Set Designer

By Bob Grannan

Scope of Role: Set Designer (SD) works with Stage Director and Producer to create a design for the set, a build plan for the set and identifies set pieces to be built or purchased. All duties are to be completed within a production schedule time-frame and within budget parameters for the production. SD has input in determining the budget.

Key Duties and Activities:

  • Under the direction of the Technical Director, the SD works with Stage Director, Producer, Master Carpenter and others as appropriate to create a set design.
  • Create build plans for Master Carpenter. 
  • Build plans would include drawings with appropriate dimensions at a minimum. SD could create a model of the set as well.
  • Work with TD and Master Carpenter during set construction of the set to see it is completed as designed.
  • Complete responsibilities in time to meet Production Schedule.
  • Attend and participate in production meetings.
  • Manage costs within budget parameters, reusing Cary Players inventory to extent possible.

For many productions, the SD participates in the set construction as time permits.


  • Work starts: The Producer will review requirements with you and provide a contract with key responsibilities listed approximately 2-4 weeks prior to auditions, based on the Producer and Director’s schedules.
  • Rehearsals: Rehearsals run 4-6 weeks. TD should sit in on selected (2-3) rehearsals to get a personal sense of the show. Rehearsals run 3-4 nights per week and some weekends. Sessions are 3-4 hours.
  • Build: Set construction typically begins around the same time rehearsals begin or shortly before then. Construction of the set occurs at the Cary Players Scene Shop 2-4 nights per week and weekends based on the availability of the Master Carpenter and TD. Volunteers are recruited to meet the schedule.
  • Tech Week: TD should be available for tech week. Tech week typically begins the weekend (Saturday or Sunday) prior to opening night. TD should be available for load-in and to make final adjustments to the set.
  • Run of the Show: Present opening night to ensure things run smoothly. Welcome to attend other shows
  • as schedule permits and to be available as needed, but not required.


  • Cary Players pays a stipend to the Set Designer based on the complexity of the set.
  • Some Technical Directors offer their services as a volunteer and do not accept a stipend. 
  • Stipends are reported to the IRS on form 1099 based on reporting rules.

Interested in serving as a set designer, or finding out more about how you can help? Contact us!