Getting into the world of theatre
Working in the theatre industry can be extremely rewarding and there are many avenues in which you can get started. The list of job types in the industry is hugely varied, welcoming professionals of all skill types, and some of these include: costume designers, music directors, prop makers, stage managers, box office assistants, sound designers, lighting designers, set designers and much more.
It can be common that those employed in the theatre industry began by working in film and TV, learning their craft in another medium and sidestepping into theatre. Some skilled professionals (e.g. costume designers, prop makers, lighting designers) work happily across different media. For the most part, however, most professionals tend to specialise in theatre, and this does require specific skills. For example, technicians (lighting and sound) will usually have received formal training and possess an academic qualification in their particular specialist field.
Each year, The National Council for Drama Training gives accreditation to those courses it believes best serves the student. Considering the prestige of these courses, entry is very competitive.
Starting your career
Many Technical staff, whether or not they have trained at university, start their first jobs in theatre by working at their local venue. On the links below, you can find details of all the theatres in the UK. It is always worth finding out if they are looking for staff or if they do any internships, work experience or traineeships.
Check out The List here for further information.
Get Into Theatre
This resource is great for those looking to find out more about the theatre world, including possible career options, case studies and work experience.
((Click here to visit their site)
Local theatre companies
A great way to get your foot in the door is to approach local theatre companies. They may be able to give you an insight into the industry and what different career paths may look like, providing a real, direct window into the world of theatre and offering valuable work experience.
((Click here to visit amateur theatre companies)
There are many organisations for those working in different sectors of theatre. These include: Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), Stage Management Association (SMA), Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA), Association of Lighting Designers, Institution of Lighting Professionals, Costume Society, Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU), Society of London Theatre (SOLT), UK Theatre Org, Amdram.
Rates of Pay
Like many sectors of the Arts, pay tends to be relatively low and the working hours often long. If you're hoping to make your millions in theatre then you might want to rethink your career. Even some of the relatively senior roles such as Stage Manager may pay poorly in comparison to many other professions which require similar levels of experience and responsibility. People tend to gravitate towards the theatre industry because of genuine passion rather than financial reward. Before embarking on your career, it is worth considering this.
(Click here for Equity's guide to recommended rates of pay)
Get started with a Mandy Theatre profile
Having a Mandy Theatre profile is a great way to cnnect with other professionals in the industry and making connections, not to mention applying for jobs from reputable employers. Here is a great blog on how to ensure your profile is up to scratch.
We hope you feel ready to begin your career in the rewarding theatre industry. The Mandy Network team are hugely knowledgable on the creative industries, and should you have any questions please do get in touch with us on [email protected] or 020 7288 7404.