While competitive, working in the theatre industry can be an especially fulfilling career path in that it tends to draw those into it who are quite passionate, which can create an exhilarating environment and sense of communal drive. Regardless of your role in a production, you can have a direct impact on its quality and success. Knowing which job in theatre best suits your abilities and personality are important, but it requires research and analysis. In this article, we discuss some of the most popular theatre jobs in different categories.
Job opportunities in theatre
Whether or not they are specifically performance-related or not, each of the following theatre opportunities is a creative role with applying some aspect of creative vision to the show itself.
Primary duties: Choreographers plan, organize and manage the dance routines, costumes, visual elements and music within a theatre production. They usually have excellent dancing ability and extensive production experience, which allows them to identify the elements that best fit each production and make them appealing to a wider audience. Most choreographers are trained as professional dancers and evolve from there.
Primary duties: Playwrights are also called scriptwriters and are tasked with writing the main story for theatrical productions. They need to create all lines of dialogue between performers and describe each scene, with the director and the performers then taking that information and turning it into a live performance.
Primary duties: Theatrical costume designers are responsible for creating or choosing all elements of the performers outfits, including clothes, jewelry, masks, gloves, hats and anything else a performer may wear during a theatre production.
They have to match the outfits with the productions historical period, each characters personal style and other relevant factors. Most costume designers have experience in fashion design.
Primary duties: Theatre performers entertain audiences by performing various acts, usually including acting, singing and dancing. They play characters on stage according to a predetermined script and do so according to the directors vision and ideas.
There are no specific qualifications for becoming a performer, but acquired knowledge and experience in various elements of musical theatre, such as singing and dancing, is typically required.
Primary duties: A theatre directors job generally consists of overseeing all major aspects of staging a show, such as determining the cast, choosing their costumes and planning their performance. The directors implement their own vision of how a script needs to be played out and gives the cast and crew directions on how to recreate that vision. Most theatre directors start by earning a bachelors degree in theatre production or a related field.
Beyond the actors and pieces on stage, much is involved with a successful show that may be a little more behind the scenes. Here are some production-related jobs in theatre:
Primary duties: Sound technicians, also called sound engineers, are responsible for the sound quality of theatre productions. They use their skill and expertise to make sure all sounds, such as voices, effects and music, are properly produced, mixed, recorded, synchronized with the production and reproduced on stage. There is no official requirement for becoming a sound technician, but relevant qualifications and experience increase an applicants odds of being selected for the role.
Primary duties: A producers exact job description usually slightly varies from one theatre production to another, but they are generally tasked with supervising and implementing all aspects of the production.
Some of their duties include finding investors, organizing budgets and finances, negotiating staff contracts, managing all technical aspects of the play, setting up deadlines for various tasks, working on marketing strategies to promote the production, supervising directors and artists and ensuring compliance with the law, among others. There is no specific career path to becoming a producer, although most have a degree and direct experience in media-related subjects.
National average salary: Salary data not available
Primary duties: Artistic directors are employed by theatre companies to create, develop and implement a chosen artistic vision to all its productions. They report to the chief administrative officer and make crucial decisions regarding the organizations artistic direction and values. Most artistic directors have previous experience in directing or producing theatre productions.
Primary duties: A theatre productions casting director is responsible for finding candidates for performer roles and selecting the most suitable candidates for each. They must make sure that the chosen candidates fit the characteristics required by the script and the director and have the skill and experience to successfully perform their role.
There is no formal qualification needed to work as a casting director, but most have a degree in theatre or film production.
With every good show, there is an audience who is hopeful of a complete experience that starts from the moment their ticket is torn; customer service is key. Here are some customer service-related jobs in theatre:
Primary duties: Ushers are responsible for the well-being of the customers before, during and right after a theatre performance. They show audience members to their seats, sell snacks and drinks, issue programmers, ensure their safety and communicate with other members of the staff to make sure everything is running as planned. There is no formal qualification needed to become an usher.
Primary duties: Front-of-house managers deal with various daily operations related to the theatres reception and seating area. These include overseeing building security operations, making sure employees follow safety procedures, hiring and training new staff, providing customer service to theatre visitors and resolving any issues that may arise with theatre guests.
There is no required qualification for being a front-of-house manager, but soft skills like good communication and numeracy are usually very important for the role.
Primary duties: Theatre company managers usually act as a link between the theatre manager and the rest of the production staff. They deal with day-to-day management issues, like handling staff concerns, handling communication, making sure everyone performs their duty, creating schedules, negotiating contracts and other similar tasks. Most company managers have experience in other aspects of management.
Primary duties: Theatre managers supervise all aspects regarding how a theatre is administered and how its shows are produced. They handle all organizational, financial and marketing aspects of the administration, helping the theatre make a profit from creating and staging various productions. A theatre manager is involved in all aspects related to the execution of the theatres business plan. Most candidates for the role have backgrounds in administration and art.
Beyond all the elements onsite of the production on show night, working in theatre has many figures involved who help to make it all happen. Here are some more administration-related jobs in theatre:
Primary duties: Drama teachers are responsible for training future theatre performers. Most of them teach students aged 11 to 18 and provide them with all the basic knowledge required to begin working as a stage performer. Their duties include regularly setting up school plays and productions, giving their students a theatre experience. Drama teachers who work in schools typically need a bachelors degree in a theatre-related field and a teaching certificate.
Primary duties: Theatre marketers are responsible for advertising a theatre production and encouraging potential customers to buy tickets and see the shows. They use all available media channels to inform the public regarding the theatres future performances and encourage them to attend. Their tasks usually involve promoting both the shows and the theatre itself.
Primary duties: Theatre agents are hired by various entertainment industry performers, such as actors, singers, directors, presenters, authors, and scriptwriters, to represent them in discussion with potential employers.
They help their clients maintain a certain image, arrange auditions for them, negotiate their contracts, handle media inquiries and offer them industry-related advice, all with the purpose of advancing their career. Most agents have backgrounds in public relations, law, business or economics.
Primary duties: Chief financial officers are usually hired by large theatres or theatre companies to oversee all financial operations and ensure compliance with various financial regulations. They work closely with the management team to create short, medium and long-term financial strategies with the ultimate purpose of growing the theatres revenue.