Production Design Director

  • Full Time
  • Chicago
  • February 28, 2023

Lyric Opera of Chicago

REPORTS TO:           Vice President & Technical Director

STATUS:                    Full-time, exempt

Through artistic excellence coupled with innovative, relevant programming; initiatives to connect with and grow new audiences; engagement with communities to ignite creativity across Chicago; and a modernized Opera House that is the setting for truly great experiences, Lyric is leading the advancement of opera.  This collaborative vision will deliver ever more exciting, thought-provoking, and inclusive audience and community experiences – while increasing the gravitational pull of our art form, company, and city.

Under the supervision of the Vice President & Technical Director, the Production Design Director is responsible for managing the Wardrobe, Wigs & Makeup, Scenic Art, and Properties departments. This role is the key person responsible for steering these departments in the production process and achieving that highest quality show onstage while also maintaining adherence to established budgets and working in a highly collaborative environment.


  • Uphold Lyric’s visual aesthetic standards put forth through costume and wig design for mainstage productions, Lyric Unlimited, and all other related projects that are the responsibility of the Technical Department.
  • Principal liaison for Costume Designers for all Lyric and Lyric Unlimited productions / projects.
  • Supervise Lyric’s Properties Manager and Properties Department.
  • Supervise Lyric’s Scenic Artists and Scenic Art Department.
  • Oversee and maintain the Wardrobe Department in terms of budget, personnel, and schedule in conjunction with the Head of Wardrobe.
  • Oversee and maintain the Wig Department in terms of budget, personnel, and schedule in conjunction with the Wig Designer and Department Head.
  • Take an active role as part of Lyric’s Administrative representation for negotiations with Union Locals; 829 (Scenic Artists), 476 (Wigs & Make-up), and 769 (Wardrobe).
  • Resolve any HR or personnel issues within their departments using the standards and policies of Lyric Opera.
  • Oversee, plan, budget, and be responsible for Costumes, Wigs, and Make-up effects on all new productions.  This includes – but not limited to; hiring/managing costume supervisors, vendors, makers, and materials.  Interface with the Technical Finance Manager and Finance department for all related vendor contracts and invoices.
  • Provide support to the Technical Director as a team leader of the Technical Department.
  • Interface with Operations, Artistic, Music, and Finance Departments on current production issues as well as future season planning and logistics.
  • Work with Development and Marketing Administration leaders on pertinent matters and issues surrounding Lyric’s productions and projects.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.
  • Minimum 3-5 years of experience in an applicable area of work.
  • Outstanding knowledge and training in: art, period styles, costume construction, wig-making/styling, make-up, set construction, scenic art/dyeing, furniture, fabrics, materials, and theatrical techniques.
  • Proficient ability to communicate visually through drawing, painting, and/or other means.
  • Demonstrated organizational and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated experience with budgets and financial account management.
  • Previous success in a managing and leadership role.
  • Experience with Union Organizations.
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness and problem solving techniques.
  • Demonstrated collaborative and team building experiences.
  • Knowledge and/or experience in music; specifically classical genre.
  • Knowledge of repertory structure is preferred.
  • Must have effective organizational, analytical, interpersonal, and oral/written communication skills.
  • Ability to work and think independently, a motivated self-starter who also works well in a larger team.


  • Ability to work weekends and evenings.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced and demanding environment.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule to meet business needs.
  • Ability to perform essential functions of the job with or without accommodations.

The Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to enhancing our diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Lyric does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.


Job Classification: Full Time Exempt

Salary is  $92,300-$102,300

Lyric Opera offers benefits including health, dental, vision, 403B (no company match), 401(k) with company match, PTO (including sick, vacation, and personal days, and holidays), life/AD&D coverage, opportunities for professional development, and complimentary tickets.

Instructions to Apply:

Apply at the link below.

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Pay Rate/Range*: $92,300-$102,300