Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA)

Programs + Initiatives

2022 Designers' Spotlight

This year's Designers' Spotlight will be presented virtually. Those designers selected to participate will submit portfolio links, supporting materials, and recorded introduction video/audio to be reviewed by participating directors and theatre hiring personnel seeking new talent. 

Designers' Spotlight Timeline

​Here are the important dates as part of the Designers' Spotlight process:

  • March 7 @ 1:00pm – Deadline to apply
  • March 10 @ 12:00pm - Extended deadline to apply
  • March 14 – Notification of application results
  • March 29 – If invited, deadline to submit final materials
  • Mid-April – Materials are made available to participating theatre companies
  • Mid-June – Spotlight closes and a summary of participating theatre companies will be provided to designers

If you have any questions feel free to email Davey Calderon at davey@gvpta.ca.

Eligibility & Expectations

​​Learn more about eligibility, and what to expect if your application is approved and you are invited to participate. 

Am I eligible to apply for the Designers' Spotlight?
  • You must be based in British Columbia;
    • Individuals who have temporarily relocated outside of B.C. due to the pandemic but intend to return by the summer are eligible to apply.
  • You have experience or training as a designer within one or more of the following disciplines:   
    • Set, Props, Costume, Sound, Lighting, or Video / Projection
  • If invited to participate,  you must be a current GVPTA Individual Member (sliding scale starting from $10) to confirm your spot;
  • Priority will be given to designers who:
    • are emerging or mid-career;
    • identify as being from an underrepresented* community

*The Designers Spotlight and UGAs are held and managed on the principles of equity and diversity. We invite artists from all backgrounds including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, sexual orientation, class, mental and physical ability.
What should I expect, if invited?
  • Invited designers to the 2022 Designers' Spotlight (DS) will submit a recorded video or audio self-introduction (maximum five minutes), resumé, and designer package (e.g. portfolio, hyperlinks to designer's website, etc.);

  • All DS packages will be available to watch by invited directors, hiring personnel, and company representatives over a two-month period;

  • Follow-up interviews are at the discretion of each attending production company or director, all of whom will contact you using the information on your resumé; 

  • See the "If I'm invited" and "FAQ" sections below for more details.

What do I submit in the application?

​Expand the accordion below for more details on what the application requires. 

1. General Details
  • Your full name, email address, and phone number;
  • Your location in B.C.;
  • Your GVPTA Membership status;
  • Your general area of design discipline:
    • Set, Props, Costume, Sound, Video / Projection, Lighting, Other
2. Resumé
  • One document, two pages max, in PDF format (maximum 10MB);
  • Ensure your name and contact information are included;
  • If your work experience covers multiple design disciplines, focus the majority of the resumé on the credits that you want the directors to know about more (See Designers' FAQ for more details);
  • If preferable, feel free to provide a maximum of two (2) references, which could include: producers/directors to shows worked, a supervising instructor or professor, or design mentor recognized in the theatre industry, etc. 
3. Portfolio Package

You may upload a PDF portfolio and/or provide links to your work.


If uploading a PDF:

  • One document, up to 15 pages, in PDF format
  • Each page can include, and is not limited to:
    • Design images (stage photos or concept designs);
    • Proposal sketches for productions worked on (e.g. costume, set, prop, or event installation boards);
      • Make sure all images are titled and give BRIEF (1-2 lines per image) context of the image seen on the page. (e.g. “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches - Costumes - Design and construction of Angel’s costume is seen here, with addition to my proposal sketches seen here.”)
    • A list of hyperlinks to online video and/or audio players (e.g. clips of show trailers you’ve worked on or designer reels showcasing the work; playback for work by sound designers and composers, etc.). Make sure hyperlinks give context to the work being experienced (e.g. “Title - Video or Audio - a brief description of the work - hyperlink”);

If submitting a video trailer of work:
  • Maximum duration is five (5) minutes. 
  • Provide a link to the video which does not require creating an account or downloading of applications (eg. YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, Dropbox, your website).

If only providing links (to a maximum of 5):
  • A list of hyperlinks to online images, video and/or audio players (e.g. clips of show trailers you’ve worked on or designer reels showcasing the work; playback for work by sound designers and composers, etc.);
  • All links must be accessible on a platform without creating an account or downloading an application;
  • Make sure hyperlinks give context to the work being experienced (e.g.“Title - Video or Audio - a brief description of the work - hyperlink”).
4. Headshot (Optional)

As part of your submission, you may include an optional headshot. 

