Job Title: Properties Supervisor
Reports to: Director of Production
Reporting Staff: Overhire and Contract Artisans
1. PURPOSE OF THE JOB
(What are the major objectives of this position? Why does the job exist?)
The Properties Supervisor serves in a leadership position, working closely with the Director of Production and fellow Production Department Heads to realize the technical and design components of all Chicago Shakespeare Theater productions. The Properties Supervisor is responsible for the planning and execution of all properties for each Chicago Shakespeare production, and provides support for World Stage productions and any special events or other projects as required. This position includes hands-on responsibilities in the creation and acquisition of props, as well as the hiring and supervision of additional props artisans and technicians. The Properties Supervisor also provides instruction to the Props Crew Head and other run-of-show staff regarding the operation and maintenance of all show-specific prop items and will provide support to maintain or repair props during the run as necessary.
2. PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES (The essential duties of the position.)
- Collaborate with directors and designers to achieve a clear understanding and definition of the properties scope for each production.
- Successfully complete projects both independently as well as collaboratively.
- Lead the creation and acquisition of props through fabrication or shopping from both local and online vendors.
- Effectively delegate responsibilities to over-hire artisans and technicians as appropriate.
- Devise creative solutions to projects at a high level of technical and artistic quality.
- Maintain a comprehensive understanding of best practices and techniques related to the efficient construction and maintenance of theatrical properties.
- Research script and historical references for productions
- Hire and manage over-hire employees as necessary.
- Ensure strong communication systems with fellow employees to support efficient and high-quality completion of projects.
- Effectively evaluate skills and capabilities of over-hire labor.
- Coordinate with Stage Management on all prop notes and updates during the rehearsal process.
- Collaborate with production staff as needed to maintain safe and constructive shared work environments.
- Adhere to established budgets for each production.
- Attend design and production meetings as requested.
- Represent the department during tech rehearsals and previews. Schedule will be determined on a show-by-show basis.
- Maintain props department inventory database to ensure that it remains a current and an easily deployable tool to artists and collaborators.
- Maintain a safe work environment.
3. SECONDARY RESPONSIBILITIES
(Responsibilities/important duties performed occasionally or in addition to the essential duties of the position.)
- Purchase and maintain shop tools, supplies, and infrastructure to ensure safe and productive shop operations.
- Support the work of marketing, events, and other departments as requested.
- Establish and maintain relationships with material vendors, both locally and online.
- Establish methods to effectively manage quality control within the Properties Department.
- Drive company vehicles as needed.
4. STAFF SUPERVISORY/MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES
(Provide the number and type of employee managed.)
- This position may supervise between 1 and 4 over-hire employees.
5. FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
(Budgeting and accounting responsibilities, reporting and auditing functions.)
- This position has responsibilities that will regularly involve purchasing, budgeting, and the tracking of expenses. Duties will include but are not limited to:
- Accurately keep records of all purchases and returns.
- Clear tracking of expenses across budgetary lines.
- Maintaining a petty cash fund.
- Successfully adhere to established budgets.
- Timely completion and submission of all financial paperwork including credit card logs, receipts, invoices, and petty cash logs.
- Work with the Production Office and the Finance Office to resolve any financial issues as necessary.
6. INTERACTION WITH PATRONS AND PUBLIC
- This position has responsibilities that are occasionally in proximity to the public or will do work that can be observed by the public.
- Direct interaction with the public is unlikely but is possible.
- Correspondence with the public via email or by phone is possible.
7. PHYSICAL DEMANDS (i.e., walking, lifting, equipment operation, etc.)
- Perform a variety of physical tasks including but not limited to climbing, stooping, pushing, bending, kneeling, reaching, lifting, and pulling.
- Work at height in locations including but not limited to catwalks, grids, ladders, and genies.
- Perform a variety of physical tasks while wearing safety equipment including but not limited to respirator, hardhat, and safety glasses.
- Push, pull, lift, and move up to 25 lbs.
- Use of manual dexterity in the operation of tools.
8. WORKING CONDITIONS AND ENVIRONMENT
(i.e., necessary travel, unusual work hours, unusual environmental conditions, etc.)
- Work hours are primarily daytime, Monday through Friday, but will be variable depending on the phase of the project.
