One key thing to know about the theatre industry is that you don’t need a degree or professional qualification to pursue a performing arts career!
If college and university isn’t an option you’d like to take, there are various ways for you to learn new skills and find the creative career path right for you; from backstage to costume, admin to acting!
In this blog, we’re going to highlight a handful of performing arts careers as well as a brief overview of what each role is.
The wardrobe and costume departments are key parts of any production. Below are just two of the performing arts careers within this department that don’t require degrees
A costume designer will be responsible for designing all the costumes for a production, ensuring they are from the correct time period and more. They will work closely with the director to ensure the director's vision is shown through the costumes. This role requires a lot of research and a creative mind, as well as knowledge of period fashion and what outfits work well on stage.
Useful skills for a costume designer:
A dresser will assist with the maintenance of costumes and ensure quick changes happen with ease. Dresser responsibilities may also include storing costumes and returning hired items, ensuring items fit performers and ensuring costumes are where they need to be at the correct times. Shows across the country rely on Dressers to ensure things go smoothly and without them, shows with multiple costume changes or large ensembles, wouldn’t go ahead.
This role does not require a degree, however, having experience in the following will help:
To find costume and wardrobe opportunities, click here.
These two performing arts careers are crucial to the smooth running of any theatre production. A stage manager will:
A deputy stage manager (also known as a DSM) will often be required to assist the stage manager. They will ensure technical cues are correct, that props and set are where they need to be and they will also make note of any changes made to the script during rehearsals.
Neither of these roles requires a degree but it is useful to have these skills:
This role is particularly important on tech-heavy shows like Wicked where not only is sound and lighting involved but there are multiple special effects cues.
If you would like to discover stage management and deputy stage management opportunities, click here!
A performing arts career many may not consider is a graphic designer. From branding, logos, poster design and print ads, graphic designers play a vital part in ensuring a show's marketing looks good and attracts audience members.
To follow a theatre graphic design career path, you don’t need to have a degree, however, having these skills will help you:
If you are looking to be involved within the theatre industry but don’t want to pursue such a creative path, then this career could be for you! Arts admin is a very varied role and includes responsibilities such as:
For this performing arts career, you don’t need a degree but it is helpful to have good communication and teamwork skills, as well as knowledge, interest, passion and experience in the performing arts industry.
Click here to read our blog with more information on art admin careers.
Many theatre companies and theatres offer internship schemes. The Young Vic Theatre runs a work experience and internship programme every August, allowing young people interested in wardrobe, stage management, sound and lighting to gain high-quality placement experience.
Check out some opportunities on our website here and if you don’t see anything listed from your local theatre, get in contact with them via their contact page on their website!
Another great way to gain experience is by participating in workshops. The Get Into Theatre website has a range of free and paid workshop opportunities from all over the country for many roles within the industry, including writing workshops in Cardiff, make-up workshops in Leeds and dance workshops in London.
Despite the performing arts careers mentioned in this blog not requiring a degree, there is always an option to get a qualification in your chosen area to boost your skills and knowledge. On our website, we have a wide range of courses from performing arts schools and universities across the country. Whether you’re looking for a foundation degree, BTEC, Ba or MA, you can see all of the courses listed here. Want to find out more about the training routes you can follow, check out our blog for more information!
Theatre training for all areas of the industry is more available than you may think. It can, however, be hard to know where to look, so if you’re having trouble finding opportunities, we’re here to help!
We've put together a list of ways you can find theatre training across the UK and ways you can discover the amazing opportunities available on our Get Into Theatre website.
Before you can start searching, it is important that you know which type of course, institution and training you’re looking for. Knowing the difference between a short course, conservatoire or university course will allow you to narrow down your choices. If you need more information on the types of courses and their accreditations, click here!
One of the best ways to stay up to date with the latest training programmes, courses and free opportunities offered by organisations is to sign up to receive newsletters. These can be weekly, fortnightly or sometimes monthly and usually contain a round-up of workshops and more.
Our Get Into Theatre newsletter is sent to our users who have opted to receive information from us and arrived in your inbox on a Friday. Plus they contain further information on ticket offers and other opportunities available.
Do you use social media? If so, following arts organisations and theatres is a great way to be kept in the loop about news and opportunities. Turning notifications on can be extremely helpful and will allow you to get updates on training as soon as they are shared.
