Costume Director

position opportunity

job title: 

Costume Director


Full-Time, Exempt

General description

The Santa Fe Opera is seeking applicants for the position of Costume Director. This is a full time, year-round position with benefits in the Costume Shop at the Santa Fe Opera in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 


The Costume Director is responsible for managing the Costume Shop, which includes the areas of costumes and wardrobe.  This position is responsible for overseeing all day-to-day shop activities including personnel, equipment, supplies, inventory, workroom and costume storage areas, and costume rentals. The Costume Director works under the Production Director to establish and maintain expense budgets; supervise designers; hire and supervise costume shop personnel; and supervise the timely completion of all costume elements in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner.

  • Interview and hire personnel of costume shop along with the assistance of the Workroom Supervisor.
  • Manage day to day expenses of costume shop with the Assistant Costume Director & Workroom Supervisor.
  • Assign Draper/Head load assignments.
  • Consult closely with Drapers and Workroom Supervisor (or outside vendors) on construction of costumes to ensure design, labor efficiency and adherence to schedule.
  • Coordinate, attend, oversee all fittings to ensure consistency and construction standards.
  • Advise on matters pertaining to the alterations, refurbishment and other work on costumes.
  • Supervise and schedule all Costume Shop and Wardrobe personnel.
  • Coordinate shopping for all purchased costume supplies, materials, tools and other items, as needed.
  • Balance of petty cash and proper use of purchase orders.
  • Collect, check and collate artist measurements.  Prepare measurement comparison charts.
  • Create the “bible” for each production with financial, artistic, and technical information
  • Maintain a positive and communicative atmosphere in the workroom and mediate any conflicts among personnel or with designers.
  • Request shop maintenance (e. g. light bulbs, paint, repairs) as needed. Supervise maintenance of costume-related work, storage spaces, and equipment.
  • Maintain and enforce health and safety procedures for the Costume Department in compliance with the safety protocols of The Santa Fe Opera.
  • Attend Director/Designer presentations regarding future seasons/productions.
  • Meet with production director to make an overall plan for each season.
  • Research costume requirements on a show-by-show basis.
  • Identify and coordinate schedule of what costumes/ elements will be built in house, jobbed out or rented based on design, materials budget, schedule, anticipated future of production and other appropriate factors.
  • Work directly with Costume Designers to balance budget necessities and design integrity.
  • Advise designers on use of resources, technical and safety constraints, and material selection.
  • Act as liaison between designer and director as needed.
  • Attend weekly production meetings.
  • Attend and provide costumes for all Tech Rehearsals requiring costumes.
  • Communicate with Production Stage Manager regarding rehearsal needs and advise on matters pertaining to rehearsal clothing.
  • Determine schedule with stage management of completing and delivery of costumes for dress rehearsals and performance.
  • Advises Production Director on budgeting of productions- present and future.
  • Manages production costume rentals in collaboration with the Production Director, Production Director’s Assistant, and the Costume Rental & Stock Supervisor.
  • Works with Costume Shop A-3 Scene Supervisor to assign scenes to apprentices.
  • Attend meetings between Directors and designing apprentices.
  • Advise apprentices in regards to pulling stock costumes, with the assistance of the Costume Stock Supervisor and A-3 Scene Supervisor.
  • Supervise costume apprentices during dress rehearsals, both pointing out and troubleshooting costume problems.
  • Attend Apprentice Scene performances.
  • Supervise and assist costume apprentices during strike and shop clean up.
  • Accept responsibility for other appropriate projects relating to The Santa Fe Opera.
  • Give support and show appreciation to The Board of Directors, Guild, Patrons and other volunteer organizations and supporters of The Santa Fe Opera.
  • Follow procedures and policies of The Santa Fe Opera as in the employee manual.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • A minimum of five years’ experience in theatrical costuming or its equivalent.
  • A minimum of four years of costume supervisory experience.
  • Strong administrative and organizational skills.  Strong personnel management skills and the ability to supervise staff in a positive and productive way.
  • Working knowledge of costume and fashion history including costume-manufacturing history.
  • Working knowledge of costume materials including historical references and modern availabilities.
  • Working knowledge of safety standards and implementing the same. Training and understanding of safe practices for the costume and theatre environment.
  • Ability to accurately cost and execute designs within a specific schedule.
  • Proven skills and aptitude in word processing and spreadsheet programs.
  • Understanding of basic budgeting and bookkeeping practices.
  • Ability to interact effectively with, and clearly communicate information to, a wide range of persons both within the organization and without.
  • Willingness and ability to work within a rigorous time schedule with a variety of personalities and skill levels.
  • Comprehensive training in the safe operation of appropriate stationary and portable power tools, hand tools associated with a costume construction facility.

The employee must be prepared to use the following equipment: Sewing machines, sergers, ladders, iron, steamers, and computer.


The Santa Fe Opera is at an altitude of 7,000 feet.  The Costume Shop is located on two levels of the Theatre.  Dressing rooms are on the upper level, accessible by stairs or freight elevator. The environment of the workplace includes indoor conditions that may be hot and crowded in mid-season.  The work is fast-paced, high-pressured and tightly scheduled. The presence of particles or fumes and the use of materials that produce particles and fumes may require the use of dust masks. Outdoor conditions include wide temperature variations, exposure to sun, rain, wind and other weather conditions.

  • Must be able to carry 40 pounds.
  • Must be able to stand for long periods.
  • Must have vision and dexterity to safely operate sewing equipment, to move about as necessary to do fittings in the close quarters of the fitting rooms, and to safely work and move about backstage in limited lighting during rehearsals and performances.


The deadline for application is September 25, 2020. Application materials should be submitted to humanresources@santafeopera.orgPlease understand that only those candidates whose work experience matches our job requirements will be considered. Please note that this job description in no way implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee occupying this position. The fundamental job requirements are included and these are the essential job functions. Employees will be required to perform any other job-related duties assigned by their supervisor. All requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonable accommodate individuals with disabilities. 


Application (PDF)

Submit completed employment application, along with resume and cover letter, by e-mail to Human Resources or by mail to:

The Santa Fe Opera
Attention: Human Resources
Post Office Box 2408
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-2408

There are approximately 70 staff members working around the year in a variety of areas—from production, marketing, and fundraising to technical, administrative, and maintenance of the Opera's beautiful grounds.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer The Santa Fe Opera celebrates diversity and inclusion. We do not discriminate against any employee or job applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, age, veteran status, political affiliation or philosophy. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.