic design for the production that can be executed within the time and budget constraints. Technical & Production Co-ordinator and Master Carpenter will each be furnished with a complete set of scaled plans as necessary for the successful and accurate execution of the design. These plans include a scaled colour rendering or maquette; ground plan(s); cross section(s); elevations; detailed schematic/rigging drawings (as needed); designs for furniture, set props, or hand props needed to be constructed, or adapted from stock. These will be created in accordance with the Associated Designers of Canada standards of practice - Scenic design. (ADC borrows heavily from graphic standards adopted by USITT - The United States Institute for Theatre Technology).

The Scenic Designer will also supply specifications on special building materials and a listing of painting materials, quantities and colours sufficiently prior to the scheduled start of production and painting.

The Designer will furnish the Director of the Production with a scaled ground plan(s) and either a painted maquette or an accurately scaled colour rendering. In addition, furnish sketches of any other settings or adaptations to the main setting not covered by either the scenic model or the rendering.

The Scenic Designer will attend all production meetings; remain on call to help solve any problems; supervise the painting of the set; be present at the set-up in the theatre/performance space; and attend all technical rehearsals (and others as necessary) to ensure that the design is complete and working.The

In conference(s) with the Director, the Costume Designer creates the costume, hair & make-up design for the production that can be executed within the time and budget constraints. The Designer will furnish the Director with colour renderings (or photographs of rental/borrowed items) accompanied by fabric swatches or details of materials being used to illustrate design concepts for the production. These will be created in accordance with the Associated Designers of Canada standards of practice - Costume Design. Upon approval, the Director will initial each drawing as acknowledgement of acceptance.

The Costume Designer is responsible for the purchasing of fabrics, and other materials required for building, or the renting of costumes where applicable.

The Costume Designer must supervise the cutting, construction, fitting, and final trimming of all costumes; supervise and direct the work of the Assistant to the Costume Designer, Student Assistants, Wardrobe Mistress/Master, Hair & Make-up Supervisor and student crews.

The Costume Designer will attend all production meetings; remain on call to help solve any problems; conduct a quick-change rehearsal (if required); and be present at dress rehearsals (and others as necessary) to ensure that the costumes are complete and working.

Recommendations of the purchasing of new equipment for the costume shop and being responsible for ensuring the security, cleanliness, and maintenance of the costume facilities also fall under the Costume Designer’s purview.

The Lighting Designer (LD) works in close association with the Director to evolve the lighting design for the production that can be executed within the time and budget constraints. The Technical & Production Co-ordinator will be furnished with a complete set of scaled plans and accompanying paperwork as necessary for the successful and accurate execution of the design.  Thes plans will include a complete lighting plot on a ¼” or ½” scale; a full instrument schedule which will include specific notations regarding ganging, focusing, and gelling of lights.These will be created in accordance with the Associated Designers of Canada standards of practice - Lighting Design.

The Lighting Designer must attend all production meetings; supervise the hanging, plugging, gelling and focusing of the lighting instruments; train & supervise the master electrician & lighting crew on the programming and operation of the lighting board; and attend all technical and dress rehearsals to ensure that the design is complete and working.

The Projection Designer is responsible for producing all moving and still images that are displayed during a live performance; this includes acquiring stock photos and video, as well as creating original material. This content must then be edited together in the designer’s software of choice, and loaded to the media server that will deliver content to the projectors. Depending on the scope of the show, the requirements of the Projection Designer may be very limited or quite extensive. If the production calls for it, the designer may be responsible for programming the media server, or this task may be delegated to a specialist who serves under the designer. Together with the Technical Director the Projection Designer will spec out the necessary media equipment and establish a budget. He or she also lays out the plan for hanging or mounting projectors and sets projection angles and parameters. Working under the supervision of the Director the Projection Designer collaborates closely with audio, scenic, and lighting departments to ensure fluidity of projection during the show and to see to it that the various technical elements work together, not in competition.

It is the Projection Designer’s job to instruct video crew members how to properly maintain equipment and monitor the artistic integrity of the projection elements for the run of the production.

For the purposes of University Players, in the abscence of a dedicated position, the duties of a Projection Designer falls on the Scenic Designer or Technical Director

The Sound Designer is responsible for both the conceptual and technical design of all auditory elements, except original music. They are responsible for planning, designing and creating sound effects, soundscapes, pre-show and intermission music which support the director's vision and takes into account budgets and equipment limitations. To evolve the sound concept of a theatrical play, the designer may be required to select existing songs, as well as creating the recorded sound effects that support the action on stage and amplify the Director's intended emotion in the scene. They also help the director to select music that helps to bridge scene changes or transitions. For musicals, operas, and concerts, this person is also tasked with determining how the audio signals are mixed through the front of house console and delivered to the stage monitors and audience speakers.