If you can’t find the courses or training you’re looking for then don’t panic! Many organisations have a ‘Contact Us’ page on their website providing contact details or a contact form. Reaching out to a training provider directly allows you to ask any questions you may have. They can point you in the right direction and let you know about workshops or training that they may be able to offer.
This Get Into Theatre website brings together a wide range of theatre training opportunities available for young people across the UK. Our handy search bar and categories can help you determine exactly what you’re looking for.
Click the links below to be directed to the type of training you’re most interested in.
Be sure to check out our website for the full selection of courses and training available to you. Also, follow us on our social media platforms and sign up to our newsletter for all the latest updates on the best theatre training opportunities available for young people.
Do you manage or work for an institution, organisation or theatre? Perhaps you operate a theatre company creating opportunities for young people? We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch with Get Into Theatre today to list your training on our website for thousands of young people across the nation to discover.
Whilst training, courses and experiences are a great way to get into theatre, theatre ticket offers for young people can be just as life-changing and can act as a gateway to the start of a lifelong love for the industry. These types of discounts offer access to parts of the industry that are usually inaccessible to younger creatives for many reasons.
Today, we wanted to share some of the ticket offers for young people that are available on Get Into Theatre!
Based in Edinburgh? Check out Traverse Theatre’s £1 ticket scheme! With a limited number of £1 tickets available for selected shows and performances, Traverse offers those under 25 and those receiving low-income benefits tickets to see their vast programme of shows all year round. The venue hosts work created in Scotland, including the hit show Moorcroft, written and directed by Eilidh Loan and Love The Sinner by Imogen Stirling.
Donmar Warehouse’s YOUNG+FREE is the perfect theatre ticket offer for young people! And yes, that’s right. It’s free for 16 to 25 year olds. All you have to do is sign up for the YOUNG+FREE newsletter to be entered into a ballot for your chosen show. In 2023, you can catch a range of shows including Noël Coward’s Private Lives and Next To Normal.
Free to those under 26, Bridge Theatre’s Young Bridge scheme allows you to gain access to an exclusive allocation of tickets for each performance, as well as offers on other regular discounted seats! Make the most of this offer in 2023 by seeing the revival of the musical Guys and Dolls opening on 3 March.
The National Theatre hosts a range of productions and events every year, so take advantage of their £5 and £10 tickets if you are based in the UK and are between 16 to 25. and for many years, the venue has made it possible for younger people to see their range of shows at discounted rates. The best way to stay up-to-date with the shows is to sign up for the National Theatre newsletter to hear all about their latest ticket releases. The venue's current season includes Standing at the Sky’s Edge, Romeo and Julie and Dixon and Daughters.
As well as theatre ticket offers for young people, you can also find some incredible opportunities and access to other facilities alongside the discounts. Stratford East’s Freelance Royalty Scheme benefits arts freelancers aged 18+ living or working in East London. As well as ticket discounts, you can enjoy free or discounted rehearsal space, 15% off drinks at the Stratford East Bar and delicious food at Island Vibez Kitchen, invitations to networking events, a range of free workshops run by leading industry professionals and advice for freelancers. Workshops include ‘Telling Your Story On Stage’ with Emma Dennis-Edwards and ‘Structure and Conflict in Storytelling’ with Dipo Baruwa-Etti.
The Dukes in Lancaster is committed to ensuring that everyone can have access to the arts, no matter their age, location or background. Their free 16-25 membership offers exactly that. Upon signing up, you receive one free cinema ticket and on top of this, you can use this membership to get discounts on films, food and drink and theatre in the venue. Use these discounts to make the most of The Dukes monthly mystery film screening and the arts hub within the venue! As well as the latest cinema releases, in 2023, you can enjoy shows including Macbeth, Animal Farm, Showstopper and even comedy shows such as Sarah Millican: Late Bloomer.
The Almeida Theatre offers under 25s £5 tickets for selected performances and these tickets are usually made available approximately three weeks before previews. Cheap tickets aren’t the last of what this venue has to offer - you can also get 25% off all food and drink at the Almeida Cafe and Bar when you show your ticket. Currently, £5 tickets for those aged 25 and under are available for Women, Beware the Devil and The Secret Life of Bees.
