There are many different types of jobs in theatre and knowing where to start in your theatre career search can be difficult. Whether you want to be an actor, work within backstage & technical theatre or in one of the many supporting roles our list is a great starting point to learn what role in theatre would best suit you.
This complete list of careers in theatre is based on large-scale theatres in the UK. For smaller theatres or productions some roles in this list will not be applicable or the roles may be merged together.
Photo: Sim Canetty Clarke
Get Into Theatre gives young people thousands of training, experience and funding opportunities from colleges, universities, drama schools, theatres and arts organisations all over the UK. These opportunities are for everyone no matter what gender you are, ethnicity, background or ability/disability.
Find training, experience and funding opportunities for those with disabilities here.
Access is a basic right and requirement that is constantly changing and improving the theatre industry and allows it to grow. Accessibility enables theatre practitioners (someone who creates theatre performances) and audiences to create, engage and enjoy. Find out more about Access to Work here. LINK
There are so many opportunities available, both on and offstage for people with disabilities, the problem is that young people don’t know where to find them. Not only that but they don’t know where/who you can turn to for support. We want to ensure that you have the knowledge and information that you need to pursue a career within the theatre industry so we have done the research for you. We have listed a number of amazing organisations that can help teach you, advise you and support you as you begin your dream career.
RNIB is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people. They offer help and support for blind and partially sighted people and this can be anything from practical and emotional support, campaigning for change and reading services.
This organisation aims to increase opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to experience and enjoy the arts and make them aware of the opportunities available to them.
See their opportunities here.
Action Hearing Loss is the largest charity for people with hearing loss in the UK. They support and help you from day-to-day care, to practical information, to campaigning for a fairer world for people with hearing loss, and funding research to find a cure.
This organisation supports and promotes BSL access to the arts in the UK.
Graeae is a theatre company who produce theatre productions and also deliver training programmes and opportunities for aspiring and already established Actors, Directors and Writers. Graeae also provide bespoke access solutions such as:
See Graeae’s opportunities here.
Mind the Gap is one of Europe’s leading learning disability theatre companies that creates work for the UK and international audiences. Their vision is to work in an arts sector where there is equal opportunity for performers with learning disabilities. They work in partnership with learning disabled artists to deliver a bold, cutting-edge and world-class artistic programme that makes an impact.
Mind the Gap offers several training courses for adults with a learning disability to kick-start their career in performing arts which you can find here. LINK
Disability Arts is an organisation led by disabled people and created to improve and support disability arts and culture. Disability Arts understand that being an artist can be difficult and even more so for disabled artists and this platform gives them a platform to blog, and share thoughts, images, projects and general daily things to be creative with other like-minded people. They also respond to email requests for information and advice.
National Disability Theatre employs professional theatre artists who create fully accessible, world-class theatre and storytelling; change social policy and the nation’s narrative about disability culture.
Unlimited is an arts commissioning programme - run by Shape Arts and Artsadmin - that enables new work by disabled artists to reach the UK and international audiences. They are the largest supporter of disabled artists worldwide.
Shape Arts is a disability-led arts organisation which works to improve access to culture for disabled people by:
They also provide access auditing and training services to arts organisations and delivering consultancy which works towards the improvement of cultural services for all disabled people.
Artsadmin is a producing and presenting organisation for contemporary artists working in theatre, dance, live art, visual arts and mixed media.
Access in London is an informative guide for disabled people such as wheelchair users and those with limited walking ability and for whom stairs may be a challenge. It was created from information collected by visits, and reflects the experiences of disabled people. The guide combines information about where to stay, how to get around and the easiest ways of accessing the main places of interest with maps which include artwork. You can download the guide from the link above.
Training, mentoring, lectures and workshops in acting and performance for those with dyslexia.
See their opportunities here.
Accentuate is a national programme which works in partnership with others to create groundbreaking projects which support and promote the talents of deaf and disabled people in the cultural sector.
