If you love drama, then there are plenty of careers to consider that connect with the theatre. Creative types might enjoy roles such as directing, playwriting, or theatre design while practical people are needed for jobs such as lighting technician or stage crew member. Good people skills are needed in most roles but particularly if you’re helping audience members day in and day out as part of the front-of-house team. And show business is just that – a business that requires producers and marketing staff to make sure that tickets sell. So if you’re dreaming of treading the boards one day, read on to find out more about related careers.
As an actor, you will need to be versatile and able to work well under pressure. You might also have to travel away from home for long periods of time which can be tough if you have a family. But if you’re looking for a career in the theatre, there are plenty of other roles to consider that might be a better fit.
A director is responsible for the overall look and feel of a production. They work with the actors, designers, and technicians to bring the play to life on stage. Directors may also be involved in casting and rehearsal.
Directors must have a good understanding of theatre history, drama theory, and play structure as well as excellent interpersonal skills to ensure smooth running productions. Directors might work in the commercial or public sectors where they often oversee several shows at once.
Related careers include: director assistant, executive producer & lighting designer/director.
Producers are responsible for the financial and logistical aspects of putting on a show. They work with the director, designers, and cast to create a vision for the production and then make it happen. This can involve raising money, finding rehearsal space, hiring staff, and arranging marketing campaigns. Producers must be good at multitasking and have excellent organizational skills.
Related careers include: theatrical agent, box office manager, and assistant producer.
Working as a playwright is tough, with many writers struggling to make ends meet. But if you’re determined and talented, success can bring great rewards for both critical praise and financial gain.
Related careers include: author/novelist; script editor; broadcaster or journalist; teacher of creative writing (e.g., English, drama).
Stage managers need excellent technical and organizational skills as well as a cool head to handle difficult situations. They must be able to deal with different personalities and cope under pressure when there’s less than an hour before curtain up!
Related careers include: assistant stage manager, production manager; technician / sound engineer.
Working in front-of-house is a very different experience from performing on stage. You will be dealing with the audience and helping them enjoy their time at the theatre; we call this ‘customer service! The job involves welcoming members of the public, providing information about shows, and selling tickets.
Related careers include: box office assistant, usher; bar attendant.
Set designers work closely with directors to design a set that has visual impact and ties in with the director’s vision for the production. Set designers often set the overall tone for costume and lighting design too, so all these elements work together. Set designers need a good eye for detail, creativity, and technical skills to create accurate drawings of their designs.
Related careers include: scenic artist; prop maker; buyer/procurement manager.
Theatre lighting designers and sound designers help create the world of the play to draw audience members in – their work is both artistic and technical. Lighting and sound technicians support this, doing much of the practical work needed to set up for a show.
They must be able to work quickly and efficiently, as well as have an understanding of how theatre lighting and sound works. All of these roles need good practical skills, creativity, and the ability to work well under pressure.
Related careers to acting include: stagehand; electrician; carpenter.
Stagehands are the unsung heroes of theatre who work backstage to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Working backstage means they don’t get much time on the show, but their hard work is vital in making sure performances run smoothly for actors and audience members alike.
Discover more about how you can become part of a theatre stage crew. Stage crew members need to be physically fit as they are often on their feet for long periods, and have good problem-solving skills.
Related careers include: technician / sound engineer; builder; painter.
There are also many roles in theatre that don’t require technical or creative skills. Jobs such as usher, box office worker, and marketing staff are vital for ensuring that audiences have a great experience when they come to see a show. Find out more about how to get into front-of-house jobs.
Front-of-house jobs are customer service roles that require good communication skills, warmth, and tactfulness.
Related careers include: administrator; receptionist; salesperson.
And, there you have it – a range of careers to explore if you want to work in the theatre. Whether your skills lie in creativity, practicality, or people skills, there’s something here for everyone.
So if you’re thinking about a career in the theatre, hopefully, this has given you some ideas of other roles to explore! So what are you waiting for? Start your journey into theatre today!
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Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.