Lesson Plans
Job Descriptions For Careers in the Theater

The producer organizes the business side of a production. They are also responsible for raising the
money for its production, writing grants and complying with government regulations for the
management of the grant’s reporting requirements.  The Producer is responsible for overseeing
advertising and publicity. They control the budget for the show, hire everyone who works on the show,
rents the rooms for the auditions and rehearsals, and arranges for the booking of the theatre. All financial
records are the responsibility of the producer.

Creative head of the show, the director is the chief interpreter. She must thoroughly analyze and
understand the script: the plot, characters, theme and thoughts, dialogue, songs, dances, music and style.
Directors are known for having a "vision" (or concept) for the show - no two directors would direct a
show the same way. After finding their vision, they cast and direct the actors accordingly. The director
customarily stages everything except the dances.  She works very closely to ensure that the
choreographer interprets the music and implements the dances in a manner that the cast is able to
execute and is consistent with the needs of the show.    The Director also works very closely with the
Musical Director to ensure that the music serves the production and that the arrangements serve the
voices of the singers.
Duties   Theatre directors may work in many areas, styles and genres of theatre or specialize in one or
two. For example, they may specialize in new works, mainstream theatre, collective theatre, musical
theatre, popular theatre, theatre for young audiences, movement theatre, issue-based theatre, women's
theatre or improvisational theatre. Directors may choose scripts themselves or work with scripts chosen
by the people who have hired them.

Theatre directors work collaboratively with set, lighting, costume and sound designers, choreographers,
special effects technicians and others. Their responsibilities vary from one production to another but, in
pre-production, directors generally:
study, analyze, interpret and research the script ;  audition and engage actors for roles and may help
select designers as well
work with designers to determine a stylistic approach for the production;  work with stage managers to
arrange schedules for rehearsals, costume fittings and sound/light development ;  instruct stage managers
regarding management of the show when the director is gone;  work with producers to establish and
administer budgets ;  work with production managers to meet production needs within budget  ;  work
with technical directors regarding technical requirements ;  conduct rehearsals
consult with publicity agents regarding poster design and notes in the program.;  With new works,
theatre directors also may consult with playwrights about changes to the script or workshop a script by
rehearsing it with the playwright and actors to create a final rehearsal draft of the play.

During rehearsals, theatre directors:  shape the work by describing the emotional, historical and
psychological world of the play and guiding actors so the overall production communicates the director's
vision    block actors (tell them how, where and when to move on stage), provide encouragement and
make suggestions to help actors interpret characters make all final design decisions including lighting,
props, furnishings, makeup and hair.   Often a play has one or more dress rehearsals with an audience
before opening night. This gives directors one last chance to make changes. When a play opens, the
director's job usually is complete. However, in small theatre companies, directors may introduce the
play and meet with the audience after the show to discuss play interpretation.

Theatre directors usually rehearse a play for two to four weeks before the first public performance.
During this time, they often work a six day week of eight hour days although the last few days before
opening night may be longer. Personal Characteristics   Theatre directors need the following
the communication skills required to convey their vision, energy and enthusiasm to others leadership
skills and the interpersonal skills required to help performers reach their full potential and develop a
network of supporters and contacts the ability to visualize sets etc.,  in three dimensions
a willingness to accept financial, artistic, psychological and emotional risks   the ability to manage time
and personnel to meet deadlines.
They should enjoy being innovative, coordinating the work of others, and dealing with people.  They
should possess a liberal arts education to enable them to understand and interpret works of literature,
both modern and classical.    Problem solving skills

Stage Manager  
The stage manager is the director's assistant at cast interviews, auditions, and rehearsals. She keeps an
up-to-date list of addresses and phone numbers of the company, helps to plan the rehearsal schedule,
and posts or makes announcements for things like costume fittings and photo sessions. The stage
manager is the disciplinarian, enforcing necessary rules of conduct. In rehearsal, they make the rehearsal
room correspond to the floor plans of the sets, provide makeshift furniture and props, and keep track of
all sound and lighting cues, as well as all entrances and exits.

In certain instances,  the stage manager speaks for the Director, however, only if given this authority.  
She  works with department heads to reinforce the Director’s overall stylistic goals for the production.   

During technical rehearsals, they supervise the work of the various technical crews. During the run of
the show, the stage manager calls the periodic time until curtain, and makes sure that all performers are
accounted for. If a member of the cast is missing, the stage manager arranges for the understudy to take
his/her place. Backstage, the stage manager is the boss. As the old saying goes, he's God.   
The Stage Manager is the number two member of the staff and her word carries the weight of the

Assistant Stage Manager

Stage Management Interns

Technical Designers    
Technical designers include those for scenery, lighting, costumes and sound. They must have a common
understanding of the artistic aspects, such as theme and style, director's concept, number and type of
sets and costumes needed, the time and place of each scene, changes of mood, the colors to be used, and
the amount of money that may be spent.

