A theatre lighting designer (or LD) works with the director, choreographer, set designer, costume designer, and sound designer to create the lighting, atmosphere, and time of day for the production in response to the text, while keeping in mind issues of visibility, safety, and cost. The LD also works closely with the stage manager or show control programming, if show control systems are used in that production.
Outside of stage lighting the job of a Lighting Designer can be much more diverse and they can be found working on rock and pop tours, corporate launches, art installation and on massive celebration spectaculars, for example the Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies.
The role of the lighting designer varies greatly within professional and amateur theater. For a Broadway show, a touring production and most regional and small productions the LD is usually an outside freelance specialist hired early in the production process. Smaller theatre companies may have a resident lighting designer responsible for most of the company’s productions or rely on a variety of freelance or even volunteer help to light their productions. At the Off-Broadway, or Off-Off-Broadway level the LD will occasionally be responsible for much of the hands-on technical work (hanging instruments, programming the light board, etc.) that would be the work of the lighting crew in a larger theatre.