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Theatrical Designer Pay Resource
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This document is intended to be used as a reference resource and negotiation tool for American theatrical designers.
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Who can submit?
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All design aspects are welcome to submit - including Costume, Scenic, Lighting, Sound, Composers, Fight/Intimacy, Choreographers, Wigs, Puppetry, Dramaturgs, and any other design aspects.
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Assistant Designers are welcome to submit as well as long as they were paid by the theater company (not paid by the designer.)
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Some notes:
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I have not personally verified all of the information posted.
Labor Support includes:
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In order to keep the information more anonymous, I have grouped productions within two-year sections and the submission form is anonymous.
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Regional Tabs are at the bottom of the document to make it easier to find the company you are looking for.
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Please contact me with questions: elsa@elsahiltner.com
Assistants
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Costume Director
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Technical Director
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To contribute to the list:Stitchers/Drapers
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Please fill out this anonymous google form to contribute to the list: https://goo.gl/forms/alNrFoNbmfhtHv0x2
Sound Technician
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You may also email me your contributing information if you prefer: elsa@elsahiltner.com
Master Electrician
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I will add the information to the document as soon as I am able.
Dyers/Distressers
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Production Managers, Artistic Directors, Executive Directors, etc are welcome to submit designer pay and labor support information for their theater companies as well.
Carpenters
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Thank you for sharing your information!
Painters
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Etc.
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Support This Work:
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https://www.patreon.com/ElsaHiltner
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Stay updated. Join the mailing list: http://eepurl.com/hnQES1
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How to gauge labor support:
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About Me:
Full Labor Support means the design was realized by contractors/staff hired by the theater company and paid from a labor budget/theater company.
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I am a costume designer and a writer and organizer on labor and pay equity in theatre based in Chicago.
Some Labor Support means the designer was required to do some of the labor to realize the production and was not separately compensated.
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Read some of my work on HowlRound, including Inequity by Design and A Call for Equal Support in Theatrical Design.
No Labor Support means the designer was required to do all of the labor to realize the production or was required to hire their own staff.
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Contact me at elsa@elsahiltner.com.
More on some of the labor support issues is here: http://howlround.com/a-call-for-equal-support-in-theatrical-design
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Theater Name
Operating Budget
Top Executive Pay
Opening Year Range
Design AspectTitle
Designer Fee
Labor Support?
Mileage reimbursment?
Program/Stage Space
Gender Identity (optional)
Racial Identity (optional)
Notes from the Designer
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16th Street TheaterNANA2019-2020LightingLighting Designer$750.00NoneNoMaleWhite
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16th Street Theatre$223,974$32,5002017-2018PropertiesProps$400.00FullNoFemaleWhite
I was offered $600 for the full design, but was unavailable for tech, so the fee was split between an assistant and me.
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About Face Theatre$673,130NA2017-2018CostumesCostume Designer$1,000.00NoneNoMaleWhite
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About Face Theatre$673,130NA2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$1,000.00FullNoMaleWhite
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About Face Theatre$673,130NA2017-2018CostumesCostume Designer$1,000.00NoneNoMaleWhite
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About Face Theatre$673,130NA2017-2018PropertiesProperties Designer$1,000.00NoneNoFemaleWhite
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About Face Theatre$690,568NA2015-2016CostumesCostume Designer$1,000.00NoneNoMaleWhite
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About Face Theatre$690,568NA2015-2016Video/ProjectionsProjections Designer$500.00NoneNoMaleWhite
$500 materials budget $18/hr for maintenance after opening night
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About Face (Youth Ensemble)$690,568NA2015-2016LightingLighting Designer$500.00SomeNoYouth EnsembleFemaleWhite
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Adventure Stage ChicagoCould not findCould not find2019-2020LightingLighting Designer$750.00FullNoMaleWhite
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Adventure Stage Chicago2019-2020LightingLighting Designer$1,000.00FullNoMaleAfrican American
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Adventure Stage Chicago2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$1,200.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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Adventure Stage Chicago2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$1,000.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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Adventure Stage Chicago2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$1,000.00FullNoMaleWhite
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Actors GymnasiumNANA2019-2020CostumesCostume Designer$500.00NoneNoFemaleWhite
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Actors Gymnasium$1,003,958$73,9022017-2018CostumesCostume Designer$500.00NoneNoFemale
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Akvavit TheatreUnder $50,000NA2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$400.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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Akvavit TheatreUnder $50,000NA2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$400.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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Akvavit TheatreUnder $50,000NA2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$500.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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Albany Park Theater Project$1,479,049$119,3002017-2018SoundAssistant Sound Designer$750.00SomeNoTransLatinx/HispanicProvided meals and food, excellent to work for
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American Blues Theater$1,077,769$77,2352017-2018CostumesCostume Designer$1,600.00NoneNoMaleWhiteRecurring holiday show. Fee increased by 4x this year.
