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What is it like to work in a theatre?

The theatre is a place for live performances, such as plays, musicals, and other forms of entertainment. The stage is where actors and performers bring stories to life in front of an audience, while others work behind the scenes to make the magic happen. The goal is to engage, entertain, and sometimes even inspire the people watching.

While every theatre is different, they do share some common things:

  1. Creativity thrives – whether it’s designing sets and costumes or interpreting scripts.
  2. Attention to detail is crucial – particularly when it comes to coordinating things behind the scenes.
  3. A strong emphasis on collaboration – everyone involved needs to work together seamlessly to ensure a production’s success.

Provide entertainment and understanding through creativity

Theatres serve as cultural hubs that foster empathy, provoke thought, and provide a communal space for shared experiences, ultimately enriching society’s understanding of diverse perspectives and nurturing a sense of unity.

Key tasks

  • Rehearsing lines and blocking
  • Creating and designing sets
  • Crafting and fitting costumes
  • Managing lighting and sound cues
  • Coordinating stage movements and cues
  • Ensuring props are in place and functional
  • Overseeing backstage operations and changes
  • Promoting and marketing productions
  • Managing budgets and production schedules
  • Engaging with the audience and patrons

You can find theatres in the arts and recreation services industry

Theatres are usually found in the arts and recreation services industry. You can expect a range of performances in theatres, including plays, musicals, dance recitals, stand up, concerts, and even experimental performances.

You can expect irregular hours and on-site work

Irregular hours  |  Work on-site  |  Jobs more common in metro areas  |  Strong job growth

Employees in a theatre often have irregular hours, including evenings and weekends, due to the nature of live performances. Shows are typically scheduled at times when audiences are available, which is often outside of regular 9-5 work hours.

On-site work is more common in theatres because productions require physical presence for rehearsals, set construction, technical setup, and live performances, which can’t be replicated remotely.

Despite this, there are still some roles that can involve remote work. These may include tasks like scriptwriting, costume design, graphic design for promotional materials, or administrative work.

Metropolitan areas typically offer more job opportunities in theatres due to the higher concentration of theatres and performing arts organisations.

The Career Clusters you’ll find in a theatre

People from all Clusters are needed for a theatre to run successfully, but Makers and Linkers are typically the most common Clusters. In many roles, you might find yourself performing tasks across multiple Clusters.

What do Makers do in a theatre?

In a theatre, Makers take on a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation of technical aspects during productions. They might manage complex lighting systems, operate sound equipment, or handle intricate stage machinery. Some Makers are responsible for the construction and maintenance of sets, ensuring they are not only visually captivating but also safe and functional.

The role of a Linker in a theatre

Linkers help to connect a theatre’s productions and offerings with the audience. They might help patrons find and purchase tickets, provide them with information about the theatre’s current offerings, and answer any questions they might have. Other Linkers promote the theatre’s offerings to a wider audience through various channels, such as social media, newsletters, and community outreach programs.

Where you’ll find Coordinators in a theatre

In a theatre, Coordinators are the linchpins that ensure smooth operations behind the scenes. They might plan and oversee events and productions, coordinate schedules, arrange rehearsals, and ensure that all logistical elements are in place. Some Coordinators monitor the performance of other teams, while others take care of data entry and record keeping.

What do Informers do in a theatre?

In some theatres, Informers take on the role of educators, leading workshops and training sessions for budding actors, directors, and even the general public. Other Informers provide guidance and mentorship to other performers during a production, sharing their extensive understanding of acting techniques, character development, and stagecraft. Some Informers also play a critical role in script analysis and interpretation.

  • Acting Coaches
  • Workshop Facilitators
  • Dramaturges

The role of Innovators in a theatre

Innovators are the creative minds behind the engineering, design, and development of the physical elements that bring a production to life. They might help to design and engineer specialised equipment for the stage, while other Innovators use their artistic skills to bring characters and scenes to life.

How do Guardians work in a theatre?

Guardians aren’t super common in theatres, but still play a vital role in ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone involved in a production. They might oversee and implement health and safety procedures, provide advice on posture and warm-up exercises, or help maintain the appearance of performers.

How do we expect working in a theatre to change in the future?

As we look ahead to the future, several cultural shifts and technological innovations are set to reshape how we work and interact in theatres.

One of the most notable changes revolves around technology. With the rapid advancements in virtual and augmented reality, some places are experimenting with more immersive theatrical experiences. Imagine audiences being transported to fantastical worlds or interacting with virtual elements seamlessly integrated into live performances.

The integration of digital tools for rehearsals and production planning is likely to become more common too, especially since the pandemic. Virtual rehearsals and digital set design platforms can streamline processes and enhance collaboration among the creative team, regardless of physical location.

Inclusivity and accessibility are also set to be at the forefront of future theatre practices. We can expect to see more efforts to make productions accessible to a wider range of audiences, including people from marginalised backgrounds, people with disabilities, and people of different cultural backgrounds.

In order to thrive in an evolving theatre industry, workers will need to cultivate a diverse skill set that embraces innovation and adaptability.

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