Costume Cutter

Website TheWirtzCenter Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University

Job Summary:

The Costume Cutter is responsible for the pattern drafting, fabric cutting, construction, alterations and fittings of costumes and costume pieces used in all productions.  This position works in conjunction with the Costume Shop Manager and stitchers.  They supervise student workers, cooperate with other staff, and aid in maintaining the costume shop, its facilities and equipment.

Please note: 40+ hour work weeks during technical rehearsal period of production (3-4 per quarter) which includes weekend and evening hours.

Specific Responsibilities:

PRODUCTION PREPARATION: Read scripts in order to have a knowledge of the needs of each production and to be able to provide input to the creative process with directors, designers, faculty and other staff members.  Attend all necessary design presentations, staff meetings, production meetings, and preparation sessions.

DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION PROCESS: Work with designers, faculty design mentors, stitchers and Costume Shop Supervisor to establish priorities and provide expertise to create patterns, construct and/or alter all costume pieces and accessories for each production within budgetary and time constraints.  Work with staff stitchers to ensure that costume elements are executed with high level of craftsmanship and efficiency. Attend fittings as scheduled/needed.

SUPERVISION/MANAGERIAL: In conjunction with the Costume Shop Manager and stitchers, organize and manage the work of Graduate Assistants, work-study students, and undergraduate crews in costume production and check work progress with the intention of meeting production deadlines. Instruct and supervise graduate and undergraduate students in the proper use of all costume shop equipment and procedures. Provide input regarding workflow, need for temporary employees, and improvements in the production process, equipment, and facilities.

FACILITIES/EQUIPMENT: In conjunction with the stitchers, assist the Costume Shop Manager in maintaining and improving the areas of the physical plant directly related to costumes such as the shop, storage space, dressing and make-up rooms and laundry facilities. Will manage projects if deemed necessary.

REHEARSALS & PERFORMANCES: If necessary, attend work calls above regular daily schedule (technical and dress rehearsals, crew trainings) and in coordination with other staff members. Assist in the restoration of all costumes after a production closes.  This includes dry cleaning, shipping, and restocking.
Duties listed below are executed on an as needed basis and are not consistent, therefore they are grouped together and given a rating of 5%
Coordinate costume needs and procedures with house technician or representative when performances take place outside of the Center.
Serve as costume liaison with outside groups using Center facilities.
Execute non-production-related Wirtz/University costume projects as time allows in cooperation with other staff members.
Attend training sessions in CPR annually and First Aid as required.
Provide insight for annual reviews and update of this job description.


Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

Undergraduate Degree or commensurate experience in theatrical costuming or design or its equivalent in a related discipline and a minimum of three years professional experience.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

Costume pattern making, alteration, construction skills, garment/fabric cutting and associated skills.
A general knowledge of theatre, theatre production and costume design process.
Skills in using home, commercial, and blind-hem sewing machines.
Supervisory experience.
Exemplary work habits and the desire to teach them to others.
Ability to establish and maintain productive and collaborative working relationships with faculty, staff, and students.
Ability to organize and establish priorities for the work of others.  Ability to manage and lead other artists.

Preferred Qualifications:

A minimum of five years professional experience.

Experience working in an educational or academic setting.

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

Advanced knowledge of costume construction, costume design process and its related techniques.

Teaching or mentoring skills

At Northwestern, we are proud to provide meaningful, competitive, high-quality health care plans, retirement benefits, tuition discounts and more! Visit us at to learn more.

Work-Life and Wellness:
Northwestern offers comprehensive programs and services to help you and your family navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.
We support flexible work arrangements where possible and programs to help you locate and pay for quality, affordable childcare and senior/adult care. Visit us at to learn more.

Professional Growth & Development:
Northwestern supports employee career development in all circumstances whether your workspace is on campus or at home. If you’re interested in developing your professional potential or continuing your formal education, we offer a variety of tools and resources. Visit us at to learn more.

Northwestern requires all staff and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to limited exceptions. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 and Campus Updates website.

The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of the land upon which Northwestern University stands, and the Native people who remain on this land today.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Click for information on EEO is the Law.

Instructions to Apply:

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Pay Rate/Range*: $22-$24/hr
Organization Contact Name: Heather Basarab
Organization Email Contact: