A theatre Composer writes original music to help tell a story or convey atmosphere and emotions. They may write music for voices and instruments to perform, or it may involve electronic and digital tools.
For traditional plays, a Composer would write the music that underscores the production. In musical theatre, this would include writing songs, and Composers may collaborate with a Lyricist and a Book Writer.
As well theatre, Composers can write for film, television, video games, radio, advertising, recording artists and more.
Some Composers can write music by ear, but usually you will need a very strong understanding of music theory and techniques.
Qualifications and subjects that may be useful include:
Search our training opportunities in music here.
There are many different ways to begin a career as a Composer, but a typical path can be to study music and then take up a mentorship or residency with an established Composer.
Some Composers’ work begins as their own project, for example writing a musical, but often you would be working on a commission from a theatre company or Producer.
Composers most often work on freelance contracts, but it is possible to find residencies. Some Composers will also work part-time as Music Teachers and/or offer arrangement, orchestration and transcription services.
Read our blog 'How to become a freelancer in theatre' here.
Salaries and fees can vary a lot depending on the type of production, and the individual’s skill level and experience. Composers may be paid per minute of completed music. The average salary for a Composer is around £40,000 per year, across the different industries.
Search for Composer roles on The Stage Jobs here
Published: 23 March 2022