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What does a Theatre Manager do?

A Theatre Manager oversees the day-to-day operations and management of a venue or performing arts centre. They deal with administrative and production-related aspects of a theatre. They can address the financial, marketing and organisational concerns when necessary to ensure the theatre operates successfully. 

What are the main responsibilities of a Theatre Manager?

  • Develop, review and carry out the theatre’s business plan
  • Plan and book a theatre programme ensuring a balance of varied types of productions and take note of which productions are well received
  • Liaise and negotiate with production companies to plan the programme of work
  • Ensure the theatre programme meets the needs of the business plan by monitoring it
  • Manage the budget and ensure you meet the financial and operational targets of the theatre
  • Lead a team of staff who are involved in areas such as finance and administration
  • Ensure the theatre meets requirements of legislation such as health and safety licensing laws and safeguarding children arrangements (the protection of children and protecting them from harm)
  • Plan resources effectively and provide strong leadership to develop the theatre’s role in providing a cultural hub
  • Negotiate with any charities and/or funding bodies who are providing financial support to the theatre
  • Develop partnerships with other organisations
  • Stay up to date with developments and new productions

What qualifications do I need to be a Theatre Manager?

You do not need any formal qualifications to become a Theatre Manager, however the subjects below could help:

  • Arts Administration
  • Arts Management
  • Business Studies/ Management
  • Drama/ Theatre Studies
  • Arts in the Community
  • Creative/ Performing Arts

Search for training opportunities in theatre management to help you get into theatre here

What skills do I need to be a Theatre Manager?

  • You will be dealing with the public, staff and other related companies, so excellent communication skills is essential
  • Organisational skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Team work
  • Attention to detail
  • Flexibility
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Work well under pressure
  • Business minded to ensure the theatre is profitable

What does a career in theatre management look like?

This role is office based and varies in responsibilities. You can begin in a more general entry level role such as an Office Assistant working your way up the company and gaining skills and experience along the way. This job role requires a lot of responsibility, so you must be someone who is reliable and trustworthy as well as strong headed and organised.

How much does a Theatre Manager earn?

The salary of a Theatre Manager can vary depending on experience and the size of the theatre but a starting salary in small venues or arts centres can range between £20k. With experience this can increase to up to £50k+. However, there are no set pay scales for this role. 

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 

References: 

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

https://uk.talent.com/salary?job=theatre+manager

https://www.firstcareers.co.uk/careers/what-is-it-like-to-be-a-theatre-manager/

Photo: Alex Brenner

Updated: 6th June 2024

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