Disability Rights UK are a Party Parliamentary Group for Disability. They are the leading charity of its kind in the UK and are run by and for people with lived experience of disability or health conditions. They work to influence national policy on independent living, benefits, education, employment, transport, human rights and other issues.
The Act for Change Project is a registered charity. They campaign for better representation across the live and recorded arts. They aim to strengthen diversity and let people from underrepresented audiences know that a future exists with them firmly featured in it.
BAPAM is a healthcare charity giving medical advice to people working and studying in the performing arts.
BECS is the UK’s only collective management organisation for audio visual performers.
CDMT provides quality assurance for the professional dance, drama and musical theatre industries. It is the first point of contact for those seeking information on education, training and assessment in the UK.
DCD is a registered charity and the only organisation of its kind in the UK to support Dancers to have a successful transition to alternative careers after retiring from professional performance.
See DCD opportunities here.
Equity are a union of Performers and creative practitioners who fight for fair terms and conditions in the workplace.
If you’re a professional Performer who wants to train for a new career, or who is facing financial difficulties, then ECT will help you.
FEU provides training, information, advice, guidance and skills development opportunities to support your freelance career in the creative industries.
One Dance UK is the sector support organisation leading the way for a stronger, more vibrant and diverse dance sector. They advocate for the increased profile and importance of dance in all its diverse forms and settings as well as enhancing Dancers’ health, well-being and performance and identifying gaps, providing opportunities and improve conditions for dance to be learnt, discussed and seen.
VLEC ensures the good order and practice of the variety and light entertainment industry, to ensure that the appropriate contract is used for every engagement and to resolve disputes, formally and informally.
Published: 3 January 2020
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
Do you want to find out more about offstage jobs? Are you looking for your first or next step in your theatre career? With the huge number of offstage job roles available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, TheatreCraft is here to help!
TheatreCraft is the UK’s largest free theatre careers event. The event is open to anyone aged 16 to 30 with an interest in offstage theatre jobs. Attendees can take part in sessions on producing, writing, directing, marketing, technical theatre, armoury, scenic art, costume and more. Plus, attend a marketplace where you can chat with a host of leading theatre organisations… all for free.
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Photo: James Boyer Smith
Make sure you sign up to TheatreCraft’s monthly newsletter, containing offstage theatre opportunities, training open days and exclusive ticket offers.
TheatreCraft also have a News and Opportunities section on their website, where you can read about past events and get an insight into organisations such as the Royal Opera House and Opera Holland Park.
Photo: Liza Heinrichs
If you’re interested in learning more about offstage theatre careers, check out these blog posts on Get Into Theatre:
Blog header photo: James Boyer Smith
Published: 15 November 2021
It takes a ‘village’ of creatives to put a show together. For everyone to be on the same page, you need feedback. However, theatre criticism, aka reviews, is another form of feedback. Feedback comes from the rehearsal room, the audition panel or the classroom, whereas theatre criticism comes from the audience’s views.
Written by Critics on Press Night, reviews analyse the quality of the play, the creative team’s decisions (sets, lighting, costumes, etc.) and the Director’s choices. Good reviews are there to make you think about the creative choices you have made. Don’t take them as judgments. They can be really helpful because they offer you the audience’s point of view, people who were not part of the rehearsal process.
Never forget, though, that your goal is not to please critics. Critics are coming from a different place, and sometimes it’s best not to engage with them too much.
Feedback, however, is something you will have to deal with as it is coming from the rehearsal room, audition panel or your Tutor. The question is: how do you approach feedback in a way that doesn’t affect your mental health?
I had a chat with Life/Acting Coach and Author of ‘A Life-Coaching Approach To Screen Acting’, Daniel Dresner. He says that you should “approach feedback in a spirit of curiosity”, which means being open to your Director or Tutor’s feedback. Don’t forget that you are part of the project because they are interested in you and your work. They are rooting for you right from the audition or interview stage, so the feedback you are getting is not a judgment of your character. It should always be about the work, so try to “take the emotion out of it”, as Daniel Dresner would say.