Set designers   
must be able to interpret scripts and written texts into visual images. In general, they:  read the script
and consult with the director and other designers to develop design concepts work within budget, labor
and architectural or space restrictions research architectural styles and building interiors appropriate to
the time period depicted research stylistic elements such as paintings and art objects share their research
and concepts with other designers and attend rehearsals and production meetings develop working
drawings, sketches (color renderings) and/or three-dimensional models to communicate design ideas and
requirements select materials and supervise the construction and painting of sets and props
oversee the integration of set design with performance during final rehearsals.  Most set designers are
required to supervise the painting of sets and, in small theatres, to help with the painting as well.
Shop Manager
Shop Interns

Lighting designer    
Duties      Lighting designers consult with directors and other designers to define a stylistic approach for
each production. They create light plots and sequence lighting cues which must take into consideration
the size, shape and technical capabilities of the theatre or performing space, the visibility of performers
and the mood of each scene, and complement set and costume designs.
Duties and responsibilities vary from one type of production to another but, in general, lighting
read the script and attend some rehearsals to see how the stage or acting area will be used in the
consult with the director and other designers to develop design concepts, create lighting plots, schedules
and equipment lists
supervise the hanging and focusing of lighting instruments;  build lighting cues for the production attend
technical and dress rehearsals to supervise the lighting and make changes as needed.  In some theatres,
one designer may be responsible for lighting, set design and costume design. In smaller theatres, the
lighting designer also may program and run the lighting board for a production  Working Conditions    
Lighting designers usually work from home offices and in theatres, conference centers and other event
venues. They use a variety of materials, tools and equipment including technology that is unique to the
profession. Safety precautions must be observed when climbing ladders, going up lifts, working above
others, handling hot lamps and working with electricity.   Long hours may be required to meet
production deadlines.

Personal Characteristics: Lighting designers need the following characteristics:
creativity and artistic vision   flexibility  good spatial perception  no fear of heights.  The communication
and interpersonal skills required to work effectively with others and market their ideas or services.   
They should enjoy synthesizing information about diverse requirements, experimenting and finding
innovative solutions to problems, doing precise work with tools and equipment, and supervising the
work of others.

Lighting designers need:   an understanding of design principles and elements, and three-dimensional
space .  in-depth knowledge of conventional and moving lighting equipment and accessories, and lighting
control equipment .  practical experience in technical theatre.  math and drafting skills
computer skills (especially computer aided drafting).  Because this field is so specialized, lighting
designers need related post-secondary education. A bachelor's degree or master's degree in fine art with a
specialization in theatre design is recommended.
Lighting Board Operator

Costume Designer
A costume designer is responsible for the design, creation and purchase of costumes and accessories
worn in television, film and theatre productions.
Typical duties include working closely with the director and lighting and scenic/set designers about
creative concepts, establishing the look and feel of the production and its characters, deciding what each
character wishes to convey through his/her clothing (time period, setting, status/social class, age,
geographic region, etc.);
using the internet and libraries to conduct in-depth research into the setting/period of the production to
ensure costumes are authentic to the specific time;   utilizing a good knowledge of
costume/theatre/art/political/social history;   reading scripts;
sketching designs by hand and sometimes using computer programs such as Photoshop or computer-
aided design (CAD);
working closely with the costume supervisor.   However, when working on a small-scale, fringe or low-
budget production, the costume designer may also be responsible for the following work activities:  
managing the costume budget;  taking actors' measurements for garments and accessories, such as wigs,
shoes and hats;   shopping at fabric, craft, charity and clothes shops;  drafting and cutting out patterns;  
studying textiles, dyeing fabric, painting and sewing;  distressing costumes, using a range of materials;  
arranging costume fittings, dressing actors, helping with difficult costumes, making alterations as
necessary;  cleaning and repairing costumes.
Costume Shop Manager
Pattern Cutter
Costume Shop Assistants
Wig Maker
Costume Shop Internships

Sound Designer/Technician
Theatre sound technicians set up, position and operate sound equipment for theatrical productions.
Operating sound systems usually takes place from behind a console.
In live theatre shows, sound equipment is used to amplify and balance the voices and musical
instruments of the actors, singers and musicians. It is also used to provide sound effects and background
music. Theatre sound technicians set up and operate this equipment. This could involve:   choosing the
most appropriate equipment and the best positions
rigging microphones and loudspeakers in appropriate places;  connecting cables to the sound console or
mixing desk.

When they are working on a play, sound technicians may obtain, or record and edit, suitable sound
effects and background music. They can then prepare a sound plot with cues for when each is to be
played during the show. They balance the sound and adjust the equipment during a technical rehearsal
with the performers and director.

For some shows, the performers need to have individual wireless microphones. Sound technicians fit the
microphones before each performance and tell the performers how to use them. During performances,
sound technicians may operate the sound console to switch between microphones or adjust levels
between them to achieve the right effect.
Where there is no sound designer on a production, the technician may design the sound, taking part in
discussions with the producer and director.  
Personal Qualities and Skills:  Good balanced hearing is essential. You must have a technical knowledge
of electricity and electronics, and of the capabilities of different types of sound equipment.  You should
be physically fit and have good hand skills. You will need to pay attention to detail and understand
safety requirements. Working at heights on ladders and scaffold towers may be involved.  
You need to fit into a team, be able to cope with time pressure, and also react quickly and creatively to
problems that may arise. Your color vision may be tested.

Before creating the dances, the choreographer must analyze the musical and consult with the stage
director and musical director to determine where dances are to be placed in the show, the music, scenery,
and costumes to be used, the dramatic function of the dances, the space available, and the number of
dancers in each number. Lighting the dances is a major concern that requires close collaboration between
choreographer and lighting designer. The choreographer advises the director on the casting of dancers and
devises the dances, taking into consideration the directors "vision". The choreographer may also help
with movement in singing numbers, if asked to do so by the stage director. Some choreographers assign a
member of the dance chorus to act as "dance captain", who may call brush-up rehearsals for the dancers
as needed during the run of the show.


Fight Choreographer
Fight Director
Fight Captain

Front of House
Box Office

Stage Managers
Assistant Stage Managers

Shakespeare Miami welcomes
Education Director, Bree-Anna
Over 200 students participated in a day of
History Detective workshops using
Elizabethan sumptuary laws to uncover clues
in historic paintings.