  • We will accept ONE headshot in PDF or JPEG format. File format must include your Full Name, Content of file, and PDF/JPEG format. (eg. Jane_Doe-Headshot.pdf);

  • Digital dimension equivalent to a 8 x 10” printed shot.

If I'm invited...
​Designers who are selected to participate in the Designers' Spotlight will then be asked to submit a self-recorded introduction to accompany their portfolio and other materials.

These materials will be made available for viewing over a two-month duration by directors, producers, and hiring personnel seeking new talent. They will have access to download designers' resumés in order to directly follow up with those they're interested in speaking with. See the accordion below for further details on the recording.
What should the introductory video/audio include?
Designers invited to participate will be asked to submit a video or audio clip introducing themselves, to be seen by directors, producers, or other theatre hiring personnel. 

Your video or audio clip (maximum of 5 minutes) should include, in the following order:
  • A short greeting, including your full name, pronouns, and the primary designer roles you are introducing yourself as;
  • A description of who you are as a designer, including, but not limited to:
    • Artistic Mandate and/or Design Philosophies - What is your definition of a designer? What are your influences and/or inspiration for your work? What are artistic and/or working values for you?
    • Practice - How do you describe the design aesthetic or genre you default to? Briefly, what are one or two examples of work in the past that are most representative of your body of work?
    • Interests and other info - Any other interests or personal information you may feel compelled to share?

We encourage designers to edit their video/audio clip in a way they feel best represents their work and how they are compelled to share it. This could be a slide show with voice over, speaking directly to the camera,  or other methods. See the FAQ below to expand further on potential ways to structure your clip.
What are the technical requirements?
  • All submission videos must be in .MOV or .MP4 format (no video links)
  • Resolution: 720p - 1080p (HD);
  • Compressed files preferred (maximum 200 MB);
  • Filmed horizontally;
  • Highly encouraged to have 3/4 (torso up) of themselves visible when filming and be in centre frame;
  • File format must include your full name and content of file and video format (eg. “Jane_Doe-UGA.mp4” OR “Jane_Doe-DesignersSpotlight.mov”);
  • If submitting an audio file only, file format must include your full name and content of file and audio format (.MP3 and .WAV only) (e.g. “Jane_Doe-DesignerIntro.mp3”);

Optional: For audio-only introductions we recommend also submitting an image (.jpg or .png) that you would like to have visible during playback (e.g. logo, name, headshot, preferred production still, etc.). 

See the FAQ for tips and  best practices on structuring your recording. 
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Designers

If you have any additional questions feel free to email Davey Calderon at davey@gvpta.ca.

1. How do this year’s Designers’ Spotlight work?
Designers invited to the 2022 Designers’ Spotlight will submit a video or audio clip (up to 5 minutes) that includes a self-introduction, information about your artistic mandate/philosophy, design practice, and interests or other personal information you feel compelled to share.

These videos along with resumes and portfolios will be accessible to directors for approximately two months.
2. How do I get invited to participate?
Review the eligibility criteria and fill out the application form linked at the top of this page by the deadline.
3. How do I become a GVPTA member?
If you are invited to participate in the Designers’ Spotlight, you will be required to have a current GVPTA Individual membership to confirm your spot. 

If you are not a current member, you will be asked to fill out a membership application form and pay an annual fee, sliding scale from $10. Find more information about membership here
4. If I apply, does that mean I’m automatically in?

Submitting an application does not guarantee a spot in the program. Only those invited to submit a video will be invited to do so.

5. How long is my Designers’ Spotlight video?
Your video can be a maximum of 5 minutes. Please review the If I'm Invited section above for more details.

6. What are the technical and editing requirements of my video?
Requirements include:
  • All submission videos must be in .MOV or .MP4 format (no video links);
  • Resolution: 720p - 1080p (HD);
  • Compressed files preferred;
  • Filmed horizontally;
  • For designers submitting audio only, file format must be in .MP3 and .WAV format.