At Bush Theatre, if you’re under 30 or a student, you can become a member of Bush Connect for free. Signing up for this scheme gives you access to £10 off full-price tickets (£5 off studio shows), special ticket offers and a 10% discount at the Bush’s Library Bar, as well as seasonal food and drink promotions. The current show plays in Bush Theatre’s main space is Sleepova by Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini and you can catch Bush Retrospectives, five rehearsed readings celebrating and reflecting on the plays that have premiered at the Bush over the past 50 years. When you attend your chosen performance, you’ll need to show proof of a valid ID or student ID.
Our last ticket offer for young people comes from Chichester Festival Theatre. This venue has just announced its new season including shows such as The Sound of Music, Follies, and Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins. If you love theatre and want to see these productions and more, all you have to do is register for the free Prologue membership scheme. This will get you access to £5 seats as long as you bring a valid ID with you on the day!
You can find all these theatre ticket offers for young people and more on the Get Into Theatre website here. We also have opportunities, training, funding, workshops and more available for young people across the country.
If you are an organisation/venue or know of an organisation/venue that runs a ticket scheme for young people, please get in touch today.
There are many different types of jobs in theatre and knowing where to start in your theatre career search can be difficult. Whether you want to be an actor, work within backstage & technical theatre or in one of the many supporting roles our list is a great starting point to learn what role in theatre would best suit you.
This complete list of careers in theatre is based on large-scale theatres in the UK. For smaller theatres or productions some roles in this list will not be applicable or the roles may be merged together.
Photo: Sim Canetty Clarke
There are many roles in theatre that don’t require any qualifications, where you can work your way up. However, if you are pursuing a career in theatre that requires a certain level of skill or safety qualifications – such as working with electrics or at height – this might mean you need qualifications, although not necessarily at degree level.
Take a look at the Careers in theatre blog for a full list of all jobs that are available in theatre. They are split into four sections; Creative Team, Production Team, Customer Service and Administration.
Here are some examples of roles in theatre that you can go straight into without a degree. You can use these as a starting point to gain that vital experience for you to pursue your chosen career.
You can start yourself up straight away as a freelance Writer, Director or Performer and can approach small scale/fringe theatres to gain and build up your experience. This can then lead to further work or open up your opportunities to approach larger scale theatres or productions.
Alternatively, there can be opportunities to be an assistant for these roles. This will also give you great experience and also the chance to work alongside other professionals and learn from them.
Starting as Stage Crew is great experience to gain knowledge and understanding of backstage roles to pursue a career in stage management, lighting or sound.
To pursue a career in the wardrobe department you can look at becoming a Wardrobe Assistant or Wigs Assistant.
Front of house, Ushers and Box Office Assistants are perfect roles at entry level. You’ll gain strong experience in customer service for you to pursue a career in this side of the theatre.
Sometimes Writers, Directors and Performers take on these roles as work in between their contracts.
Starting off in an Assistant or administration role for these departments will allow you to work alongside managers and give you the experience in an office environment to pursue those careers further.
Published: 04 March 2019
Do you want to find out more about offstage jobs? Are you looking for your first or next step in your theatre career? With the huge number of offstage job roles available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, TheatreCraft is here to help!
TheatreCraft is the UK’s largest free theatre careers event. The event is open to anyone aged 16 to 30 with an interest in offstage theatre jobs. Attendees can take part in sessions on producing, writing, directing, marketing, technical theatre, armoury, scenic art, costume and more. Plus, attend a marketplace where you can chat with a host of leading theatre organisations… all for free.
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Photo: James Boyer Smith
Make sure you sign up to TheatreCraft’s monthly newsletter, containing offstage theatre opportunities, training open days and exclusive ticket offers.
TheatreCraft also have a News and Opportunities section on their website, where you can read about past events and get an insight into organisations such as the Royal Opera House and Opera Holland Park.
Photo: Liza Heinrichs
If you’re interested in learning more about offstage theatre careers, check out these blog posts on Get Into Theatre:
Blog header photo: James Boyer Smith
Published: 15 November 2021
For many Theatremakers, a big career goal may be to have your own theatre company. While this might feel like a distant dream, something you’ll get to when you’re further into your career with a lot more experience, it doesn’t have to be.
Of course, you might want to start small - think fringe theatre rather than the West End - but if you have a strong idea for a company and believe it could fill a gap that no one else is covering, starting your own theatre company doesn’t have to be a dream you save for much later in your career.
So you’ve decided you’re ready to start a theatre company? Great! But where do you begin? What do you need to know from a legal perspective? How do you create a business plan? Where should you market your shows?