The feedback a Producer or Director gives you is there to help you stay on track by reminding you of the world of the play you’re all trying to create. Listen to their notes very carefully. Daniel Dresner would even encourage you to rephrase and repeat their feedback to make sure you clearly understand what they would like you to do. And don’t forget to thank them. Feedback is help, not criticism.
The process of putting a show together is an exciting but complex one, and you have to trust that the process will get you there as long as you keep at it. Don’t let the critical voice in your head get the best of you. You are a part of this project because your voice, your sensitivity, your talent are valued. Stay engaged in the process, welcome feedback, and share your thoughts and ideas with the creative team. It will make the show stronger.
If you found this blog post helpful, you might also want to read:
Written by Youness Bouzinab
Youness Bouzinab is a Moroccan, Greek and Belgian, performer, theatre-maker and dramaturg. He trained on the BA (Hons) Acting, Collaborative and Devised Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Since graduating, Youness has worked with Complicité, Frantic Assembly and at the National Theatre Studio.
Published: 21 October 2021
Blog photo: Shutterstock
When most people think of the professions they can pursue in theatre, jobs such as acting, directing and playwriting come to mind. Advice you can share with your child is that there are many careers in the theatre industry. They themselves don’t need to be a Performer or Creative. Just like in any other sector, there are individuals who work in operational roles like Administrators and Accountants. If your child wants a career that’s closer to the stage, there are many options in theatre production.
Additionally, if your child wants to have a career as a Creative within theatre, you may want to consider encouraging them to have a second, non-creative job. Don’t think of it as a backup plan for failure, but a way of financing a main goal. For instance, I work as a Freelance Administrator in order to pay for my first love, which is playwriting.
Arts careers are sometimes viewed as less “respectable”. Therefore, the knowledge that your child wants to work in theatre may generate negativity. It’s important to remember that arts jobs require skills, just like corporate jobs do. Speaking as someone whose mother tried to steer her away from a career in the arts, I felt a lot more happy, free and confident once I started exploring playwriting opportunities.
When putting themselves forward for career opportunities in theatre, your child may face rejection. The presence of a person who supports them can make selection processes less stressful. What better cheerleader could a child have than their parent or guardian?
Theatre careers may require spending money, especially when it comes to drama school. Fortunately, some institutions offer scholarships and bursaries. Moreover, public bodies like Arts Council England give out funding to Theatremakers who want to develop their skills. Even better, some training opportunities are completely free.
When it comes to careers like playwriting, qualifications aren’t essential. I was lucky enough to be selected for VAULT Festival’s New Writers Programme. I attended sessions geared toward writing a full-length play draft, watched plays and gained excellent experiences for a tiny amount of money.
For technical areas of theatre, your child can gain a qualification through an apprenticeship. Experiences can be collected through paid placements too. Thanks to Get Into Theatre, loads of opportunities are just a click away!
Written by Faye Acheampong
Faye Acheampong (she/her) is a playwright from London, who took part in VAULT Festival’s New Writers Programme 2021. Her writing explores Black British womanhood in a fantasy-like manner.
Published: 21 September 2021
Blog photo: Shutterstock
Scotland has a thriving theatre scene that is recognised internationally. It is completely possible to live in Scotland and work within its amazing theatre industry. This blog highlights where you can find out more about Scottish Theatre.
What are producing theatres? Producing theatres are theatres that choose their own programme of productions (often referred to as a ‘season’) and create their productions as opposed to smaller theatres who host touring productions or upcoming productions for a short period of time. Their main focus is to present their own productions, however, they can co-produce with other theatres and companies to present work to add to or complete their season.
Below are a number of well-known producing theatres in Scotland.
Scotland’s New Writing Theatre.
Artistic Director David Greig, one of Scotland’s most celebrated contemporary Playwrights.
