29 Jul 2021


Head of Automation and Safety

Guthrie Theater  Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Guthrie Theater jobs

Job Description

Reports to: Technical Director

The Head of Automation and Safety oversees the scenic automation systems, rigging systems, fall protection systems and scene shop health and safety policies at the Guthrie Theater.
This position works with the Technical Director and the Associate Technical Director on the approach, research and technical design required for the installation and maintenance of these systems.
In addition, the Head of Automation and Safety is responsible for the engineering and supervision of construction of prototypes, automation systems, non-traditional scenic elements/effects and other special projects.
This position monitors and enforces scene shop safety procedures, in addition to providing health and safety oversight to all production-related operations. This is a supervisory role in a newly developing Automation and Safety division of the Guthrie Scene Shop.
All employees are expected to center, model and champion the Guthrie’s core values of Artistic Excellence, Community, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Fiscal Responsibility.

This position is full-time, exempt and benefits-eligible.
Compensation for this position is $58,500 – $73,200 annually plus benefits.
The typical schedule for this role will vary based on the dynamic schedule of a theater.

The Guthrie is dedicated to building an equitable environment that is mixed across lines of difference and strongly encourages applications from Black, Indigenous, People of Color, women, transgender and non-binary candidates.  This position will remain open until filled and until a diverse and qualified pool of candidates is identified. Applicants from populations underrepresented in the theater field are strongly encouraged to apply.


1. Automated Scenery and Effects

  • Design and engineer automated scenery and effects as required by any given production.
  • Produce design and construction drawings.
  • Design prototypes as necessary and oversee their construction.
  • Engineer special projects such as automation systems, mechanical effects and other non-traditional elements in collaboration with production staff.
  • Provide guidance and oversight in industry best practice and compliance for all rigging across production areas.
  • Supervise the installation of automation and rigging systems across production areas.
  • Provide technical guidance and solutions to address issues of safety, functionality, aesthetics and fabrication.
  • Coordinate with other production departments to develop plans for the efficient integration of automated scenic elements.
  • Determine efficient building processes for automated scenic elements, including accurate time estimates and materials needed.
  • Attend technical rehearsals and preview performances as necessary.
  • Work individually or as part of a team on projects as assigned.
  • Work collaboratively with all scene shop and production staff.

2. Maintenance of Automation and Rigging

  • Create service logs and ensure regular inspection and maintenance of automation equipment.
  • Supervise maintenance of automation equipment and rigging systems across production.
  • Ensure the Guthrie’s safety compliance in collaboration with TD Staff and Production department heads.
  • Carry out scheduled maintenance of automation equipment and rigging systems.
  • Oversee counterweight rigging systems, hoists, fall protection equipment and personal lifts and ensure all scheduled maintenance is carried out with certified third parties.
  • Maintain safe conditions and ensure proper inventory of PPE and health and safety equipment across production areas.
  • Coordinate the cleaning and organizing of work spaces in collaboration with Associate TD.

3. Supervision and Leadership

  • Take an active and positive role in setting and maintaining the levels of production quality and artistic excellence.
  • Lead and provide guidance to the assigned work team fostering a work environment incorporating the Guthrie values of Artistic Excellence, Community, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Fiscal Responsibility.
  • Advise scene shop and production staff on areas of responsibility when necessary.
  • Research automation and safety equipment and technology to ensure the Guthrie Theater maintains compliance and best current industry practices.
  • Work with TD Staff, Shopper/Buyer and Shop Supervisor to ensure information and materials are available to complete all shop projects in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Work with the TD and Production department heads to research and prepare requests for capital improvements.

4. Health and Safety

  • Oversee safety of the scene shop and all production areas. Advise and recommend methods to improve health and safety work practices.
  • In conjunction with Guthrie Production Health and Safety Committee, establish best practices for various systems including, but not limited to fall protection, rigging, PPE, general health and safety and equipment use.
  • Create risk assessments, service logs and inventory to ensure safety compliance of related systems.
  • Provide training in the areas of automation systems and rigging systems (counterweight, chain motors, and general rigging) to Scene Shop Staff and other pertinent production staff members.
  • Serve as an active member of Guthrie Theater’s Health and Safety Committee.
  • Complete other duties as assigned.


  • Demonstrated expertise in theatrical automation or a combination of equivalent experience and training.
  • Expert level theatrical engineering design using a wide variety of construction materials and methods.
  • Expert level experience with of hydraulics, pneumatics, and theatrical automation. Creative Conners and Hudson DWU knowledge a plus.
  • Advanced knowledge in theatrical rigging practices and counterweight rigging systems.
  • Proficiency with CAD drafting is essential; AutoCAD and 3D experience preferred.
  • Skills in carpentry, welding, and rigging to draw upon when engineering technical designs.
  • Proficiency in word processing and database preparation for information preparation, organization, and communication.
  • Experience in preparing budgets, labor estimates, build calendars, and staffing.
  • Project management skills to oversee multiple projects in various stages of design or build.
  • Ability to lead and/or supervise crews to keep the flow of work moving forward at an efficient rate.
  • Ability to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing with a wide variety of collaborators.
  • Ability to research an unknown process or material so it may be applied to a technical solution for a scenic element.
  • Ability to spend approximately 50% of time on the computer or engaged in other tasks involving repetitive motion.
  • Ability to be adaptable to new situations and shifting priorities, while quickly solving problems that may arise in order to get work done.
  • ETCP (rigging/electrical) and hoist certifications are preferred.
  • OSHA 30 certification preferred.
  • Experience, ability, and commitment to working with individuals and teams that are mixed across lines of difference such as race, gender-identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, class and immigrant status.
  • Must be willing and able to work flexible hours/days, including evenings and weekends, reflective of the dynamic schedule of the theater.


Applicants must submit the following to be considered for the position:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume

Apply online here


Full-Time Job in Theatre:
Head of Automation and Safety
Guthrie Theater
 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Job Categories: Theatre. Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: design, safety, and theatre. States: Minnesota.
Job listing expires in 28 days.

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