Set Designer responsibilities

The designer must be a person of imagination, creativity and sensitivity, who can conceive the play visually in conjunction with the director. The settings for a farce, for instance, are in no way similar to those of a tragedy. Neither must the set be considered an end in itself, but needs to work within the demands of the director’s concept and the limitations of the space/stage

The designer’s duties are:

Read the play.

Discuss the production in detail with the director, taking into account the limitations imposed by the stage, materials available, flats, rostrum, steps, especially budget. Be aware of costing of the materials and construction.

Study the play thoroughly from all aspects, working out the specific ‘needs’ of the play.

Prepare ‘concept’ sketches for the first session with the director – there will be several subsequent meetings as you hone the design.

Draw a scale plan to the actual measurements of the stage and construct a model. If production is to be staged on more than one stage, make allowances in the designs for possible alterations.

Attend the first read-through with your design and model, and explain to the cast relevant details. (unless the director wants to do this.)

Discuss with the lighting operator the model designs and your maybe your complementary lighting vision.

Supervise, or undertake the making and painting of sets as early as possible.

Confer with wardrobe on the design and colour of the clothing. This is particularly important for a stylized production. The work of the set designer and clothing designer can sometimes be combined.