In the technical rehearsal, the sound designer fine-tunes and sets the timing and levels of sound cues in consultation with the Director, the Stage Manager and Technical Director. He or she doesn’t run the console during performances, but trains the engineer and composes cues for the technician to follow that detail timing, fade, levels, and compression.

Order seasonal and individual production building materials (i.e., lumber, hardware, glue) so as to complete the scenic designs as drawn.

Supervise the construction of all settings, set properties, and furniture as needed.

Be responsible with the Technical and Production Co-ordinator for the set-up and strike of all settings and any necessary scenic and rigging repairs incurred during the runs of the productions.

Be responsible for the maintenance of the construction workshop, and all machines and equipment contained therein.

Train and supervise student crews and assistants as required. Be responsible for teaching general safety procedures and working practice in the workshops and theatre. This will include the proper use of power tools.

With the Technical and Production Co-ordinator, maintain a current file of all scenery pieces and units and maintain a current list of theatrical supply houses, lumber yards, etc.

The Scenic Artist is essentially a set painter who is responsible for interpreting the Scenic Designer's renderings and model concerning the color and texture of the scenery’s surfaces.

The Scenic Artist works under the direction of the Scenic Designer to paint sets, backdrops, furnishings, and some props for stage productions. If the design calls for it, the Scenic Artist is also are responsible for the application of certain finishing materials. The Scenic Artist meets with the Scenic Artist to discuss the designs and determine the color palette and materials, techniques, and completion deadlines. He or she may be asked to provide samples or trials of finishes to be applied to certain pieces before executing the design on a large scale; this is to ensure proper application and to ensure that the look is consistent with the Designer’s vision.

The Props Master is responsible for borrowing, buying, or building or adapting stage properties (props) and set dressing (furnishings, decor and curtains) for both rehearsal and performance of a stage production. This individual is part artist and part technician; they are a treasure-hunter and master craftsman who, in consultation with the Director and design team, establishes the desired look and feel of the production.

The Props Master reviews the script and makes a list of all required items the cast must interact with. For period-specific shows, this person will do research to identify the emblematic style of the era and ensure all props are period-appropriate. When the script calls for a very specific item, the Props Master leads a team of technicians in fabricating objects.

The Props Master is responsible for providing the Production Manager with a cost estimate based on what can be purchased and any materials required for building new pieces, the recurring cost of consumable props (ie. food) as well as the inevitable repair and replacement of damaged pieces.

During the technical rehearsals, the Props Master is tasked with supervising the backstage crew in pre-setting all the necessary pieces, leading movements during scene changes, and ensuring performers understand how to handle or use the props they interact with.

This person also oversees the inventory of prop objects and furniture and where necessary, they will repair or replace damaged or lost items. They will take the lead in striking and storing props and set dressing and keep clear records of all loans and rentals for safe return following the final performance.

The Stage Manager (SM) is the right hand of the Director through pre-production and rehearsals.

The Stage Manager is responsible for the smooth running of rehearsals. During rehearsals, they take notes from the direction staff on character blocking and technical cues and communicate any creative or technical notes from the Director to the Production and Creative teams via a daily rehearsal report. It is also the responsibility of the Stage Manager to enforce attendance policies, maintain paperwork for payroll, and in the case of union cast, monitor Actors’ Equity Association compliance. In the late stages of rehearsal, this individual will supervise run-through and dress rehearsals and will call cues and feed lines to actors who ask for assistance.  It is the job of the Stage Manager to oversee the creaation and execution of scene change and running crew plots . They also act as a bridge between the crew and the cast.

The Stage Manager maintains a neat, orderly and easily understood prompt book that includes all information involved in the running of the show (script with blocking notes and technical cues, schedules, scene change assignments, all production memos, company lists and emergency procedures).

On performance days the Stage Manager supervises pre-show activities. These include sound check, lamp tests for lighting, and system safety checks for elements like rigging, automation, and pyrotechnics. They also account for the cast and run them through warm-ups, fight calls and notes. At house open, the Stage Manager will clear the stage and call for the house to be set for audience to enter. When the curtain goes up, the stage manager may stay backstage at a podium, or at the front-of-house position to call cues over a headset.

