Directors are responsible for bringing a Playwright's words to life on stage or leading the Actors in a direction to create a story, called ‘devising’. They oversee every detail of the creative process and create a cohesive and compelling play by using their own artistic interpretation of the script.

What are the main responsibilities of a Director?

What qualifications do I need to be a Director?

While there are no specific qualifications needed to be a Director, these courses could be beneficial:

Having experience in directing through amateur dramatics or community theatre can be helpful in building your CV and understanding of your own directing style. 

Here are some subjects that you can study at school which will teach you some useful skills on your journey to becoming a Director:

What skills do I need to be a Director?

If you’re thinking of becoming a Director, these can be the desirable skills to be an ideal candidate:

What does a career in directing look like?

As a Director, you start the process by analysing the script, grasping its themes, characters and messages. You might plan what you want the play’s key message to be before the actors join. Research and development days may follow - experimenting with ideas alongside the creative team. Both creative meetings and logistical production meetings with the production team happen throughout the process.

In rehearsals you guide actors through scenes, giving direction and ensuring that your vision is successfully coming to life. During technical rehearsals, sound and lighting elements are incorporated into the play, overseen by the technical designers. There will also be dress rehearsals with all costume, set and props. Directors may watch initial performances to provide feedback, but it's not mandatory. Once the show is running, your job is done. 

Throughout the whole process, you will need to manage admin tasks, communicate with the team and balance artistic goals with practical constraints like budgets. Despite the demanding work, collaborating with talented artists to bring stories to life on stage can be highly rewarding.

How much can a Director earn?

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.

References:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/theatre-director

Photo: Alex Brenner

Updated: 17 May 2024

With GCSE exams and A-Level exam season about to begin, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and underprepared. Often, there's a lot of pressure put on these few months and this can lead to anxiety. It's important to remember that exams are not the be-all and end-all of your life. However, it can feel that way how. If you're seeking some reassurance, then look no further! We spoke to some industry professionals and asked for their top tips for getting through exam season.

Kelly Anne – she/her - Marketing Coordinator - Disney Theatrical Group, Events at Regal Theatre (Merlin Cinemas), Soviet Zion: The Musical

It is so important to emphasise that there is no one route to success - you are on your own path - life is so unpredictable, and it will happen when you least expect it. I highly recommend building your portfolio online, with a subject you’re most interested in and build experiences around it - reach out to people, there is nothing to lose!

Jak Malone – he/him - Actor - Operation Mincemeat

Exams can feel like an impending doom! But that shouldn’t be the case. I treated my exams like an opportunity to give myself a pat on the back for all of the shiny new knowledge I’d retained throughout my schooling. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ve remembered once you get there. Everyone learns in their own way and at their own pace. Any nugget of knowledge is an achievement! Go easy on yourself and celebrate a job well done!

Chris Leask – he/him - Actor - Peter Pan Goes Wrong, The Goes Wrong Show (BBC), The Comedy About A Bank Robbery.

All you can do is your best. Trust that you'll be able to give your best on the day. Remember; no matter what happens this chapter of your life does not define you or your journey.

Lloyd McDonagh – he/him - Actor - The Mind Mangler, The Tempest - Shakespeare's Globe, Ghost Stories.

Speaking as someone who wasn’t particularly fond of exam environments, I know EXACTLY how daunting these times can be.

The level of pressure that is on your mind and body isn’t a nice feeling and then the dread of having to pick up your results. Thoughts like “Did I work hard enough?”, “Should I have listened more?” and “Will I be okay?” constantly running through your head as you walk towards the exam hall.

The worst part of all this? Is getting yourself worked up.

At times, It may seem like everyone around you is miles ahead, excelling beyond belief and understanding everything without any issues but I guarantee, you’re not alone. I’d recommend checking in with your friends and making sure you’re all supporting each other, they might be just as worried as you are!

Sometimes it can feel like everyone around you is expecting superhuman results and a clean sweep of A*’s from you - but I promise you that no one puts more pressure on yourself than you do. The people around you want the best for you and want you to succeed in your chosen field. Think of them as your cheerleaders or ensemble!