- Evening, weekend, and holiday hours will be necessary at times.
- Some work weeks will exceed 40 hours.
- Position will primarily function at the CST facilities on Navy Pier in Chicago, IL but will at times work in other locations such as warehouses and city parks.
- Working in a variety of environments including but not limited to construction shops, stages, trap rooms, catwalks and grids, warehouses, exposed loading docks, and outdoors.
- Work environment may be dirty, noisy, in low-light, or in a tight and cramped space.
- Will be exposed, at times, to potentially hazardous materials and equipment.
- Will regularly be required to wear PPE during work activities.
9. KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS REQUIRED
(Indicate which are required, preferred, or desirable. Include licenses and certificates.)
- Strong Interpersonal communication skills, organizational skills, and attention to detail.
- Understanding of design and construction techniques associated with properties, including the ability to research time-periods and apply proper techniques.
- Thorough knowledge of the safe and effective usage of adhesives, pigments, stains, cleaners, and other basic products commonly used in a prop shop.
- Proficient understanding of the following areas:
- Furniture repair, refinishing, structures, and construction
- Basic metal work
- Soft Goods, sewing (hand and machine), and upholstery
- Mold making and casting
- Carving and sculpture
- Paper props and lettering skills
- Weapons handling, maintenance, and safety
- Literate in use of:
- MS Office
- Adobe Photoshop
- Electrical wiring and soldering
- Blood effects
How to Apply
Chicago Shakespeare is committed to building diversity and inclusion onstage and throughout the organization. We especially encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to apply. Please provide cover letter and resume. Please apply at https://bit.ly/3xZ07An
About Chicago Shakespeare Theater
A leading international theater company and recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theaters year-round season offers a vibrant array of classics, musicals, new works, and family programs for 225,000 audience members annually. The Theater is Chicago's leading international presenter and, through its education efforts, has impacted the learning of over 2 million students. The opening of The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, with its innovative design that changed the shape of theater architecture, together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs, positions Chicago Shakespeare as the city's most versatile performing arts center.
Communicating & Informing:
Provides the right level of information at the right time to the right people; Adjusts communication style to the team member; Shares information freely & appropriately; doesn’t withhold information
Stays balanced under pressure; Can adjust to the unexpected; Calms others during times of stress; Remains solutions-oriented during times of change; Demonstrates patience
Conflict Management & Critical Conversations:
Addresses critical conversations quickly & calmly; Listens with focus; Can drive compromise with minimal disruption; Escalates issues when appropriate; Listens with the balance of objectivity & empathy.
Dealing with Uncertainty/Change:
Adapts to change quickly & nimbly; Guides others through change; Ability to act, lead, & make decisions with limited information.
Clearly & comfortably delegates work, responsibility and accountability; Shares decision making when appropriate; Recognizes multiple ways of getting things done.
Creates a comfortable climate for the team; Drives team brainstorming & creativity; Encourages diverse points of view; Listens without judgment; Cultivates an environment of free exchange of ideas
Salary is competitive within the non-profit performing arts industry and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The salary range for this position is $55,000 - $58,000 annually. Benefits package includes health, dental, vision, 403b, paid time off, life insurance, and commuter spending plan.
Chicago Shakespeare shared values are essential to our success as a world-class theater company. These values guide our decisions and behaviors and shape our culture.
SERVICE: We take pride in sharing our time, talents, and resources with our community. We strive to be present and available to the individuals and organizations with whom we engage—enriching and uplifting one another to create a beneficial shared experience. We consider ourselves enthusiastic ambassadors of Chicago Shakespeare and its programs, mission, and core values, while also being steadfast advocates for those we serve.
INGENUITY: Believing that innovation is the source of positive change, we freely exchange ideas about how we can best approach our work, striving always to improve our practices and programming. We meet challenges with a spirit of positivity, curiosity, and creativity—exploring non-traditional solutions, taking calculated risks, and embracing new strategies along the way.
COLLABORATION: We embody the theatrical spirit of collaboration in every aspect of our work, and highlight the importance of each individual’s role in advancing our shared goals. We actively listen and communicate clearly and effectively. We honor and respect one another and our identities, and recognize our unique differences as key to our collective success.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is committed to enhancing our diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Chicago Shakespeare 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.