What does an Associate Set Designer do?

An Associate Set Designer supports the execution of the scenic design for theatrical productions, films, television shows, or other live events. Specific duties may vary depending on the project and the preferences of the lead Set Designer.

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What are the main responsibilities of an Associate Set Designer?

  • Collaborate with the lead Set Designer
  • Assist in the design development of the set
  • Create models 
  • Draft technical drawings 
  • Source materials
  • Collaborate with the production team 
  • Oversee the construction along side the Set Designer 
  • Attend rehearsals 
  • Documentation 

What qualifications do I need to be an Associate Set Designer?

Although you do not need any qualifications, you may wish to study Set Design through a university course, college course, apprenticeship or internship. You can gain a qualification in any of the following subjects:

  • Design
  • Fine Art
  • Interior Design
  • 3D design
  • Lighting
  • Theatre Design
  • Architecture 
  • Graphic Design 

Take a look at apprenticeship opportunities and how they can help you here

Ensure you keep a portfolio of all of your previous work to show to potential employers. Read our blog, ‘How to make a set design portfolio’ for some tips on how to best display your work. 

What skills do I need to be an Associate Set Designer?

  • Design skills and knowledge on set building
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving
  • Initiative
  • Work well in a team
  • Create new ways of doing things
  • Work well under pressure
  • Excellent verbal communication
  • Basic computer skills
  • Good maths for budgeting and working with scale and proportion

What does a career as an Associate Set Designer look like?

The journey to become an Associate Set Designer typically involves a combination of training, practical experience, and networking. Internships and apprenticeships provide hands-on experience, exposure to professional workflows, and networking opportunities within the industry. Keeping a portfolio of work will allow you to demonstrate your abilities to potential employers. Read our blog, ‘How to make a set design portfolio’ for some tips on how to best display your work. 

How much does an Associate Set Designer earn?

The role of an Associate Set Designer can vary depending on the scale of the production as well as the actual size of the theatre. Most Associate Set Designers work on a freelance basis. For one production, 2024/2025 Equity rates suggest a Designer fee of £3133.13 and a weekly making fee of £613.84.

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


Published: 9th June 2024

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