Here are three things I want you to remember:

1.           Be prepared! (Read, write, sing, watch, listen - Give yourself the best chance at reaching your potential)

2.           Try your best. (It's all anyone or yourself can ask for and it is more than enough).

3.           Ease up and be kind to yourself. (You’re doing great – I promise.)

And at the end of the day, if it doesn’t go exactly how you planned it to, here’s some advice.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. Put it down to ‘life experience’ - and that is GOLD DUST to an actor.

For more advice from industry professionals, click here.

(Image credit: (c), Michael Shelford, Adam Hill)

"If you were good enough you wouldn’t need a day job."

That’s the message I received over and over again growing up – I wanted to work in theatre, and everyone knew that an aspiring theatremaker would wait tables or pull pints for a while before getting the Big Break and never looking back. It all sounded so straightforward – you work hard, eventually, someone notices your talent, and you get the career you deserve. If you didn’t, it’s because you either weren’t good enough or didn’t work hard enough.

Of course, I didn’t know anyone who actually worked in theatre. My perception was shaped by films, TV shows, and interviews – fictional and heavily edited narratives. Drama school reinforced the idea that hard work and talent were what it took and that anything but uncomplicated success was a personal failure.

Once I was out of drama school, however, a different picture began to form. I saw brilliant actors work themselves so hard they burned out and quit. I knew how hard I was working and I wasn’t getting anywhere, so did that mean I wasn’t good enough? I was looking for directing jobs and couldn’t get hired, so I took on more work at my day job to earn enough money to stage my own work. That’s a surefire way to get noticed, right?

Except that’s not what happened. I made my own work, it took a long time to add up to being offered paid work, and I still needed a day job. I won a prestigious award and still needed a day job. Over the past year, I’ve had my first opera performed, I’ve been on international residencies, my first book got published, and I directed a popular Fringe show which is currently booking tour dates in the US and Canada. People look at my CV and website and tell me I have an enviable and successful career, and I agree. But I still teach acting classes. That’s still my money job. I just no longer think it has anything to do with how good I am. It has everything to do with theatre being an industry that doesn’t pay well and where work is sporadic.

Day rates often make it sound like theatre is well-paid – and sure, if you were getting that day rate every working day for 48-50 weeks a year, it would be. But remember that it’s covering you for all the days you don’t get paid for – the days when you’re doing applications/self-tapes, going to auditions/interviews, learning new skills, prepping for rehearsals. The number of days you spend putting in work and the number of days you get paid for are not the same thing.

I’m not telling you this to put you off. I love what I do and I regret nothing. I’m lucky enough to really like my money job, too – nurturing new actors is one of my favourite things to do. I’m telling you all of this because if you’re someone who needs a money job while you find your feet in the industry, it’s good to put some thought into what that will be. You want something that will pay your bills but leave you with enough energy to put into your art. Ideally, you want something that connects to your art rather than taking you away from it, like teaching or ushering or script reading, where you might also meet future collaborators who are also walking the longer path and experiencing the same self-doubt as you. Have faith in each other, and in yourself, and trust that the quality of your work will get you to where you need to be – and that needing a money job is no reflection of anything except many years of the arts being undersupported.

Written by Jen McGregor (any pronouns), director/playwright/dramaturg. Working in theatre since 2011 – making a living at it since 2018!

There are a lot of stereotypes about people who work in theatre. You have to have a loud and in-your-face personality, and you have to enjoy being the centre of attention, but like all stereotypes, they're not actually true. When I was younger I used to have panic attacks if I had to speak in front of people. The fear of being asked to read aloud in school was paralysing. But I found other ways to make myself seen and heard.

Moving my body in dance classes gave me a new language, a way of saying all the things I wasn't confident enough to say with my voice. With choreography to concentrate on, I could step out onstage and forget the audience existed. And when I eventually started acting, I could immerse myself in different characters and become someone else, someone who could say and do things I didn't feel brave enough to.

