Head Carpenter

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The Head Carpenter or Master Carpenter is responsible for organising the whole set building process, constructing a set that meets the requirements given to them in the plans and drawings received from the Set Designer and/or Technical Director. This will require sourcing and purchasing materials, and agreeing with the Scenic Artist on a suitable time and place to build and paint the set prior to the get-in. Additional Set Builders may need to be found if the set is complex.

The set itself should be as complete as possible before the get-in, including leaving time to paint and decorate the set, so that valuable time at the get-in is not wasted by completing the set. The Head Carpenter may wish to assist the Technical Director with making arrangements to transport the set to the theatre before the get-in, assembling the set on stage during the get-in, and removing the set from the theatre at the end of the run.

Not every show chooses to have a Head Carpenter, and the role of co-ordinating the set build can be performed by either the Technical Director or Set Designer, if they are willing to do so. Conversely, if a show chooses not to have a Technical Director, the Head Carpenter should ensure that arrangements are for transporting the set to and from the theatre, and assembling it on stage.

Set Builders

Additional carpenters, generally given the role set builder, are used in larger shows. Recruitment for set builders is more casual than other roles. Generally, the Camdram advert will ask them to contact the TD, set designer, or head carpenter directly, rather than submitting a formal application to the producer. Set builders and painters may have little or no experience in the workshop. If using set builders, it's important to think about what they'll actually be able to do. Taking flat-building as an example, the TD might cut wood while the the set builder assembles it with a hand drill. Asking set builders to get trained in advance is helpful, as workshop training is not always available at short notice.