Dramat Scenic Designer

Scenic Designer

The Scenic Designer is responsible for developing the overall look of the stage environment after working with the Director to establish an aesthetic concept from which to proceed. The Designer is responsible for the following stages: an initial presentation (sketches or a model) to outline the scale of design; subsequent revisions of the design and complete design drawings once the design is accepted; and a final presentation of designs 6 weeks prior to opening, to be provided to all members of the design team. The Designer must keep the Technical Adviser, Director, and Producer involved in each stage of the work to help ensure that his/her work stays within the scope and scale appropriate to the project. The Designer will meet directly with the Technical Director, conveying all the information necessary for him/her to execute the design. In addition, the Designer will be required to attend load-in calls and rehearsals (especially tech/dress) as needed to ensure that the scenic elements are installed properly and are functioning within the show as intended.

The scenic designer is responsible for developing a complete set of design drawings that includes 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 Advisor (TA) is available to assist in demonstrating the use of this simple program. Hand Drafting, AutoCad, and Vectorworks are also acceptable methods for creating these drawings.

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

Eight Weeks Prior to Load In

Participate in conceptual meeting with producer, director and other design staff of the production. This is the time to explore design concepts and the environment in which you see this play taking place. Be sure to discuss the budget with the producer. After this meeting begin preparing drawings.

Seven Weeks Prior to Load In

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. It’s also best to include the TA by this point. The TA will assist in developing ideas to ensure they are appropriate to the venue and the skill set of the production team. It is a good idea to include the student TD in discussions at this point as well. After this presentation revise designs as needed and update drawings. The revised drawings must be submitted to the Technical Advisor for approval. 

Six Weeks Prior to Load In

Final presentation of your design is due along with a complete set of design drawings. This will be reviewed by the TA. Changes may be required. Once final approval is given it is expected that no substantive changes will be made to the design without approval of the TA.

Five Weeks Prior to Load In

Using the approved final design drawings the Set Designer should consult with the team Technical Director, conveying all information necessary for the execution of the design. The designer is responsible for producing a design that 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 TA to modify elements of the design until the costs are within the available budget. If the design changes, the Designer must provide adjusted drawings to the TA and TD. Meet with a TA as often as needed for assistance and approvals.

Four- One Weeks Prior to Load In

During this building period, be available to work with the TD and Paint Charge as needed to answer questions, make adjustments, provide paint samples and anything else needed to help the technical team achieve the intended effects. Check with the TA to ensure that build is progressing appropriately.


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 that the design is working as planned and to assist with making any needed adjustments.


Assist with strike as assigned.