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American Blues Theater$1,077,769$77,2352017-2018LightingLighting Designer$1,600.00FullNoMaleAfrican American
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American Blues Theater$795,303NA2015-2016SoundSound Designer$1,000.00NoneNoMaleWhite
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American Blues Theater$795,303NA2015-2016CostumesCostume Designer$400.00NoneNoMale
Recurring holiday show. 5 new costumes introduced for new actors
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American Blues Theater2013-2014CostumesCostume Designer$800.00NoneNoFemaleWhite
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American Blues Theater2011-2012CostumesCostume Designer$375.00NoneNosplit contract and $$ with another designer, cast of 35.
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American Theater Company$685,376NA2017-2018SoundSound Designer$1,200.00FullNoMaleWhite
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American Theater CompanyNANA2011-2012CostumesCostume Designer$550.00NoneNoFemaleWhite
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A Red Orchid$508,096$42,0002017-2018SoundSound Designer$900.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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A Red Orchid Theatre$508,096$42,0002017-2018PropertiesProperties Designer$900.00NoneNoFemaleWhite
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A Red Orchid Theatre$508,096$42,0002017-2018PropertiesProperties Designer$700.00NoneNoFemaleWhite
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Aurora UniversityNANA2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$1,400.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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Babes With BladesNA02019-2020ScenicScenic Designer$200.00SomeNoFemaleWhite
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Babes With Blades2015-2016LightingLighting Designer$200.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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Black EnsembleFY18: $2,900,906FY18: $103,847 2019-2020ScenicScenic Designer$2,500.00FullNoMaleWhitePay schedule was inconsistent and unclear
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BoHo TheatreFY18: $167,51602019-2020ScenicSet Designer$530.00SomeNoFemaleWhite
A TD and painter was provided but I ended up painting most of the show and assisting the build because it was unorganized.
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BoHo TheatreFY18: $167,51602019-2020ScenicScenic Designer$530.00SomeNoMaleWhite
They did hire scenic painters at my request. There were issues finding a TD for months. I did have to step in and work on masking and notes after the bulk of the construction was completed.
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BoHo TheatreFY18: $167,51602019-2020CostumesCostume Designer$530.00NoneNoMaleWhite
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Bring Your Own Theatre (BYOT)Could not findCould not find2017-2018ScenicScenic Designer$35.00NoNo
Nonbinary, assumed Male by company members
WhitePurchased materials out of pocket and reimbursed
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Bring Your Own Theatre (BYOT)2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$30.00NoNoFemaleWhite
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Broken Nose TheatreFY18: $61,92902019-2020LightingLighting Designer$400.00FullNoTransWhite, Latinx/Hispanic
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Chicago Fringe Operaunder $50,000NA2015-2016SoundSound Designer$600.00NoneNoMaleWhite
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Chicago Shakespeare Theater$17,654,628$407,3722017-2018ScenicScenic Designer$4,000.00FullNoFemaleWhite
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Chicago Shakespeare Theater$17,654,628$407,3722017-2018LightingAssistant Lighting Designer$2,750.00FullNoMaleWhite
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Chicago Shakespeare Theater$17,654,628$407,3722017-2018LightingAssistant Lighting Designer$2,750.00FullNoMaleWhite
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Chicago Shakespeare (in the Parks)
$17,654,628$407,3722017-2018ScenicScenic Designer$1,400.00FullNo
Shakespeare in the Parks
FemaleWhite
Tour of previous design. Offered $600, used union contract language to negotiate for more.
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Chicago Tap TheatreFY15: $134,391FY15: $21,5252019-2020LightingLighting Designer$750.00FullNoMaleWhite
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Chicago Tap TheatreFY15: $134,391FY15: $21,5252019-2020Scenic & PropertiesSet/Props Designer$450.00NoneNoMaleWhite
Labor support provided for load in, otherwise the full set was constructed off site and the designer was responsible.
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Chicago Theatre Workshop$51,78702015-2016Video/ProjectionProjection Design$500.00NoneNoMaleWhite
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Chimera Ensembleunder $50,000NA2017-2018LightingLighting Designer$300.00SomeNoMaleWhite
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Chimera Ensembleunder $50,000NA2015-2016SoundSound Designer$500.00NoneNoNon-binary/gender fluidWhite