Currently undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment and putting work on at the Tramway in Glasgow in the meantime.
Mid-scale theatre in the centre of Glasgow. The current Artistic Director Andy Arnold also founded The Arches, Glasgow’s legendary contemporary performance space which unfortunately closed in 2015.
The last remaining repertory company in Scotland meaning they focus on one repertoire of performances e.g. opera. They have a mixture of permanently employed and shorter-term Actors.
A major venue in the Highlands of Scotland, producing a summer season of 6 plays offered in daily rotation.
Established in 2007 and has a unique structure, being ‘without theatre walls’, dedicated to making work in partnership across Scotland.
Receiving theatres or 'houses' host visiting companies who's productions have been developed elsewhere and are touring around a number of venues
Below are some well-known receiving houses in Scotland
One of Scotland's most historic and significant theatre's, it presents first class shows from a wide range of genres and provides Glasgow's flourishing amateur groups with a high-profile stage.
Presents quality drama, dance, comedy and musicals and is home to residents Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet.
Open since 1976, this is a large theatre, cinema and arts venue.
This is a performing arts venue used primarily for performances of opera and ballet, large-scale musical events and touring groups. It also has a capacity of 1,915.
This is one of Scotland's most historical and important theatres having been active since 1906.
This theatre is a 'learning theatre'. Those who study at the nearby University of the West of Scotland have direct access to the resource of the Gaiety Theatre to assist with their studies.
This is a multi-arts venue locations on the main campus of the University of Stirling, Scotland. They offer a varied programme of events and experiences including cinema, comedy, dance, exhibitions, music, opera and theatre
This is a mid-scale performing arts venue and it part of a wider complex, incorporating council offices. As a whole this is called Brunton Memorial Hall.
Established producing theatre buildings will have permanent production staff of Carpenters, Costume Makers, Technicians and Stage Managers and hire freelance stage and Lighting Designers for each production if needed. See what Carpenters, Costume Makers, Sound Technicians, Lighting Technicians and Stage Managers do here.
Read our blog ‘How to become a freelancer in the theatre industry’ here.
Producing theatres will have a team who manage the building, and a team to market and promote the theatres upcoming season (upcoming shows) to the public. See what a Theatre Marketer does here.
They will also have a team of community and education staff who work with communities and in schools and colleges to encourage people to attend the theatre through different stages of education and participatory projects. See what a Theatre Education Manager does.
Small producing theatres have very small production teams, some not at all and hire freelance staff when needed. These theatres sometimes hire large producing theatres to design and create their sets and costumes. Alternatively they can hire an external company to create their sets and costumes.
These smaller theatres usually consist of less than 5 employees including an Artistic Director, Producer or General Manager and possibly some administrative support. They don’t have permanent production/technical staff or Actors.
Village halls also accommodate a small audience run by volunteers who want to bring theatre to their village. Despite being small, shows at these venues are produced to a high quality and can go on to do a touring circuit. In the Highlands and Islands there are at least 90 village halls of this size.
Scotland has a world-renowned children’s theatre sector which includes a national organisation called Imaginate. Imaginate is dedicated to promoting and supporting theatre and dance for children and young people, including the annual Edinburgh International Children's Festival.
There is an organisation in Scotland dedicated to supporting playwrights called Playwrights’ Studio Scotland.
This is the nation’s only arts organisation exclusively dedicated to the long-term support, development and promotion of Scotland’s Playwrights. They work actively with Playwrights, connecting them with audiences and organisations, for the enrichment and enjoyment of the people of Scotland and beyond.
The Traverse Theatre is Scotland’s new writing theatre. They work with the newest and rawest talent - with an emphasis on those based in Scotland - working on it to become the art, artists and performances that can be seen on stages through a variety of creative learning and literary programmes.
