Drama and Theatre careers
The jobs listed below are a selection of those which may interest Drama and Theatre students and offer the opportunity to use your degree directly. Please note that some of these careers may require further study.
Professional actors need to be talented, resilient, skilled and self-disciplined. There is no single route to becoming an actor. Experience is an important factor and increasingly most actors will have some form of professional training. Being taken on by an agent can help but before this stage there are many months of training, getting headshots, auditions and generally showcasing your talent. Actors on average spend 80% of their working life not in paid acting roles so it is important to consider other areas of work and of generating an income.
Prospects job profile: Actor
Spotlight: Frequently Asked Questions and advice for performers
icould: Career advice on becoming an Actor by Jason F
Community Arts Worker
Community arts worker is more of an umbrella term as job titles tend to relate quite closely to the role or type of work, for example arts development officer, youth engagement officer, youth arts practitioner, and community projects assistant.
Prospects job profile: Community Arts Worker
Target Jobs: Community Arts Worker
Drama therapists use group work, role-play and movement to encourage people to come to terms with feelings and emotions. To become registered and able to practise, dramatherapists must successfully complete a postgraduate qualification approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) .
Prospects job profile: Dramatherapist
NHS Careers: Dramatherapist
As well as teaching through lectures and seminars, academic staff in
higher education also carry out research and a wide range of administrative and
pastoral tasks. Although a teaching qualification is not required, you will
need a higher degree, normally a PhD. Competition is strong for entry-level
Prospects job profile: Higher education lecturer
Target job profile: Higher education lecturer
A runner is an entry-level position, the most junior role in the production department of a broadcast, film or video company. They act as general assistants, working under the direction of the producer and other production staff, to undertake whatever basic tasks are required to ensure the smooth running of the production process.
Prospects job profile: Runner
Screen skills: Floor runner
Secondary School Teacher
To teach in state schools (excluding academies and free schools) in England and Wales, you must complete a period of “initial teacher training”, such as a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course or school-centred training, which leads to Qualified Teacher Status. Drama is a popular subject so it is important to build up teaching-related experience during your undergraduate degree and to apply each for teacher training.
Prospects job profile: Secondary school teacher
Get into Teaching: Life as a teacher
A theatre director has responsibility for the overall practical and creative interpretation of a dramatic script or musical score, taking into account the budgetary and physical constraints of production. Most directors are usually employed on a freelance or fixed-term contract basis.
Prospects job profile: Theatre director
Theatre Stage Manager
Theatre stage managers coordinate all aspects of a theatre company to ensure the successful delivery of the performance. In order to do this, they must have excellent people management skills
job profile: Theatre stage manager
Please note that some of these careers may require further study.
For further information on these and other careers, see also:
- Prospects: Job Profiles
- Target jobs: Graduate career sectors
A Drama and Theatre degree may be useful in the following career areas because the skills it develops are likely to be important to do these jobs:
An arts administrator manages activities and services which support the arts sector, involving projects and initiatives provided by arts organisations.
Prospects job profile: Arts administrator
Target jobs: Arts administrator
Journalists research, write and present
stories, features and articles across a range of media platforms – newspapers,
magazines, television, radio and internet. Experience gained in student
journalism will be helpful in breaking into this area.
Target jobs: Journalist
National Council for the Training of Journalist: Journalism career guide
You may be interested in graduate roles outside of Drama and Theatre. There are many employers who are looking for graduates with good degrees but that don’t have a preference for the subject studied. To explore different career options see:
Studying Drama and Theatre typically gives you a range of skills and abilities sought after by all types of employers, for example:
- teamwork and collaboration
- time management and organisational skills
- an open mind and the ability to move beyond boundaries and experiment with different ideas
- communication skills
- analytical, critical and research skills
- the ability to cope with criticism and learn from it
Studying Drama and Theatre therefore develops a wide range of transferable skills, which are important in many career fields:
- Problem solving and analytical skills
- Time management
- Presentation skills
This is not an exhaustive list of skills - you will develop many skills from your course, extra-curricular activities and work experience.
Find a job
The Careers and Employability Service provides information and advice on job searching to University of Kent students and recent graduates. This includes a vacancy database advertising a range of graduate jobs, sandwich placements and vacation work/internships. The websites listed below may also be useful when searching for a job and when looking for further information on this sector.
- Arts Hub Large listing of arts and creative jobs including internships and work experience. Jobs bulletin with 100 new listings each week is emailed free to members weekly.
- Arts Jobs Part of Arts Council England – List of paid opportunities in the Arts
- Arts Professional includes Arts Job
- FinderBritish Theatre Guide News, reviews, features and podcast on theatre across the UK
- Creative and Cultural Skills Information on creative career areas for young people and job vacancies
- ScreenSkills The industry skills body for the Creative Industries, which works across film, television, radio, fashion, animation, games, visual effects, textiles, publishing, advertising and marketing communications
- Creative Toolkit Good advice for people at the start of their career
- Grapevine Jobs For jobs in broadcast, video and media.
- Mandy.com Jobs in film and TV production including acting positions.
- ShootingPeople Opportunities in independent film
- Spotlight Publishers of casting directories and contacts with profiles of over 25,000 professionals in the performance industry
- The Knowledge Large listing
Stage Jobs, auditions, advice and news
You may also find useful reviews and application/interview tips for specific organisations on the following websites:
Postgraduate study may enable you to explore aspects of Drama and Theatre in greater depth or to study a new subject.
The Postgraduate Study section of this website and the Prospects website has useful information to help you in your considerations. If you are already a student on a taught Master’s degree, you may wish to continue your studies by research, in the UK (at Kent or elsewhere) or overseas. Again, early planning is important. You should seek advice from your supervisor as to the possible options.
Looking for Careers Advice?
The Careers and Employability Service is open to all University of Kent students and recent graduates. We support students from the moment they start their course, throughout their student life and up to three years after their graduation.