Editing Requirements:
  • Designers are welcome to structure their introduction and discuss their artistic practice and other interests (see prompt questions under the If I'm Invited section) however you see fit. This structure may include, but is not limited to:
    • A one shot continuous or short edits for their introduction and other things they want to share; OR
    • An audio submission of their introduction and other things they want to share; OR
    • Your introduction has you on video, then there’s a cut to visuals or video clips or other recordings that highlight some of the work in your portfolio which helps illustrate your practice. For example:
      • Lee is a costume designer; they introduce themselves briefly on camera and then cut to slides of their costumes with a voice over talking about their process; OR
      • Scout is a sound designer; they introduce themselves briefly on camera and then cut to a screen recording of them showing their SoundCloud page and then playing samples of their soundscapes over a voice over that helps them talk about their practice.

7. Will I hear back from any of the directors after I submit?
Each director and producing company are provided your resume and are responsible for contacting you directly if they are interested in following up. Reminder: production cycles vary, especially during the pandemic, and you might not hear from interested directors for many months.


Note: GVPTA is not a producing organization and will not be a liaison for any of the companies in matching designers with directors.

8. Who will access my materials?
All GVPTA Member Companies are invited to view the submissions, which may include directors and production personnel responsible for hiring designers. Independent directors and non-member companies are also invited to participate if they intend to hire or create work in the next year. 

We cannot guarantee the number of directors or which individuals from the companies will watch your video. We will provide participating designers with a list of participating companies at the end of the program. 

For our current list of GVPTA member companies, check our member directory

9. Will my work in my portfolio or video be shown to anyone else?

We acknowledge all submitted work is the property of the submitting designer. Directors will be instructed to not share the portfolios or videos outside of their company. GVPTA will not make public, disseminate, and/or use the content submitted by designers without their written consent. GVPTA is not liable if a director or company member does make public, disseminates, and/or use any submitted works of designers.

10. Do I submit separate applications for the different design work I do?

We encourage you to apply and, if invited, submit one video that encompasses all your design skill sets. If you have multiple skill sets (e.g. you are a costume, prop, set, and lighting designer), we leave it up to you how you craft your portfolio and video to talk about all your design work. If you have space in your resumé (maximum of 2 pages), we suggest adding any other relevant work experience or skills we should be aware of (e.g. stage management, technical directing, production management, event planning, etc).

11. What are some video and audio best practices and advice?
General best practices for filming your video:
  • You’re welcome to film yourself with your phone, video recorder, or video camera;
  • Make sure you have front lighting so we can see your face;
  • Try your best to record in a quiet room or at a time with the least amount of background noise. Audio quality is key!
  • Do not use overlay filters or effects while filming your video;
  • Make sure you are framed in the shot and about 3/4s of you is visible (torso up), and camera is at eye level (not from above or below shots);
  • Do some research before-hand on your video settings, if you are new to self-taping checkout the articles below

General best practice for recording your audio:
  • If you are not comfortable doing your introduction on video, you have the option to submit an audio recording;
  • You’re welcome to use your phone or any audio recording device to record your audio;
  • If you are able to adjust your recording settings, we suggest recording between 16,000 - 48,000 Hz;
  • Try your best to record in a quiet room or at a time with the least amount of background noise.
12. Can I view an example of a recording?

To help you to prepare your recording, we've created three sample videos for reference:

13. What technical support can the GVPTA offer for submissions?
If you have specific technical complications for your submission our team can try and help, albeit limited resources ourselves. 

Specifically if you have trouble with your media files (video or audio) being attached to our online application form, then feel free to use either WeTransfer or shareable Google Drive link and send that to Davey (email address below).

Please let us know if you have any barriers or challenges as you prepare your materials, by contacting Davey Calderon at davey@gvpta.ca.

Articles on alternatives for submitting video or audio files:
  • WeTransfer is a free to use platform (although you can sign up to get more features) where folks can transfer files and prevent further compression (ie. prevents file quality to be compromised). If you need a quick tutorial on how to use it, check out this video (made by JayCLife). Troubleshooting for WeTransfer can be found here on their Help page.
  • Google Drive Sharing is a way to use your Google Drive to share files (make sure to upload those files in your Drive first). If you need a quick tutorial on how to set up a shareable file via Google Drive, check out this video (made by LAT IT Trainer).