There are a variety of theatre companies who produce work made by Artists with disabilities. These include:
All the above information was given to us by the Federation of Scottish Theatre. They are the membership and development body for Scotland and look to promote all things Scottish Theatre so it's a good idea to check them out too.
Photo: Alex Brenner
Published: 23 December 2019
Where do you start when you are looking for a career in the theatre industry? It’s challenging getting a job in any industry and the competitive nature of the theatre industry is often seen as a barrier. If you follow our top 10 tips, you will definitely be in a better position to not only get a job in the theatre industry but also be a success in your chosen field.
Having goals is something that will help you in the long run as it will give you something to work towards. But don’t forget, the journey to any career is never a straight, easy path - especially in theatre. There will be things that take you in all different directions and this is normal. As long as you don’t lose sight of what you want to gain and what you want your end goal to be, you will find the right career in theatre for you.
Not everyone wants to study and that’s fine because that’s not the only way to begin your theatre career or be successful within the theatre industry. There are so many ways to do this so you must do your research to find out what these ways are. We’ve made it easy for you because we’ve put all this information in one place. It’s good to have a rough idea of what job role you would like to pursue within the theatre industry. If you’re not sure what job in theatre you are best suited to, don’t worry. Our handy blogs describing different jobs within theatre will help give you an insight to the many different roles available and what you need to do to get there.
It will benefit you so much to have as much experience within your chosen area of theatre as possible, especially if you don’t want to study. If you don’t have a formal qualification (for example, a degree), having experience is what is going to make you stand out to potential employers when applying for jobs. Experience comes in many different forms but the three main forms are work experience, apprenticeships and internships. You can find information about all three of these experience opportunities here.
This is always a good suggestion because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to go to the theatre? Not only that but seeing a variety of different theatre shows will help you if you’re interested in a particular area of theatre e.g. if you’re interested in lighting you can take notes of lighting designs which peak your interest or are particularly inventive. Some theatre tickets can be a little expensive but don’t worry we’ve got that covered too. You can find a number of different ticket schemes where you can get discounted theatre tickets right here.
This is the 21st century and almost everything is on social media. Try and be as active as you can without becoming anti-social. It’s a great tool to keep up-to-date with industry news, shows and upcoming theatremakers. It may sound obvious but never post any offensive or discriminating posts on any of your social media channels. Some employers like to view their employees social media pages and you don’t want something inappropriate to pop up that you wrote 10 years ago!
This can be daunting but once you get into the flow of it, it can be really fun and so invaluable to you in the future. You should network every chance you get and this doesn’t always have to be at a networking event; it may be a fellow Performer you met at an audition or your best friends cousin who is the Head of Lighting behind Wicked the musical. There are also loads of networking events available for young theatremakers which you can find here.
It may be difficult at times to remain positive when starting out in a new career in theatre but it is really important to approach everything with positivity, especially when you’re going for interviews/auditions. If you’re an Actor auditioning can be constant throughout your career and you must always go into your auditions thinking that anything is possible. This is the same with any interviews for offstage roles too. If you go in with a negative attitude it will only go downhill from there.
When you’re new in the industry (even when you are more established) you’re likely to make mistakes. Of course you are, you’re only human and this is totally natural. Accept you have made a mistake but always make sure you have learnt from the experience and then move on to the next thing. There is no need to lose sleep over a little mistake because this may affect your ability to complete other tasks and could lead you to make more mistakes. Accept it, learn from it and move on to the next thing.
When you’re at the very beginning of your career in theatre, it’s wise to be realistic about what you want to achieve as well as what you are able to achieve. If you begin with an unrealistic goal it is unlikely you will get there at the beginning of your career and this can knock your confidence. Remember, every little step counts and these things take time.
