What does a Festival Director do?

A Festival Director works behind the scenes of an event, from the earliest planning stages to when the performances are taking place. They programme the shows and liaise with Producers, vendors (people/organisations selling something), city officials and on-site staff as well as Production / Logistics Managers of the festival.

Search training, experience and funding opportunities to help you get into theatre here 

What are the main responsibilities of a Festival Director?

  • Programme shows and events
  • Deals and contracts
  • Hiring spaces
  • Ensure everyone has everything they need
  • Deal with the city where the festival will be held and ensure permits are in place to do this
  • Build relationships with companies within the community of that location
  • Manage the location, employees, oversee the setup and breakdown (i.e. building the stage and taking it down)
  • Deal with contractors
  • Create materials such as maps and signage
  • Ensure the festival receives adequate insurance coverage

What qualifications do I need to be a Festival Director?

A Festival Director can have a variety of different duties to fulfil and because of this they can be employed based on a variety of experiences they may have. Formal qualifications are not essential although they would help in any of the following areas:

  • Events
  • Event Management
  • Business Administration
  • Merchandising
  • Music Business
  • Arts Management 
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations

Search training opportunities from across the UK in the subjects above  

What skills do I need to be a Festival Director?

Due to the fact there are so many duties within this role you must have a varied skill set. These can include:

  • Organisation
  • Reliability 
  • Ability to manage a team
  • Ability to think outside the box
  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management 
  • Creativity 

What does a career as a Festival Director look like?

There are a number of different work experiences, internships and apprenticeships available within this area of work. Additionally build on your skill set by volunteering at these types of events and attend as many events as you can to meet people that are working within the industry already, such as the Edinburgh Fringe and smaller scale arts festivals. Make sure you do have travel and expenses covered when volunteering as these can become expensive placements.

Learn more about the different experience opportunities available to you here 

How much does a Festival Director earn?

Festival Directors are often salaried roles, however this can vary depending on the size of the festival. This position is a highly ranked position within the organisation's structure of a festival and some have ownership within the event which means their income is dependent on its success.

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. 

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


Photo: Shutterstock

Updated: 7th June 2024

Get personalised theatre opportunities

From an organisation? Share your opportunity

You can list your training, outreach or funding opportunities for free and within minutes. Set up an account now and we’ll start helping you reach the people you need…
Read me aloud