The Nottingham New Theatre

Set Design

The role of the set designer within the theatre is to work with the director and lighting designer to create the overall visual concept of the production. It often requires working with a director from the beginning of the process to allow for his/her staging and blocking to fit within the set design.
Designing a set can range from large scale, naturalistic sets, right through to minimalist and more abstract designs, and it is the set designer’s job to create a setting suited to the play and the director’s vision.

What does set design entail?

Directors will usually have a vision for the design of their production, and so will get in contact with a set designer right at the beginning of the process. The set designer should then provide the director with various plans of their set design, including a basic ground plan, a composite ground plan (showing any moving elements of the set), as well as front elevations, allowing the director to use this plan in rehearsals, to ensure there are no limitations to the blocking. It is also a good idea for the set designer to meet with the lighting designer, so together they can create a coherent overall design for the show. The set designer will also have a meeting with the Theatre Manager and Technical Manager to ensure the set that they are designing will be suitable and safe for public performance.

During the get-in, the set designer will lead the building of his/her set, overlooking the construction and decoration of the set. He/she will work closely with the director during this time to ensure that everything suits the vision and the tone of the play, and then spend the time leading up to opening night just adding the finishing touches to the set.

How to get involved?

If you’re interested in doing some set design, please contact Jack Ellis, our Company Set Technician, at