A Sound Designer in theatre is responsible for creating all sound and audio for a production. Depending on the requirements of the show, this can include sound effects, music, building atmosphere and how the performers are heard.
The Sound Designer will initially work with the Director and the creative team to ensure that sound supports and enhances the production’s storytelling. The sound design may represent everything from specific noises created by actions on stage, sounds that convey the show’s setting and time, and music and soundscapes that build atmosphere, mood and the characters’ emotions. They will also consider the quality and clarity of speech and singing through performers’ microphones and audio levels.
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There are some courses, qualifications and degrees that specialise in sound design for theatre, and more that focus on sound more generally, including audio production music technology.
However, you don’t need formal qualifications to start a career in sound design; you could enter the industry by working as a Sound Engineer, Stage Crew or Theatre Technician.
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Sound Designers are often self employed and work on short-term contracts for each production, but some Sound Designers can be employed by specific theatres.
Networking and building good relationships is important, as that may lead to future work.
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Salaries and fees can vary depending on the scale of the production and/or size of the theatre. An entry level Sound Designer salary is around £18,000 per year. A Sound Designer with more than five years’ experience may earn an average of £23,000. Experienced Sound Designers could make between £30,000 and £41,000.
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Published: 24 February 2022