Fringe Theatres and Festivals are a popular way to get a new piece of theatre noticed and produced. It can also be a great way to kick start your theatre career. Fringe venues are all over the country and features every type of theatre you can imagine. Most shows are brand new that no one has ever seen before. One of the more well-known fringe festivals is Edinburgh Fringe. The TV show Fleabag started as a one woman show at the Festival. It was later adapted into an internationally famous award-winning TV show that we all know. Fringe theatre is a great opportunity to learn, get tips and ideas on theatre, performance, comedy and more, the sky's the limit. Remember to always make sure you are paid fairly when working on the fringe.
There are many different types of disabilities people can have and these can be either physical or mental disabilities. One of these disabilities are learning disabilities which again can mean a number of different things.
A learning disability affects the way a person learns new things throughout their lifetime. This can affect the way a person understands information and how they communicate. Around 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability and it’s thought up to 350,000 people have a severe learning disability and this figure is increasing.
If you’d like to learn more about learning disabilities please see the NHS website for more information.
We interviewed Dominick Rutter from Bradford who is a training Actor and happens to have a learning disability. He is currently training in the Performance Academy at leading learning disability theatre company Mind the Gap. Dominick answered a few questions for us about his journey pursuing a career within the theatre industry with a learning disability.
My biggest inspiration is Lee Evans, so I’ve always wanted to get into comedy. I don’t think I’d be very confident as a solo Comedian but I would love to be a part of an ensemble in a TV show like Phoenix Nights or Men Behaving Badly. Training on Mind the Gap’s Performance Academy course is helping me develop my skills in acting as part of a group.
I don’t know why they would as they wouldn’t know what I was capable of without meeting me. For me, everyone is equal, whether they have a disability or not and should be treated the same way. It’s not something I worry about to be honest.
FACT: All employers must follow the Equal Opportunities Policy in any industry. The Equal Opportunities Policy (EOP) are guidelines put in place to ensure an organisation commits to fairness amongst applicants for new jobs and existing staff members. Basically, if you apply for a job, the employer cannot discriminate against you for any reason and you will be treated equally like everyone else.
I think it’s a difficult industry for anybody to get into really, but you need to be confident and keep trying, whatever your situation is.
I want to make something of my life. I want to do something that I’ve never done before and I like to challenge myself. The world of theatre and TV seems to be opening up for people with learning disabilities at the moment so it’s an exciting time; I want to be part of that. I’m inspired by people such as Liam Bairstow on Coronation Street and Lost Voice Guy, their success motivates me.
[Laughs] I don’t think so. If Gok Wan applied for a job in a costume department, I don’t think anyone would question his skills. If you want to work in a certain area in theatre, it shouldn’t matter who you are.
FACT: Job roles within the theatre industry are becoming more ‘gender neutral’ as one role is not deemed more for a woman and another more for a man. Women and men can pursue any role within the theatre industry as long as they are the right person for the role.
Not at all! Nothing stops me from doing what I want to do. I don’t feel like I’ve faced barriers in my life because of my disability and I’m determined to achieve what I want out of life.
Go for it, you just need to apply, what have you got to lose? You’ve only got one life and you’ve got to do what you want to do. If people think you can’t work in theatre, prove them wrong!
I hope so. When I was looking for a course in acting for people with learning disabilities, I was lucky enough to live in Bradford and have heard of Mind the Gap. Hopefully Get Into Theatre will be useful for people all over the country to find courses that are right for them.
Photo: Mind The Gap
Published: 14 November 2019
The visual and performing arts are one of nine sectors within the creative industries. The below links are great places to look for more general careers info for all the creative industries and not just theatre.
DISCOVER! Creative Careers brings together careers information and opportunities from creative organisations in one explorable directory.
Creative & Cultural Skills gives young people opportunities to work and learn in the creative industries. They are an independent charity that provides careers advice and guidance, promotes apprenticeships, and delivers activities for young people through their National Skills Academy network of industry and education supporters.
Upstart Projects creates opportunities for young people to develop as the arts professionals of the future. They support young people to lead and manage projects, act as ambassadors, find their voice in the arts and train other people. In short, they offer real experiences which build skills and can lead into arts and media careers.