Production Staff Positions in Theater

A theater production is a cooperative effort. There are three stages: pre-production, production and post-production. Some positions are active throughout this process and some are active for certain parts of it. These are some main positions to know as a foundation.

producer, director, stage manager, music director, technical director, set designer, lighting designer, costume designer, property manager, sound designer, master carpenter, master electrician, publicity/advertising manager, box office manager, house manager, publicity/program designer makeup and hair designer


The producer creates an approved budget, makes sure that everything gets done by deadlines and on budget, and that BTG's resources (people, money and materials) are used properly. The producer participates in the audition process and is responsible for knowing and getting all the crew that is needed. This person runs weekly production meetings and facilitates meetings with the director and individual departments (e.g director and costume department) as well.


The director is responsible for creating a coherent and consistent artistic concept/vision of the play (i.e script, music, dance). The assistant director helps the director in communicating these ideas to the cast and crew. This process might need to be revised early into rehearsal due to casting or technical limitations. This person also works with the other departments to create and sustain the concept/vision.

Stage Manager

The stage manager is the coordinator and organizer of the production. This person schedules rehearsals and rehearsal space, ensures that all cast are present at rehearsal, and records all technical and blocking information (lighting, music and actor cues, props, furniture, transitions, etc). This person is at every rehearsal or if they can't be, has trained an assistant stage manager(s) to carry out those duties. During production week, this person is in charge of the dress rehearsal in the acting space. During the performance, they coordinate cast and crew and make sure costume and prop presets have been completed, and controls the show by calling the cues.

Music Director

The music director is in charge of music and singing in a production. Sometimes there is instead a vocal director (who deals with singing) and an orchestra director (who deals with instrumentation). Basically this person decides what music and/or songs are needed for the show at the request of the director and/or choreographer, and figures out how to accomplish that. Ideally they would know how to read music, but a vocal or orchestral director should definitely know how to read music. So duties would include recruiting instrumentalists, and/or vocal trainer and/or recorded music, or doing those things themselves.

Technical Director

The technical director is responsible for all the technical aspects of the show: schedules and runs "move" (sets into the space), "put-in" (installation of lights and sets into the space) and "strike" (the breakdown of lights and sets and cleaning up the space). The td sometimes functions as a second or in place of the master carpenter. The td will design a plan for how the other departments are to contribute to the show, and make sure that their pieces don't overpower another department's piece(e.g props that aren't too big).

Set Designer

The set designer has the most logistical position. They will draw a design for the performance space, that incorporates the requirements of the script, director, music director, and the choreographer. If there will be live accompaniment (orchestra, or piano/violin/guitar) they will have to include that in the space as well. This person has to do all of this within the original floor plan of the space. The design must accomodate furniture, set changes (moving pieces), special effects, and room for the actors to move.

Lighting Designer

The lighting designer creates a lighting scheme and special effects based on the requirements of the script and the director. This person is also in charge of renting and returning the equipment.

Costume Designer

The costume designer creates a line of clothing and accessories for the cast. These ideas come from the script, time period of the play and the director. This person is also responsible for accomodating costume changes of the characters, as well as renting and/or sewing costumes. They also dry clean and/or wash costume and fabrics, and return rented costumes.

Property Manager

The property manage coordinates with the director and stage manager to figure out what props are needed. They will rent, borrow or build props as needed within the budget. They will return all borrowed and rented items. This person also instructs the cast on how to properly handle the props. They are in charge of the prop table(s) backstage and work with the cast to make sure all the props are in place before the show, and returned after the show.

Sound Designer

The sound designer is in charge of locating all the needed music and sound effects. They also need to get and set up the equipment for sound presentation. This person would work with the music director.

Master Carpenter

The master carpenter coordinates with the set designer to contruct the design with the budget. They will identify resources and maintain inventory of all the set pieces and components. This person also manages the installation of the set into the performance space, and ensures the integrity of the set throughout the run of the show. They also return all borrowed and rented items.

Master Electrician

The master electrician works with the lighting designer. They can train to board operator to handle lighting cues during the performance, or they can do it themselves. Along with the lighting designer is responsible for returning rental items.

Publicity/Advertising Manager

The publicity/advertising manager develops a publicity plan and schedule. This person will assess the mediums and outlets to advertise in. They will also seek a publicity/program designer(s). They will arrange for the reproduction and distribution of posters and programs, as well as the production of t-shirts.

Box Office Manager

The box office manager works with the treasurer and supervises the house manager and usher(s). This person coordinates with the treasurer to make sure there is enough change before each show, and assists with the totals for deposit. They also maintain ticket sales and reservations, advise patrons of delays and help direct patrons into the theater with the help of the house manager.

House Manager

The house manager works for the box office manager and has at least one usher working for them. The stage manager lets the house manager know when to open and close the house (theater). They are to make sure there are programs available, make sure the usher(s) are prepared and trained, and to assist with crowd control.

Publicity/Program Designer

The publicity/program designer develops a motif consistent with the play. This person will submit various designs for approval. Once a style is chosen, they will adapt the design for t-shirts, program cover, etc. This process also includes: font type and style, poster and program layout and other media.

Makeup and Hair Designer

The makeup and hair designer is responsibile for making sure that there are makeup and supplies for the show, including any speciality makeup and hair items. They are also to make sure that the actors have the appropriate makeup and hair style consistent for the play. This person also holds makeup and hair workshops/rehearsals around production week for the cast. This can be two separate positions or one.

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Last updated June 9, 2003