Scene Shop Supervisor

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is seeking candidates for the full-time position of Scene Shop Supervisor

The Scene Shop Supervisor reports to the Technical Director and assists them in supervising the carpentry staff, technical design/engineering, construction, installation, and maintenance of scenery for a season of 7 Steppenwolf mainstage productions and 2 Steppenwolf for Young Adults productions, plus special events, across three stages. This position also plays a leadership role in equipment maintenance, facilities planning, and for ensuring workplace health and safety.


About Steppenwolf:

For over 40 years, Steppenwolf Theatre Company has been a cultural leader in Chicago and model for theatre companies in the United States and around the world. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble has grown to 51 members who represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards— have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programming includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multigenre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director.

Steppenwolf is currently undertaking a $73 million multi-phase facilities expansion and renovation that will create a launching pad for the next 25 years of Steppenwolf’s life.  The first phase of the expansion opened in June 2016 with the 1700 Theatre, and its new café & bar, Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, a creative space to meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night.  The next phases will create a new Arts and Education Center, a signature architectural destination for the city with a 400-seat in-the-round theatre and an education and rehearsal floor providing dedicated space for Steppenwolf’s extensive education and artistic development programs, and renovations to its current 515-seat theater that addresses artist and audience upgrades after 25 years of use.  This facilities expansion, driven by programmatic need, will allow Steppenwolf to advance its artistic vision into the future.

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Salary range: $45,000 - $49,000 with excellent benefit package for full time employees, including medical, dental, vision insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, vacation pay, paid sick time, personal days, pre-tax Ventra transit benefit program, employee assistance program and 401(k) matching retirement program.

Skills & Qualifications: 

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • Significant professional experience in scenery construction techniques, CNC Routers, theatrical rigging, mechanical design, automation, and drafting
  • Leadership skills in a scene shop environment
  • Ability and commitment to working with diverse groups in terms of gender expression, race, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, class and immigrant status
  • AutoCAD drafting skills (both 2D & 3D)
  • Problem solving skills and an ability to research and develop new techniques/materials
  • Demonstrated ability to work on multiple and on-going projects to achieve the highest standards
  • Experience with production transfers nationally (including Broadway) and internationally
  • Thorough knowledge of scenic automation theory, system design, installation, and troubleshooting. Experience with winches, elevators, hydraulics, and pneumatics involving complex integration across axes

Five or more years of professional working experience in scenic carpentry is preferred. Candidates with equivalent experience and expertise will be considered.

This is a scene shop-based position but regularly works in other Steppenwolf locations such as the rehearsal hall, theatre, and at various vendors all across Chicagoland. Candidates must have a current, valid driver's license, clean driving record, their own car, and the ability to drive company vans and 24’ trucks.

Responsibilities, in support of the Technical Director:

  • Supervise, train, and mentor 4 full-time carpentry staff, apprentices, and overhire in implementing scenic designs.
  • Ensure construction that achieves design goals, adheres to production schedules, and is structurally sound.
  • Create daily work flow, enforce quality control, ensure staff deadlines are established and adhered to in accordance with the production schedule. Collaborate with Technical/Associate Technical Director in creation of build and load-in calendars.
  • Review, interpret, and troubleshoot design and working drawings to assess practical feasibility and ensure necessary information is communicated to scenic carpenters. Collaborate with Technical Director to creatively assess appropriate materials and construction methods.
  • Promote and schedule preventive maintenance as a strategy in maintaining all scene shop equipment. Monitor and maintain inventory of materials and hardware to ensure efficient workflow.
  • Assist Technical/Associate Technical Director in supervising staff during load-in and strike of scenic elements. 
  • Establish continual plans for shop improvements and create timeline in which they are to be implemented.
  • Assist Technical Director and Director of Operations in monitoring shop facility and building systems. Aid in devising a long term plan of capital improvements to the shop layout/workflow, and overall physical scene shop plant, in collaboration with the Technical Director, Director of Operations, and Director of Production.
  • Adhere to strict health and safety guidelines and play a leadership role in maintaining a safe work environment.
To Apply: 

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and three references by following this link by September 30, 2018.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Steppenwolf complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

We strongly encourage applications from people of color and members of underrepresented groups.


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