Obviously, not everyone shares this experience. Maybe you're perfectly happy hiding out backstage among the costumes or sound equipment. There are a million ways to be creative and countless different careers in the arts where your skills, and your voice, will be important. I now run my own theatre company, managing projects from behind the scenes. I write, direct and produce plays that give other people the chance to see themselves reflected onstage. Creativity can come in the form of finding new ways to fundraise or reach audiences, workshop activities that help people whose brains learn differently to thrive, or designing the eye-catching poster that draws someone to a show that will change their life. Creative industries are as limitless as the people who shape them, and all the best art comes from breaking the mould – even quietly.

During the casting process for shows I direct, I'm often drawn to the quiet actors, the gentle ones, who listen more than they talk. Even from the other side of the audition panel, theatre spaces seem full of impossibly confident people, but when you remember that pretending is part of the job, suddenly it becomes clear we're all just as nervous and eager to prove ourselves as one another. Trust that there are people out there who will appreciate your ability to watch, listen, absorb, empathise, understand and choose your words (or whatever form your expression takes) with intention. Because that is what gives art its power. It's about what we say, not how loud we say it.

There are times when you will have to push yourself, embrace the fear of jumping in head first in group auditions, be proud in showing that interview panel why your project deserves support, and make yourself heard when your ideas could help create something spectacular. It may take time to find your way of saying the things you need to say, maybe even longer to find places and people who make you feel brave enough to act on your passion. But trust me, it will be worth it.

Written by CJ Turner-McMullan (they/them) Creative Director of Apricity Theatre, freelance Actor, Director and Writer, PhD Researcher and Associate Lecturer at Bath Spa University.

November marks our ‘Misconception Series’, where we’ll explore the misconceptions of theatre careers and the types of people who do them - written by those working in the industry.

Blog One: Theatre isn’t a ‘real job’

Growing up, I was applauded by my bravery for pursuing a job in theatre. It was as if I was taking a risk that I may regret when ‘adulting’ needs to kick in, or that I needed to be prepared to take a lifetime of questioning and rejection. The perception of theatre careers is mixed and can change depending on who you talk to. Often, opinions can be contradictory. Some take the view that it’s a non-academic lazy option where you spend your time running around a rehearsal room, whilst some see it as a brutal and exhausting endeavour. While the latter can sometimes be true (but is becoming increasingly better) the first is definitely not; with those in the industry being some of the smartest, most intuitive, creatively brilliant and hardest working people I know. 

The need to tell stories and be creative are some of the most real things about human beings. So, why is there this misconception that theatre isn’t a ‘real job’?

Perhaps this comes from people (sometimes with the best intentions) that do not see the value in creative empowerment, non-hierarchical collaboration and creation, versus sales targets, KPIs and clear progression lines. 

It could also be that theatre work is very largely freelance, which can be viewed as financially unstable. However, so is plumbing and I never hear this profession described in the same way! If freelance work does worry you, there are numerous salaried jobs within the industry, my own included. Many of them are part of the production process or are more venue-based (see our full list of job roles in the industry). 

It could also be that people still think you need to work for free for a large portion of your early career. Get Into Theatre proves that this isn’t the case, and often there's funding or apprenticeships to explore your way through finding yourself in the theatre world, before you set a financial value for yourself (either freelance or salaried). I, myself, spent a large portion of my early career working Front of House at my local theatre and assisting youth theatre workshops - meaning I got paid to watch theatre and work with numerous directors and practitioners to develop my own craft. This was something that I found invaluable moving forward.

Whatever your (or someone that cares about you) reasoning for thinking theatre isn’t a ‘real job’, ask them and yourself:

What really makes a job a job? 

A job can often be described as something you just do for money, whereas a career is something you give your time, energy and drive to. There are many jobs within theatre, but many people are talking about a career when they want to break into the industry. A career gives breathing time to find your tribe, explore different disciplines and drive forward with what feels right at that time. What really makes a career and career? The person! If you want to do it, go for it!

What if I want to change careers later down the line? Am I limiting myself? 

The skills learned within the theatre industry are some of the most versatile and transferable. Plus, cross-sector working is becoming increasingly common within the industry, enabling you to gather even more skills. Don’t feel as though you are limiting yourself by choosing this path now, if anything you are expanding your options!

When I look to the future, what’s the most important thing to me? 

