Lighting Designer


The Lighting Designer is responsible for the design, installation, and operation of the lighting and special electrical effects used in the production.  To show where the lighting equipment will be placed, the lighting designer produces a light plot specifying the placement and configuration of all instruments used in the production.  The designer must also furnish all associated paperwork for the design including hook-ups, schedules, cut lists, and a cue synopsis. (Based on the description in J. Michael Gillette’s Theatrical Design and Production, 6th ed.)


  1. Read the script several times, taking note of overall story and theme and specific physical needs. Determine research and dramaturgical needs.
  2. Consult the departmental production calendar and note all due dates. It is important that you meet these dates because it affects the work of so many other people.
  3. Attend all design and production meetings. Make sure the stage manager has all of your current contact information.
  4. Obtain a current section and groundplan of the theater from your mentor or the technical director.
  5. Schedule a conversation about the play with the director and your mentor. Whenever possible it is best if this includes the entire design team. Discuss overall production concept, theme, style, period, etc.
  6. Review script, noting both “broad-stroke” and “moment to moment” demands.
  7. Begin attending rehearsals regularly, these should be run-throughs whenever possible.
  8. Develop preliminary concept statement and begin rough cue synopsis.
  9. Meet with the director and your mentor and agree upon the overall production and lighting concept approach (concept statement).
  10. Develop a light plot in Vectorworks and instrument schedules, magic sheets, and other supporting paperwork in Lightwright as necessary.
  11. Meet with your mentor for plot and preliminary design approval at least one full day before presenting it to the director or other production team members.
  12. Once your plot is approved, it should be given to the technical director along with any accompanying paperwork so that they may order gels, templates, etc. Please note that you are not authorized to order anything unless you receive specific prior approval by your mentor.
  13. Meet with scenic designer, costume designer, and your mentor to discuss color. Meet with the scenic designer to discuss all masking, flying, shifting scenery, and any wired practicals.
  14. Complete a cue synopsis that details all lighting shifts and changes.
  15. Meet with the technical director to coordinate hang, focus, dark time, etc.
  16. Pre-tape catwalks and grid when possible to assist the hang process. This is a method of marking hang positions for instrument type, circuit and dimmer number, and other relevant information. Due to the fairly unique architecture of the Valborg Theater this is also an excellent opportunity to check for any architectural issues that may arise at focus.
  17. Check in with the technical director daily to monitor progress during the hang period.
  18. Direct the focus and dropping of color and templates.
  19. Inspect electric areas and double-check the hang, cable, and focus for work safety.
  20. Set up board, load patch, subs, groups, and submasters in the days prior to building cues.
  21. Build cues, presets, set levels, special lighting, and effects. Please note that pyrotechnics are not the responsibility of the lighting designer, and any pyrotechnic requests must go through the technical director.
  22. Arrange a meeting with the director, stage manager, and the other production team members for a “Paper Tech”, so that you may go through the show cue by cue prior to the first tech rehearsal. This may take several hours to complete.
  23. Check for the install of all necessary cue lights, running lights, costume change lights, prop work lights, and design table lights as required for tech rehearsal. It if lights up it’s yours to worry about. If it needs electricity it is yours to provide.
  24. Attend all tech and dress rehearsals and evaluate, plan, and rework all light cues as necessary. Continue polishing and improving cues and lightplot until the final rehearsal. Please note that if a cue has not been seen on stage during a tech/dress rehearsal it should not be added at the last moment. There should be nothing new to see for an opening performance unless approved by both your advisor and the director.
  25. Attend photo call to get photographs of your design. Submit to the stage management team a very short list of specific full stage shots you would like from the professional photographer. The total number of set-ups that the photographer can take is very limited so it would be best if your list is in order of preference. You should also take your own photographs.
  26. Meet with the technical director and your mentor to discuss strike. The requirements for each strike will vary based on the nature of the show and any production needs following the production being struck. The first order of any strike should be clearing any practicals or other instruments on stage so that the carpenters may complete their strike quickly and efficiently. This includes the strike of the cyc, scrim, and other masking.

Online application for this position.