The ticket scanners silence. The lights dim. The curtain rises. You think to yourself, “There’s nothing like this place.” If you’ve found yourself thinking these words while visiting the theatre, you might be toying with the idea of turning your theatrical nerdiness into something more.
While many theatre lovers grow to be actors themselves, a number of dedicated performing arts gurus find their true calling backstage. Jobs in the theatre world can range from freelancing projects to working full-time. Though tough to break into, it’s an industry full of dynamic opportunity and potential.
Interested in being involved in the theatre? Explore these seven professions:
This fancy-sounding job (sometimes called a “literary manager”) is essential to helping actors, directors and companies as a whole bring a story to life. A dramaturg researches everything from a play’s historical context to the playwright’s own background. Often, they assist costume and set designers in making sure the time period is accurately represented, as well as prepare a packet of information for actors and creatives to dive into when studying a piece’s social or political context. Are you a history buff? A research fiend? Someone who likes compiling comprehensive reports? This job might just be for you!
2. Stage Manager
Some say stage managers are the backbone of any successful theatre production. Along with performing administrative duties such as coordinating transportation for an event or helping the director and production staff, a stage manager is charged with making sure the performance itself goes smoothly. Organization, a knack for taking initiative and a strong knowledge of theatre are required.
If being onstage isn’t your cup of tea, becoming an acting coach or improv teacher probably isn’t for you. However, there are plenty of other courses of study that call for a theatre nerd’s mind. Teaching a class on the history of theatre, theatre development and Shakespeare are examples of non-acting classes that help educate future generations on what it takes to bring a production to life.
4. Marketing/Public Relations Professional
With many millennials drawn to these fields already, theatre aficionados can find their niche working with an agency or venue that specializes in the performing arts. Marketers seek to promote a show to the general public through social media campaigns, promotions and more. Press representatives coordinate interviews with the media in hopes of getting show coverage. If you seek both the theatre world and business world, these professions might catch your eye.
Yes, you’ve probably heard of this one, but we think it’s awesome! While playwrights often write in their spare time, this can be rewarding if it’s something you’re invested in pursuing. Working on a passion project like this might not be a full-time job right away, but no play or musical would exist without a dreamer. Playwrights have the power to inspire, empower and create change with words.
6. Costume/Set Designer
Creating the world that a piece of art lives in is no small task. These two creative professions often work on a project-to-project basis — and they’re necessary to the industry. From working with opera houses to contemporary theatres, these artists can take audiences to a new time and place.
7. Casting Director
This job may sound like a piece of cake, but a lot goes into picking the perfect ensemble of cast members. Teaming up with the director, producer and creative team, the casting director must have an acute understanding of what each character brings to the story. Understanding what type of actor is needed, as well as coordinating auditions, is only the beginning of this unique career.