This is a very personal question and one I can’t answer for you. But, for me, it’s to be happy, empowered, creatively challenged, part of a like-minded tribe and make a difference to something that is so important to me. 

Whatever your reasoning for wanting a career in theatre, please know that those also in the industry value your contribution and absolutely know that what you’re doing is a ‘real job’, no matter what stage you’re at. 

Written by Alex Duarte-Davies (She/her) Director of Get Into Theatre, former Head of Community and Outreach at Theatre Royal Bath, freelance Producer, Director and Practitioner. Working in theatre and officially ‘adulting’. 

Breaking news from Get Into Theatre and ATG!

Get Into Theatre and ATG have announced an exciting new partnership: Work In Theatre.

Funded by Arts Council England, Work In Theatre is a nationwide careers programme to improve access to theatre careers for young people and emerging artists across England, Scotland and Wales.

Activity will take place across 15 ATG venues nationwide, with digital activity hosted here on getintotheatre.org. WORK IN THEATRE will reach more than 30,000 young people, teachers and freelance artists across the UK!

We've been working to develop WORK IN THEATRE with secondary school teachers across the UK, following feedback that young people’s varying needs across the regions are not being met by the current ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to theatre work experience opportunities. We're going to empower teachers to develop a meaningful careers offer that showcases the range of careers within the theatre industry.

Co-Authored with teachers, the year-long project will be delivered through three strands:

These strands will meaningfully inspire, educate and spotlight the breadth of on and offstage careers available within the theatre industry and will be brought to those that may not have thought theatre was a space for them; improving equal access for young people from lower socio-economic, d/Deaf or disabled and Black, Asian & ethnic backgrounds.

Work In Theatre Experience will act as a careers learning programme - curated alongside local schools, offered to young people from education settings and connected within their local ATG venue.

Work In Theatre Conference will be a hybrid offer of digital and in-person Continued Professional Development for teachers from targeted state schools, ensuring those with direct access to young people feel confident discussing routes into the industry.

Work In Theatre Commissions will commission emerging creative practitioners from under-represented backgrounds within each region, to create dynamic video responses that capture their career journey - to inspire all of you in Get into Theatre’s digital network.

Alexandra Snell, Senior Creative Learning Manager, Milton Keynes Theatre said:

“We are delighted that thanks to funding from Arts Council England, we enter an exciting next phase of our ongoing partnership with Get into Theatre - bringing the passion, commitment, and expertise of our organisations together in the locally driven, nationwide delivery of the Work in Theatre initiative. We believe partnerships are powerful. This collective approach ensures we’re able to deliver impactful and locally relevant engagement that moves us forwards in our shared commitment to nurture and inspire the industry's next diverse generation.”

Get Into Theatre Director Alex Duarte-Davies added:

“Get Into Theatre exists for those young people who want to build their road map, or at least take a peek at what could be possible - from their homes and school classroom. However, getting through those physical doors can often be a daunting challenge. This collaboration with ATG will see those doors opened wide and ensure that young people from all backgrounds are given the same opportunities to ‘get into theatre’, as well as supporting teachers to confidently offer meaningful and up-to-date guidance to their students. It is a step in breaking down those barriers between education and industry, to ensure that the future of the sector is both representational and accessible.”

Produced by 15 ATG venues, with digital activity showcased on the Get Into Theatre website, the project will run until April 2024.

To find out more and get involved email Get Into Theatre director Alex Duarte-Davies on alex@getintotheatre.org.

We'll be reaching out to the Get Into Theatre community soon with more details about how you can get involved.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Work in Theatre

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!

Traverse £1 Tickets - Traverse Theatre - Edinburgh 

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.

Summary

YOUNG+FREE - Donmar Warehouse - London

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.

Summary

Young Bridge free membership - Bridge Theatre - London

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.

Summary

16-25 £5 and £10 tickets - National Theatre - London

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 EdgeRomeo and Julie and Dixon and Daughters.

Summary

The Freelance Royalty Scheme -  Stratford East - London

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.

Summary

Free 16-25 membership - The Dukes - Lancaster

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 MacbethAnimal FarmShowstopper and even comedy shows such as Sarah Millican: Late Bloomer.

Summary

Under 25s - Almeida Theatre - London

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.

