Most jobs in theatre are on a freelance basis and you will be contracted for a specific job. There may be times in between contracts, when you want to get another job to earn while you are applying/waiting for the next theatre job to come through. This is perfectly normal and a part of the vast majority of theatre professionals’ careers.
Whatever job you go for, be honest from the beginning about your situation, employers will appreciate that and can also support you. It’s difficult to be in a situation where you are having to lie or keep things quiet to your place of work in order to pursue your theatre career.
Leading workshops and sharing your experience/skills is a good way to earn some extra money and can pay well for your time too (eg. £80 - £150 for a two-hour workshop). Contact local schools, universities, drama schools, drama clubs etc and offer your services. If you are planning on approaching a school, take a look at their curriculum and, if you see that you can create a workshop based off something they are currently learning, then this is a good starting place. Universities sometimes hold workshops/panel discussions for third year students who want to know what it’s like working in the industry and you can offer your first-hand experience. Once you secure and deliver a workshop or masterclass, be sure to ask for some written feedback –this is a great way to book the next workshop as you build up your reputation. This line of work would also be on a freelance basis and may not be very regular.
Picking up a regular teaching job is another great way to earn and also continue within your field of work. Teaching a weekly class gives you security of regular pay, however this often means that you will need to commit to at least a term at a time, if not longer. You might also be required to have a DBS certificate which allows you to work with children.
Working for companies such as restaurants, bars or gyms that offer shift work can be useful for in-between theatre jobs, as you have guaranteed regular work as well as the opportunity for over-time. You could potentially swap shifts with co-workers if you need a day off for an interview/audition. Many companies enjoy employing those who work in the theatre industry due to the natural confidence and persona you can bring to the role, especially if it is customer facing.
There are a few temping agencies where you can join who will help find you work. This is on a temporary basis, being placed in a company to deliver certain tasks for a short period of time (eg. one week) to help them out. These can be well paid between £10 - £15 per hour and you don’t have to commit for a long period of time.
Call-centres often have a very large team of employees. This means that if you do need to have a day off for an interview or audition this won’t have a huge impact on the company and they can often be flexible with you. Many of these companies also enjoy employing those who work in the theatre industry due to the natural confidence and persona you can bring to the role.
There are other companies who like to hire those in the theatre industry and offer flexible work and support your career in the theatre industry. These companies advertise their vacancies on Facebook in groups such as The Hustle, British Actors Network, Actors UK and Bossy. These Facebook groups also provide a network with other industry professionals and emerging companies often put calls out for theatre jobs.
Published: 04 March 2019