Position:  Technical Director
Department: Production
Status: Full-time, exempt (salary) position
Pay: $130,000-$150,000/yr
Location: La Jolla, CA on the beautiful campus of the University of California, San Diego
Schedule: Weekdays, weeknights, some holidays and/or weekends
Reports to: Production Managers
Works With:  Production Supervisor Team, Production Management, LJP Staff, Visiting Artists & Designers, IATSE Labor, UCSD T&D Supervisors, LJP Operations, UCSD Residents & Students, 
Supervises:  Scenery Supervisor, Draftsperson, Lead Carpenter, Scenic Charge Artist, Shop Foreman, Stage Carpenter, Automation Operator, Technicians, Apprentices & Pre-Apprentices,
To Apply: Submit a cover letter, resume and references to [email protected]. Please include in the subject line – “Technical Director”

Organization Overview 

La Jolla Playhouse is a place where artists and audiences come together to create what’s new and next in the American theatre, from Tony Award-winning productions, to imaginative programs for young audiences, to interactive experiences outside our theatre walls. Founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, the Playhouse is currently led by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley, the Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse, and Managing Director Debby Buchholz. The Playhouse is internationally renowned for the development of new plays and musicals, including mounting 120 world premieres, commissioning more than 70 new works, and sending 36 productions to Broadway, garnering a total of 38 Tony Awards, as well as the 1993 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. 

La Jolla Playhouse is committed to diversity in all areas of our work, on and off stage. We lead with our values and encourage individuals with unique perspectives to apply. La Jolla Playhouse is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

Statement of Job

The Technical Director has the primary responsibility of managing the Scenery and Paints departments and overseeing the execution of the scenic design from design development through completion.  Working closely with the Scenery Supervisor, they lead the technical construction, installation, maintenance and transfer of scenery (built, purchased, rented, or otherwise) and oversee rigging for all productions produced and presented by La Jolla Playhouse including festivals and special events while maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.

This position works closely with the design and creative teams for each production, presents efficient technical and artistic solutions to the design and production teams, estimates labor and material budgets, and tracks budgets throughout the production process. The Technical Director, in collaboration with the other Production Department Supervisors, will take an active role in communication with Designers, IATSE Stage hands and La Jolla Playhouse Management to ensure all departments are informed about Scenery designs, changes, technical planning, and scheduling for each production.  

The successful candidate is a technical engineer and manager committed to a culture of safety and inclusion and the artistic vision and mission of La Jolla Playhouse.

Essential Job Duties

  • Recruitment and management of Scenery and Paint department direct reports including leadership and coaching, skill development and regular feedback communication. 
  • Supervise season-wide planning for Scenery and Paint departments including space use, maintenance, capital acquisitions and labor calendars.
  • Supervise the scheduling, accounting, purchasing and planning for Scenery and Paints Departments for all productions and shop operations.
  • Conduct regular meetings to communicate information within the Scenery Department such as project hand off meetings,  weekly Scenery Leadership Team meetings, and all-hands meetings.  Regularly meet individually with team members to provide personalized guidance and support.
  • Lead the scenery design development process on schedule with design benchmarks. 
  • Estimate cost for designs based on designer drawings and adjust and present options to designers to assist in the budget process.
  • Create and maintain bid packages for commercial scenery shops and supervise the technical design process with those shops to provide quality and efficiency assurance.
  • Supervise all engineering and drafting including the preparation of ground plans and sections of designer drawings, rigging, automation, and technical drawings, and any other such drawings pertinent to the scenery, stages or other performance locations in AutoCAD and PDF formats for use by technical, stage management and design staffs.
  • Estimate and Track labor and material costs for productions and advise Production Management of the potential financial consequences of any proposed changes or other alterations to technical plans
  • Direct the Scenery Department Staff in the Construction, Installation, Strike and Transfer process for all productions beginning with early design consultations through completion of projects. 
  • Oversee rigging for scenery and all production departments. 
  • Attend production meetings, run throughs, tech rehearsal, previews, and note sessions as requested by Production Management. 
  • In conjunction with Production Management, coordinate with UCSD Theatre & Dance Department technical personnel to ensure mutual success for all projects utilizing the Theatre District’s fabrication facilities and theaters.
  • Instruct the Shop Foreman on the maintenance & organization of La Jolla Playhouse Scene Shop, Theatres, materials and other resources.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in collaboration with theatre personnel, professional creative teams, staff, management, and other visiting artists.

Inclusive & Safe Working Environment

  • Coordinate training for all Scenery and Paint Department employees on the proper and safe usage of facility, large equipment, stationary tools, hand tools and other production resources.  
  • Represent the Scenery and Paint Department during Safety Inspections in Production facilities.
  • In collaborations with Production Management and other Department Supervisors, contribute to production risk assessments to achieve workable and safe productions at all levels.
  • Monitor and enforce safety in the Production Department.  
  • Lead investigations and reporting for all accidents and near misses in the Scenery and Paint Departments.
  • Function in a professional and collegial manner when collaborating with all theatre personnel, professional creative teams, staff, management, and other visiting artists.
  • Be an active participant in LJP’s work towards being a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace. 
  • Commitment to a culture of learning, community, anti-racism, inclusion, belonging, and respect among employees and visiting artists.
  • Commitment to a culture of safety, both psychological and physical, ensuring a safe work environment.
  • Maintain current knowledge of safety best practices and standards.

Requirements and Proficiencies

  • A minimum of 4 years of professional experience in theatrical technical direction. Bachelor’s degree or Advanced Master’s in Theatrical Technical Direction and Experience working in a LORT Theater a plus. 
  • Demonstrated success in leading teams and fostering a collaborative and creative environment and knowledge of current leadership practices.
  • Experience in management, including project coordination, resource management, staff recruitment and training, meeting facilitation, budgeting, and safety compliance. 
  • Strong working knowledge and experience with specialized tools used in advanced scenic construction.  (Wood and Metal Working tools, CNC, 3-D Printing)
  • Detailed knowledge and skill in scenic construction, welding, rigging, softgoods, and complex automation solutions including pneumatics, hydraulics, and electrical.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in theatrical structural design and engineering. 
  • Ability to read and create CAD scenic construction and engineering drawings.
  • Computer skills: Mac, PC, Networking, IP, TCP/IP, AutoCAD, Vectorworks, Automation (UDP, Artnet, DMX, MIDI a plus).
  • Demonstrated success in time and personnel management (Calendars, Schedules, Production Process)
  • Deep Knowledge of and dedication to safe work practices, Industry best rigging practices, and automation practices. OSHA 30 and ETCP Rigging Certifications a plus.  
  • Demonstrated skill and success in the development, forecasting, management, and tracking of complex production budgets.
  • Strong attention to detail and proactive monitoring of processes with excellent communication skills and a collaborative demeanor.
  • Possess strong critical thinking, problem solving, and organizational skills.
  • Works well under pressure and time constraints, maintaining a calm demeanor in the face of new and unexpected challenges.  
  • Commitment to uphold and meaningfully engage with the mission, vision, and values of La Jolla Playhouse.
  • Access to reliable transportation.

Physical Demands

  • Frequently works in an office environment at a computer workstation or in meeting rooms. 
  • Occasionally ascends/descends and moves about on ladders, catwalks, and grids.
  • Ability to work extended hours. 
  • Occasionally moves items weighing up to 50lbs and maneuvers heavy items with assistance. 

Work Environment:

  • Environment varies from dark/quiet backstage to bright/loud on stage, also shop.