Summary

Bush Connect - Bush Theatre - London

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. 

Summary

Free Prologue membership 16-30 - Chichester Festival Theatre - Chichester

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 MusicFollies, 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! 

Summary

Don’t miss out! 

You can find all these theatre ticket offers for young people and more on the Get Into Theatre website here. We also have opportunitiestrainingfundingworkshops 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.

Get Into Theatre gives young people thousands of training, experience and funding opportunities from colleges, universities, drama schools, theatres and arts organisations all over the UK. These opportunities are for everyone no matter what gender you are, ethnicity, background or ability/disability. 

 

Find training, experience and funding opportunities for those with disabilities here. 

 

Access is a basic right and requirement that is constantly changing and improving the theatre industry and allows it to grow. Accessibility enables theatre practitioners (someone who creates theatre performances) and audiences to create, engage and enjoy. Find out more about Access to Work here. LINK

There are so many opportunities available, both on and offstage for people with disabilities, the problem is that young people don’t know where to find them. Not only that but they don’t know where/who you can turn to for support. We want to ensure that you have the knowledge and information that you need to pursue a career within the theatre industry so we have done the research for you. We have listed a number of amazing organisations that can help teach you, advise you and support you as you begin your dream career. 

 

Blind

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

Helpline: 03031239999

RNIB is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people. They offer help and support for blind and partially sighted people and this can be anything from practical and emotional support, campaigning for change and reading services. 

 

Vocal Eyes

This organisation aims to increase opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to experience and enjoy the arts and make them aware of the opportunities available to them.

See their opportunities here. 

 

D/deaf

Action Hearing Loss

Action Hearing Loss is the largest charity for people with hearing loss in the UK. They support and help you from day-to-day care, to practical information, to campaigning for a fairer world for people with hearing loss, and funding research to find a cure.

 

Signed Culture

This organisation supports and promotes BSL access to the arts in the UK. 

 

All disabilities (including blind and D/deaf) and learning difficulties

Graeae

Graeae is a theatre company who produce theatre productions and also deliver training programmes and opportunities for aspiring and already established Actors, Directors and Writers. Graeae also provide bespoke access solutions such as:

See Graeae’s opportunities here. 

 

Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap is one of Europe’s leading learning disability theatre companies that creates work for the UK and international audiences. Their vision is to work in an arts sector where there is equal opportunity for performers with learning disabilities. They work in partnership with learning disabled artists to deliver a bold, cutting-edge and world-class artistic programme that makes an impact. 

Mind the Gap offers several training courses for adults with a learning disability to kick-start their career in performing arts which you can find here. LINK

 

Disability Arts Online

Disability Arts is an organisation led by disabled people and created to improve and support disability arts and culture. Disability Arts understand that being an artist can be difficult and even more so for disabled artists and this platform gives them a platform to blog, and share thoughts, images, projects and general daily things to be creative with other like-minded people. They also respond to email requests for information and advice. 

 

National Disability Theatre

National Disability Theatre employs professional theatre artists who create fully accessible, world-class theatre and storytelling; change social policy and the nation’s narrative about disability culture.

 

Unlimited

Unlimited is an arts commissioning programme - run by Shape Arts and Artsadmin - that enables new work by disabled artists to reach the UK and international audiences. They are the largest supporter of disabled artists worldwide.

 

Shape Arts

Shape Arts is a disability-led arts organisation which works to improve access to culture for disabled people by:

They also provide access auditing and training services to arts organisations and delivering consultancy which works towards the improvement of cultural services for all disabled people.

 

Artsadmin

Artsadmin is a producing and presenting organisation for contemporary artists working in theatre, dance, live art, visual arts and mixed media. 

 

Access in London

Access in London is an informative guide for disabled people such as wheelchair users and those with limited walking ability and for whom stairs may be a challenge. It was created from information collected by visits, and reflects the experiences of disabled people. The guide combines information about where to stay, how to get around and the easiest ways of accessing the main places of interest with maps which include artwork. You can download the guide from the link above.

 

Deborah Groves - Acting and Dyslexia London

Training, mentoring, lectures and workshops in acting and performance for those with dyslexia.

