Scenic Designer

The scenic designer works with the director and other designers to establish an overall visual concept for the production and design the stage environment.

Completion of specific UP workshops is required for this position. The Yale Drama Coalition and the Yale Dramatic Association are also good sources of support and information.

The scenic designer is responsible for developing a complete set of design drawings that include the following:

  • basic ground plan showing all stationary scenic elements;
  • composite ground plan showing all moving scenic elements, indicating both their onstage and storage positions;
  • section of the stage space incorporating all elements;
  • front elevations of every scenic element, and additional elevations or sections of units as required.

All of these required drawing elements can be easily created from one accurate 3-D SketchUp model of the set design. UP Technical Directors are available to assist in demonstrating the use of this simple program. Undergraduate Production has Sketchup models of each theater space available for download on the Performance & Rehearsal Venues page.  The software can be downloaded for free and paid educational licenses are available.

The following is a sample timeline. Your timeline will depend upon the scope and scale of your production.

Six Weeks Prior to Performance

Participate in conceptual meeting with producer, director and other design staff of the production. This is the time to discuss design concepts. Be sure to discuss the budget with the producer. During and after this meeting, begin preparing drawings.

Five Weeks Prior to Performance

Present preliminary design ideas and drawings, including both the set and seating arrangement, to the producer and director. Include the lighting designer in this process. After this presentation revise designs as needed and update drawings. The revised drawings must be submitted to the UP Technical Director for approval.

Four Weeks Prior to Performance

Provide a complete set of design drawings to the UP Technical Director and meet with him or her to discuss plans. The UP Technical Director will assist in developing ideas to ensure they are appropriate to the venue and the skill set of the production team. Once approved it is expected that no substantive changes will be made to the design without review by the UP Technical Director.

Three Weeks Prior to Performance

Using the approved design drawings the set designer should work with the team technical director, conveying all information necessary for the execution of the design. The designer is responsible for producing an accurate cost estimate of the design and ensuring that this fits within the set budget. If it is determined that the design is over budget, it is the designer’s responsibility in conjunction with the producer, director, and UP Technical Director to modify elements of the design until the cost fall within the available budget. If the design changes, the designer must provide adjusted drawings to the UP Technical Director. Meet with a UP Technical Director as often as needed for assistance and approvals.

Two Weeks Prior to Performance

Participate in a final review of plans with the UP Technical Director. The final version of all design drawings is required at this point. Once approved, the build process may commence. Provide paint samples and other materials to help the technical team achieve the intended effects.

One Week Prior to Performance

Check with the UP Technical Director to answer any questions and to ensure build is progressing appropriately. Attend the load-in planning meeting with the production staff.


Plan on being present during load-in work calls to assist and advise the crew loading in based on the design.

Technical Rehearsals

Attend technical rehearsals to ensure the design is working as planned and to assist with making any needed adjustments.