What does a Theatre Armourer do?

An Armourer is in charge of the firearms and blades used in a theatre production. They can also be responsible for pyrotechnics (any special effects using heat, light, gas, smoke or sound) and theatrical trickery. There is a strict policy on firearms being used in the UK, however there is an Act which allows productions to only use decommissioned firearms and blunted or altered blades during a performance as part of the show.

What are the main responsibilities of an Armourer?

  • Liaising with Directors and ensuring their vision comes to life through the use of pyrotechnics, firearms and blades
  • Ensure any firearms and blades are safe to use for theatre productions and are aligned with UK laws 
  • Ensure any Performers or staff members handling any firearms or blades know how to use them without causing risk to themselves or others
  • Delivering safety briefs to the cast
  • Handing Performers a firearm at the beginning of a scene and retrieving it when the scene is over 
  • Storing any firearms and blades safely to ensure there is no risk to Performers, staff members or audience members
  • Responsible for the safety and well being of all staff members and audience members 

Search training, experience and funding opportunities from across the theatre industry here

What qualifications do I need to be an Armourer?

  • Licensed firearms handler
  • Firearms Training and Certification 
  • Knowledge of Firearms Laws and Regulations
  • Experience in Weapon Handling
  • Theatrical Experience
  • Health and Safety Training
  • Pyrotechnics Training 
  • Mechanics 

What skills do I need to be an Armourer?

  • Knowledge of firearms
  • Follow health and safety regulations regarding firearms and blades 
  • Communication
  • Ability to lead a team
  • Safety cautious
  • Weapon maintenance 
  • Ethical conduct 

What does a career as an Armourer look like?

There are many different elements of being an Armourer and many different skills needed. To pursue a career as an Armourer you must learn the necessary skills and gain specific training. Paul Wanklin is the Senior Armourer at the National Theatre and began his career in the army before seeing a job advertised for an Armourer that showed he had many transferable skills for the position. You can also work in TV and Film as well as Theatre. 

How much does an Armourer earn?

Armourers in theatre can have very specific rates or may have a similar show rate as a Stage Manager. 

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: 6th 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