See their opportunities here. 

 

Accentuate

Accentuate is a national programme which works in partnership with others to create groundbreaking projects which support and promote the talents of deaf and disabled people in the cultural sector. 

 

Disability Rights UK

Disability Rights UK are a Party Parliamentary Group for Disability. They are the leading charity of its kind in the UK and are run by and for people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. They work to influence national policy on independent living, benefits, education, employment, transport, human rights and other issues. 

 

Act for Change

The Act for Change Project is a registered charity. They campaign for better representation across the live and recorded arts. They aim to strengthen diversity and let people from underrepresented audiences know that a future exists with them firmly featured in it. 

 

British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM)

BAPAM is a healthcare charity giving medical advice to people working and studying in the performing arts. 

 

The British Equity Collecting Society (BECS)

BECS is the UK’s only collective management organisation for audio visual performers.

 

Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT)

CDMT provides quality assurance for the professional dance, drama and musical theatre industries. It is the first point of contact for those seeking information on education, training and assessment in the UK. 

 

Dancers Career Development (DCD)

DCD is a registered charity and the only organisation of its kind in the UK to support Dancers to have a successful transition to alternative careers after retiring from professional performance. 

See DCD opportunities here.

 

Equity

Equity are a union of Performers and creative practitioners who fight for fair terms and conditions in the workplace. 

 

Equity Charitable Trust (ECT)

If you’re a professional Performer who wants to train for a new career, or who is facing financial difficulties, then ECT will help you.

 

Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU)

FEU provides training, information, advice, guidance and skills development opportunities to support your freelance career in the creative industries. 

 

One Dance UK

One Dance UK is the sector support organisation leading the way for a stronger, more vibrant and diverse dance sector. They advocate for the increased profile and importance of dance in all its diverse forms and settings as well as enhancing Dancers’ health, well-being and performance and identifying gaps, providing opportunities and improve conditions for dance to be learnt, discussed and seen. 

 

Variety and Light Entertainment Council (VLEC)

VLEC ensures the good order and practice of the variety and light entertainment industry, to ensure that the appropriate contract is used for every engagement and to resolve disputes, formally and informally. 

 

 

References:

Published: 3 January 2020

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Different roles on a theatre production team

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.

 

Looking for opportunities

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.

 

Applying for opportunities

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

An Assistant Director plays a crucial role in supporting the Director and ensuring the smooth operation of a production. They handle many behind-the-scenes tasks that contribute to the overall success of the project. An Assistant Director position gives you the opportunity to both learn about the production process generally and the work of a Director. After a while of assisting Directors, you could eventually work towards becoming a Director.

What are the main responsibilities of an Assistant Director?

You can search for assistant directing opportunities from across the theatre industry here

What qualifications do I need to be an Assistant Director?

While you do not need a degree for this role, here are some useful subjects and courses that you can study to gain knowledge and experience.

Search all training opportunities to help you get into theatre here

Here are some subjects that you can study at school which will teach you some useful skills on your journey to becoming an Assistant Director:

What skills do I need to be an Assistant Director?

Find more theatre careers advice here

What does a career in Assistant Directing look like?

An Assistant Director needs to be prepared to undertake a wide range of roles in order to assist the Director and ensure the smooth running of a production. You will take notes during rehearsals and the shows, to share and discuss with the Director. Whilst there is not a one-way path to become an Assistant Director, having previous experience of producing, directing, acting and creating new work is ideal. 

How much does an Assistant Director earn?

Pay for an Assistant Director can vary and can be offered as a freelance fee per production, or occasionally based in-venue or with a company. Learn more about freelancing with our blog 'How to be a freelancer in theatre.' 

For more information on a Director's fee, read our What does a Director do? blog.

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.

To learn more about what a Director does, watch this interview with Director Adam Penford 

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 

References:

https://www.rsc.org.uk/blogs/whispers-from-the-wings/so-what-does-an-assistant-director-actually-do

https://uk.indeed.com/cmp/New-Vic-Theatre/salaries/Assistant-Director/England

https://journalofmusic.com/listing/22-04-24/resident-assistant-director

Updated: 23rd May 2024

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