Once the show has opened, the Stage Manager oversees all backstage activities and ensures the show is technically sound and running smoothly. After the Director has left the show in their capable hands, the Stage Manager is charged with maintaining the creative integrity the director's vision throughout the run. From this point forth, both the cast and crew now answer to the Stage Manager.

A Choreographer is an artist who, within the sphere of dance, creates and executes choreography and/or specialized movements which consist of accepted techniques of period dance and/or contemporary theatre dance such as ballet, modern, jazz, or tap.  The Choreographer is responsible to the Director of the production for pre-rehearsal (conceptual) preparation and for the creation of all dances for the production. 

In co-operation with the Director, the Choreographer schedules dance rehearsal and oversees teaching the cast members how to execute the choreography and rehearses them.

The choreographer must be available for scheduled meetings and consultations as needed by the director and music director and attends all technical and dress rehearsals to ensure that the choreography is complete and working.

 

The Publicity and Marketing Coordinator is responsible for the overall image of the organization and coordinates staff and activities in all areas of advertising, group sales, publicity, media relations, social media presence, ticket marketing and subscriptions in order to sustain and expand audiences and earned revenues.

The Publicity and Marketing Coordinator is responsible for the promotion of the production. They connect with the Producer and Director of the show to understand the play and the way it is being presented, and then develop a marketing plan to inform the general public about the show. They then develop posters, brochures, postcards, flyers, advertisements, public service announcements, web information and press releases in order to draw attention to the show.

The Publicity and Marketing Coordinator also coordinates interview requests, all content in the house program including artists biographies and program notes, press kits, media's complimentary tickets and lobby display. Any photography and videography needed to create content for the show would be arranged by this person.

This position also works in cooperation with the box office to track ticket sales and help to boost sales through promotional events and ticket giveaways.

The Front of House Manager (or simply House Manager) is responsible for all activities in the auditorium (house), the lobbies and grounds of the theatre. The House Manager supervises the ushering, concessions & bar staff, counts tickets and submits a final report at the end of the night. The House Manager coordinates all activities and controls audience traffic before the show and during intermission with the Ushers and Stage Manager to enable all performances begin as scheduled.

The House Manager supervises a staff of ushers which take tickets, distribute programs, show the public to their seats, and offer any help that may be needed in the friendliest possible manor to the theatre patrons. In the event of latecomers, disruptive audience members, first-aid needs, injuries or emergencies, the front of house staff oversee the safety and implements the policies of the theatre. Health and safety training and first-aid training is necessary for front of house management. At the end of each performance, the house manager prepares a report.

The House Manager is chiefly responsible for the care, comfort, and safety of the audience during every live performance at a show venue. This person is a supervisor over all departments related to the front of house operations and works closely with the stage manager.

The house manager must also inspect certain details according to fire safety regulations; these include ensuring that all exits are unlocked and accessible in an emergency. At some point in his or her routine, the house manager will communicate with the stage manager to relay the house count and to make performers aware of any special circumstances, such as a service animal in the audience or a special request for a pre-arranged meet and greet. Similarly, the stage manager provides the HM with pertinent updates such as a last minute performer substitution. At a predetermined time, the two managers meet again to determine if the house may open on time or if there is a pressing need to hold the start of performance.

It is the house manager’s job to open the house, which is simply opening the theater doors to allow patrons to enter; this usually takes place 30 minutes before curtain. When the house manager has word from the Stage Manager that the cast and crew are at places and ready to start the show, he or she will give the order to close the house doors to further seating, thus turning the audience over to the Stage Manager for the duration of the performance. If there is an intermission, the House Manager repeats this process for the second act. When the performance is over, the house manager ensures that the audience is safely ushered to the exits and proceeds with the post-show checklist. This lists generally includes an after-action meeting with the house staff, box office staff, and stage manager, as well as ensuring that all reconciliation of ticket sales have been properly accounted and recorded for the general manager. It is also necessary to see that porters have secured all entrances and exists, non-essential systems are off for the night, and equipment and materials are properly stored.

The Box Office Manager is responsible for the courteous and efficient processing of ticket sales and the box office's financial reporting systems. This includes keeping track of how many tickets are sold by performance, ticket type and origin of sale, as well as making sure the money is secure, arranging any complimentary tickets and making sure that everyone working the box office is aware of all the upcoming events or other information. They may also supervise the box office marketing procedures through phone, mail, in-person, email and subscription ticket sales, including gift certificates and ticket exchanges & refunds. Box office staff will also provide advice about restaurants, parking, tourist attractions, accommodation and suitability of play content for children, students or seniors.