What does a Theatre Carpenter do?

A Theatre Carpenter is a stagehand (maker/craftsperson) who builds sets and stage elements. They work with materials such as woods and metals and use techniques such as woodworking and welding. The Theatre Carpenter team will include a Master Carpenter who acts as management.

Search our training, experience and funding opportunities in carpentry here.

What are the main responsibilities of a Theatre Carpenter?

Responsibilities and duties of a Theatre Carpenter in this area depend on the needs of the Set Designer and Director and also the size of the theatre.

Master Carpenter

  • Manage the rest of the team, review blueprints, models, sketch plans and specifications 
  • Order materials and assign Stage Carpenters in the crew to complete tasks to meet deadlines
  • Handle payroll approvals and admin
  • Ensure all tools and equipment are maintained and in working order
  • Responsible for scheduling fire safety inspections and ensuring safety procedures are followed

Stage Carpenter

  • Cut, shape or carve different sized items and assemble pieces
  • Assist Stage Runners performing various tasks during live productions
  • Assist with moving set pieces such as scenery, furniture or props
  • Assist with handling ropes, wires, or other rigging
  • Assist with carpentry-related theatre building repairs or renovations and new construction

What qualifications do I need to be a Theatre Carpenter?

There are no formal qualifications required for this role, however a formal qualification in one of the following subjects would be beneficial:

  • Art
  • Design Technology
  • Carpentry

There are many apprenticeships available where you can learn carpentry and this is normally the route Carpenters take to train this craft. Find opportunities in carpentry here. 

What skills do I need to be a Theatre Carpenter?

  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Numeracy skills
  • Patience
  • Ability to understand technical plans
  • Technical ability

What does a career in carpentry look like?

Many Theatre Carpenters are self-employed. You must be able to promote yourself within the industry. Once working on a production, if you show your skill set to management you may be employed by a theatre for productions included in their upcoming season. Read our blog 'How to become a freelancer in theatre' here. 

How much does a Theatre Carpenter earn?

A Master Carpenter in theatre can earn up to £18 per hour but can go up to £31 per hour. 

You can also search for Theatre Carpenter roles using The Stage Jobs website here.



Photo: Shutterstock

Published: 23 October 2019

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