Artistic Directors of the Future has produced some really helpful videos as part of the Bite-size series that answer all of these questions and more. Keep reading to watch a sample of this series, or if you’re from a Black, Asian or ethnically diverse background, you can become a member of Artistic Directors of the Future for free to access the series in full.
It’s really important to choose the right legal structure for your theatre company, otherwise it can end up preventing you from accessing the funding you need. Solicitor Keith Arrowsmith, who provides legal advice for individuals, organisations and funders in the creative sector, takes you through how to choose the right structure and where to start with making this key decision.
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You might want to also read: How to become a freelancer in theatre
Creating a business plan from scratch can feel like a very daunting task. Executive Director of Tamasha Valerie Synmoie breaks it down into what you might need for the first three years. Find out what a business plan is, why you need one, what to include, and where to look for further help.
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Once you’ve set up your theatre company, how do you spread the word and encourage audiences to your shows? Courtney Glymph and Chris O’Gorman from YourStoryPR talk through the fundamentals of marketing and PR, including strategy, branding, media platforms and messaging.
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If you’re interested in theatre marketing, check out our blog post: What does a Theatre Marketer do?
When starting your theatre company, you will need to think about how to fund the company and its productions. Producer, Spoken Word Artist and Loop Vocalist Koko Brown shares some tips on how to navigate Arts Council England funding applications, from creating your account to setting a budget and writing your application.
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Published: 5 November 2021
Blog photo: Pexels
If you’re from a Black, Asian or ethnically diverse background and are interested in a career as an Artistic Director, or hope to one day be in a leadership position within a theatre organisation (including Executive Director, General Manager, Producer, Chair and Trustee), make sure Artistic Directors of the Future is on your radar.
Not sure what an Artistic Director does? Start here by reading our blog post all about the role!
Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF) is an arts leadership training and membership organisation that is dedicated to creating change where it matters most: at leadership level.
Its mission is to increase leadership representation and progress the careers of theatre practitioners who are Black, Asian or ethnically diverse through its core services of leadership development and consultancy.
ADF works in partnership with leading theatre organisations to deliver a programme of workshops, events and professional development initiatives that demystify the roles of leadership positions, generate access to positions of authority and create career development opportunities.
Some of the organisations that work with ADF:
As a member, you can access both online and in-person training activities aimed at different stages of your career.
For all career levels, ADF offers consultancy for expert advice and support, online resources on topics such as starting a theatre company and pathways into leadership roles and Artistic Directors Lab, a half-day interactive workshop to gain a deeper understanding of the responsibilities of an Artistic Director.
Mid-career leaders can access training including the Board Shadowing Programme, ADF Innovators, theatre residencies, a Leadership Lab and application and interviewing skills.
As well as the brilliant training programmes, Artistic Directors of the Future runs a number of conferences and networking events, which are perfect for meeting other ADF members and hearing from current leaders in the theatre industry.
See all ADF’s conferences and networking events here.
If you’re looking for even more career support, you can opt for a Silver or Gold Membership via a monthly or annual payment to access all of ADF’s resources and opportunities.
Published: 5 November 2021
Blog photo: Shutterstock
It takes a ‘village’ of creatives to put a show together. For everyone to be on the same page, you need feedback. However, theatre criticism, aka reviews, is another form of feedback. Feedback comes from the rehearsal room, the audition panel or the classroom, whereas theatre criticism comes from the audience’s views.
Written by Critics on Press Night, reviews analyse the quality of the play, the creative team’s decisions (sets, lighting, costumes, etc.) and the Director’s choices. Good reviews are there to make you think about the creative choices you have made. Don’t take them as judgments. They can be really helpful because they offer you the audience’s point of view, people who were not part of the rehearsal process.
Never forget, though, that your goal is not to please critics. Critics are coming from a different place, and sometimes it’s best not to engage with them too much.
Feedback, however, is something you will have to deal with as it is coming from the rehearsal room, audition panel or your Tutor. The question is: how do you approach feedback in a way that doesn’t affect your mental health?
I had a chat with Life/Acting Coach and Author of ‘A Life-Coaching Approach To Screen Acting’, Daniel Dresner. He says that you should “approach feedback in a spirit of curiosity”, which means being open to your Director or Tutor’s feedback. Don’t forget that you are part of the project because they are interested in you and your work. They are rooting for you right from the audition or interview stage, so the feedback you are getting is not a judgment of your character. It should always be about the work, so try to “take the emotion out of it”, as Daniel Dresner would say.
