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Media careers

Theatre

Why get into theatre?

Amongst his many classic witticisms, Oscar Wilde once said: “I love acting. It’s so much more real than life.” That says it all, really. Working in the theatre will allow you to be as creative and expressive as you wish, regardless of the career path you may choose. You can be whoever you want.

If you’re a budding thespian or theatrical enthusiast with buckets of imagination, there are tons of possible graduate jobs you can take. We’ll narrow it down for you, but by keeping an open mind and having theatre in your blood, you’ve already taken the first steps towards having a successful career.

The world of theatre can be split into three categories: creative, management and technical.

What can I do on the creative side of theatre?

A job in the creative side of theatre can be one of the most fulfilling, yet challenging, roles you can undertake. From acting, directing and costume designing, to being a make-up artist, musician or playwright, there are definitely enough roles out there to satisfy your creative cravings. You could even begin a career as a puppeteer and work on major productions like War Horse.

For any creative role in theatre, it’s all about experience, passion, versatility and having a cracking portfolio. You might get the opportunity to work in a great range of theatrical productions or situations, including: pantomime, musicals, national theatre, local theatre, and experimental theatre. Therefore, you must be able to adapt to the differing requirements of each area.

What can I do on the management side of theatre?

For a career in theatre management, you need to be a different sort of person altogether. True, you need a passion for theatre, but an extensive knowledge of Shakespeare’s soliloquies isn’t necessarily a must.

Instead, you’ll need exceptional organisational and management skills and have a knack for working with all kinds of people. There are plenty of career options in theatre management, ranging from tour manager and booker, to talent manager and company director.

You’ll need to be prepared to start at the very bottom and take on masses of responsibility from the start. It’s all about making contacts and building up your experience.

What can I do on the technical side of theatre?

Working on the technical side of theatre could mean that you have an incredibly versatile working life from day to day. The ever-changing nature of these theatre careers means you’ll have to be adaptable and turn your hand to pretty much anything.

You could work as a prop designer, a set designer, a sound technician, a lighting technician, or maybe even a pyrotechnician! You’ll have to be ready to work in high-pressured but creative situations.

What other options are there for a theatre career?

As well as the creative, management and technical roles in theatre, there are a few other paths you can take. Actors need talent agents. For this role, you’ll need to know the theatre industry inside-out and back to front! For more detail on these careers, check out the Talent Discovery & Development subsector now!

Another interesting role you could pursue is that of the arts journalist. You could look into writing for newspapers, or submitting work to specialist theatre magazines, such as Exeunt.

Whether you’re looking to be the next big thing in theatre acting, get involved in the creative production side of things, create astounding special effects like in Danny Boyle’s adaptation of Frankenstein, or would prefer to move away from the drama towards the business-oriented scene, working in theatre can afford you with absolutely tons of opportunities.