Steppenwolf Theatre Company is seeking candidates for the full-time position of Costume Director.

This position leads the costume shop in budgeting, purchasing, construction, and maintenance of costumes for a season of seven mainstage productions and two young adult productions. In addition, the Steppenwolf costume shop takes on outside projects for other regional theatre, ballet, and opera companies.  The Costume Director is responsible for meeting outside project revenue goals and building/maintaining relationships with those clients.

The Costume Director oversees a staff of 6 plus part-time positions, and collaborates with the Wardrobe, Hair, and Makeup Supervisor in executing costume designs and maintaining productions.

This position reports to the Director of Production.

The ideal candidate will possess the following skills:

  • Significant high-level professional experience in in multiple genres, including theatre, new works, musicals, opera, and dance
  • Five or more years supervisory and leadership experience is preferred.
  • Strong financial/business skillsets including; estimating, tracking, reconciliation, invoicing, and some experience fostering/generating clients.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • A demonstrated ability to creatively collaborate with a diverse range of designers and design processes and a willingness to adjust the production process to the needs of a given project
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple overlapping and on-going projects to highest standards within the time, human resource, and budgetary constraints
  • An ability to balance design ideas with the more practical needs of quick changes and durability for the demands of a production
  • Experience managing production transfers nationally (including Broadway) and internationally
  • Knowledge of safety policies and procedures within a costume shop environment
  • A demonstrated understanding of body diversity and a commitment to leading a body positive costume shop
  • Ability and commitment to working with diverse groups in terms of gender expression, race, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, class, and immigrant status


  • Develop budget estimates based on preliminary designs and provide suggestions on scope adjustments as needed
  • Proactively collaborate with costume designers to realize their design within the bounds of budget, time, and infrastructure
  • Manage labor and material budgets and build schedules over the course of the production
  • Seek out, develop, and maintain relationships with outside production companies and costume designers to meet annual income goals including generating bid proposals, negotiating terms, and invoicing
  • Oversee workflow and prioritization between multiple projects, both internal and external, while maintaining appropriate production values
  • Realizing design ideas while also meeting the needs of the performer and running/maintenance of the show
  • Participate in long range planning, including the facilitation of a move into a newly constructed costume shop space (expected summer 2021)
  • Adhere to strict health and safety guidelines and play a leadership role in maintaining a safe and healthy work environment
  • Hire, supervise, train, and evaluate costume shop staff and overhire including; Assistant Costume Director, Assistant Costume Designer, Work Room Supervisor, Draper, First Hand, etc.
  • Collaborate with Wardrobe, Hair, and Makeup Supervisor, Properties Director, and other production department heads in support of all elements of each production and other institutional needs
  • Ensure that the costume shop work environments are inclusive, and respectful for performers, designers, and staff

About Steppenwolf:

For over 40 years, Steppenwolf Theatre Company has been a cultural leader in Chicago and model for theatre companies in the United States and around the world. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble has grown to 51 members who represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards— have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programming includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multigenre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 15,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director.

Steppenwolf is currently undertaking a $73 million multi-phase facilities expansion and renovation that will create a launching pad for the next 25 years of Steppenwolf’s life.  The first phase of the expansion opened in June 2016 with the 1700 Theatre, and its new café & bar, Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, a creative space to meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night.  The next phases will create a new Arts and Education Center, a signature architectural destination for the city with a 400-seat in-the-round theatre, costume shop, and an education and rehearsal floor providing dedicated space for Steppenwolf’s extensive education and artistic development programs, and renovations to its current 515-seat theater that addresses artist and audience upgrades after 25 years of use.  This facilities expansion, driven by programmatic need, will allow Steppenwolf to advance its artistic vision into the future.


Salary range: $60,000 – $70,000. Compensation is competitive with prevailing compensation for similar positions within the non-profit performing arts industry. Excellent benefit package offered, including medical, dental, vision insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance, vacation pay, paid sick leave, personal days, and 401(k) retirement program with company match.

Instructions to Apply:

Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume & three references by following this link by May 15, 2019.


Steppenwolf Theatre Company is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Steppenwolf complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is dedicated to building a culturally diverse and equitable environment and strongly encourages applications from people of color and women. Applicants from populations underrepresented in the theatre field are strongly encouraged to apply.

For additional information about Steppenwolf, please visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr

Pay Range: $60,000 - $70,000
Organization Email Contact: jobs@steppenwolf.org