The performing arts sector encompasses acting – for stage and screen – dance, comedy and music, but also a wealth of other roles on the supporting side of things.
Acting & theatre jobs
Acting is a notoriously competitive career to embark on, albeit rewarding. Most professional actors find themselves out of work for long periods of time, often followed by short but intense periods of employment. This is likely to be the case whether they are working in television or film, in the West End or in regional theatres. They might be able to develop a career with more stability if by opting to take a route into teaching drama or even coaching other actors.
Actors can work across a range of media. They might be working on blockbuster movies, television programmes or independent films. Alternatively, they might be working in national theatre companies, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, West End productions and regional theatres or touring companies. Consequently, there are differing levels of job stability and variations in pay between media and institutions.
There is a wealth of supporting careers in drama, dedicated to the discovery, development, management and promotion of talent are waiting in the wings. Comedians and actors need agents while musicians tend to need record labels and gig promoters to get them where they want to be.
Coaches and tutors are also essential professionals in this sector. Many performers are not naturally talented and need some extra help to reach their potential; this is where the likes of dance and music teachers, drum tutors and voice coaches come into the spotlight.
Those wanting to pursue music could become a musical performer, a composer or even write songs for other people. There’s also a career to be made in composing songs for films, TV programmes or musicals. There are many other music careers besides performing, which are still involved in the performing arts. Talent management, for example, can be a great career path to follow. Those in this position are in charge of music talent agencies and help promote musical acts on their books. They work with advertisers, sponsors and venue managers to organise gigs and basically try and get as much success for the musical artists they represent as possible.
Music agents and promoters work closely together to make sure the right concerts get booked and the music is heard in the right place. A large part of this job revolves around researching venues to ensure the best possible tour is planned out. Promoters make live gigs actually happen; they spread the word about forthcoming shows and make venues are sold out. These careers involve having good market knowledge and the ability to build relationships with the right people.
Dance is another role within the performing arts, requiring particularly strong dedication and training. Dancers – especially early on in their careers – are often required to be proficient across a range of different genres, from contemporary dance, hip-hop and salsa, to classical ballet and musical theatre. It’s certainly good to have a speciality, but it’s hugely beneficial to be able to turn your hand to a variety of genres.
Performing arts apprenticeships
There are Intermediate Apprenticeships available in costume and wardrobe, and Advanced Apprenticeships in set crafts: helping to create sets for theatre or film productions.