The feedback a Producer or Director gives you is there to help you stay on track by reminding you of the world of the play you’re all trying to create. Listen to their notes very carefully. Daniel Dresner would even encourage you to rephrase and repeat their feedback to make sure you clearly understand what they would like you to do. And don’t forget to thank them. Feedback is help, not criticism.
The process of putting a show together is an exciting but complex one, and you have to trust that the process will get you there as long as you keep at it. Don’t let the critical voice in your head get the best of you. You are a part of this project because your voice, your sensitivity, your talent are valued. Stay engaged in the process, welcome feedback, and share your thoughts and ideas with the creative team. It will make the show stronger.
If you found this blog post helpful, you might also want to read:
Written by Youness Bouzinab
Youness Bouzinab is a Moroccan, Greek and Belgian, performer, theatre-maker and dramaturg. He trained on the BA (Hons) Acting, Collaborative and Devised Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Since graduating, Youness has worked with Complicité, Frantic Assembly and at the National Theatre Studio.
Published: 21 October 2021
Blog photo: Shutterstock
Maybe you’ve had a look at a range of different roles on a theatre production team, and you’ve got your sights set on one - but how do you land a job on a theatre production team?
If you’re unsure what type of role you’d enjoy, check out the Production Team section of Get Into Theatre’s Complete list of jobs in the theatre industry! Company Manager Antonia Collins advises that even if you have your sights set on a particular role, "don’t be afraid to try other roles". For example, taking on a Followspot Operator role even if you aspire to be a Deputy Stage Manager will help hone your transferable skills and build your network and relationship with the team you end up working with at the venue.
The first place to start is to look for current opportunities and vacancies in the industry. Like any other industry, there are a couple of key places to check out, where employers (often Producers, Production Managers or Company Managers) will share roles they’re looking to fill on a production team. These include association and union job boards (including Equity UK, the Stage Management Association (SMA), the Association for British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), and more - check out AAPTLE), or websites like Mandy. However, many of these job boards are behind paywalls (meaning you’ll need to be a member of the union/association in order to access it), which may not be particularly accessible if you’re just starting out.
Other free places to look include:
Antonia stresses the importance of networking, particularly in expanding your own personal reach and getting to know professionals currently working in the industry and projects in production. This can be as simple as saying hello to someone by shooting them an email for a coffee or popping along to a social event hosted by an association. A lot of people working in theatre are extremely friendly and are willing to give up a bit of their time to chat to someone starting out.
The next step after setting your sights on a job is to go ahead and apply! Most opportunities will request a CV (or ‘curriculum vitae’), a cover letter, and sometimes a portfolio. Portfolios tend to be requested when putting yourself forward for design-based roles - check out Get Into Theatre’s tips for lighting, set, and costume portfolios.
If the employer likes the look of your CV and cover letter, you might be invited to meet for an interview. You might be asked questions about your past experience and why you’re interested in this particular role, project and company. Always do a bit of preparation and research in advance; Antonia recommends having some answers prepared based on the nature of the role. For example, if you’re interviewing to be an Assistant Stage Manager, you’re likely to be asked about props.
Company Stage Manager Ali Wade notes that interviews really depend on the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re looking for a role as an Automation Technician, the person interviewing you might be less worried about your people skills than your capability to fix complex broken things. However, “a sense of humour never goes amiss”, and it’s important that you’re positive and enthusiastic.
Don’t be disheartened if a rejection lands in your inbox - you just might not have been the right fit for the team or company! Ali’s main advice is “don’t try to run before you can walk. Don’t be disappointed if you get rejected for a position on a big, commercial musical - the idea is to start smaller, build skills and confidence and work your way up to the bigger productions - you will probably be a better Stage Manager for it.”
Written by Misha Mah
Misha Mah is an early-career Production Manager and Producer, with an interest in immersive work and live events. She is a graduate of the University of Birmingham’s BA Drama and Theatre Arts course, and will be commencing on the MA Stage & Production Management programme at the Guildford School of Acting this fall. She is currently the Social Media Manager for The SM NEST, the network for early-career stage managers.
Company Manager Antonia Collins
Company Stage Manager Ali Wade
Published: 6 October 2021
Blog photo: Alex Brenner