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Handbook Appendices Forms Theatre Scholarships For Theatre Majors, Minors, and Intendeds University Theatre Handbook Table of Contents Theatre Home

A.3.c  Career possibilities. 

Acting is not the only viable career choice in the theatre.  Far from it!  In terms of steady work, it doesn’t come close to being as secure as many other occupa­tions on the list.  And it certainly affords you less power and control than many others.  It’s not even sure to provide you as much personal satisfaction as many of the others, or as much cash.  In many ways it calls for much greater personal risk than most of the others.  So why elect a career in acting?  Well, if you have to ask, it’s probably not for you.  Choose another.

But acting does have this going for it: it’s the most fundamental of the theatrical arts.  It embodies the heart of what theatre is about—a first-person storyteller shaping the imagination of the “other” in an audience, and leading the social artistic and ritualistic experience.  And to give acting it’s due, all the other jobs on the list point to that mo­ment of audience contact which the actor controls.  Arguably, in order to be fulfilling, they must all be peopled by either itinerant actors (those working toward creating the artistic moment) or ardent audience members (those fixated by the event).  Being both helps.

If you will persist in your attempt to earn a living through your art, the following are some of the recognized careers in the theatre you may wish to consider.  Film, television, radio and cognate entertainment media are not included. 


Sound Controller


Properties Supervisor


Props Handler


Props Maker



Specialized Coach





Artistic Director

Fight / Fencing

Casting Agent


General Manager


Company Manager

Stage Manager

House Manager

Assistant Stage Manager

Box Office Manager

Technical Director

Director of Development

Master Stage Carpenter

Audience Development

Crew Carpenter

Educational Activities

Grip (Stagehand)

Public Relations


Press Agent


Advertising Agent

Scenic Designer

Literary Agent

Scene Painter

Personal Manager

Costume Designer

Booking Agent

Cutter / Seamstress


Wardrobe Supervisor

Education / Criticism



Makeup Artist

College Professor

Wigs/ Hair Stylist

Secondary School Teacher

Lighting Designer

Elementary Arts Specialist

Master Electrician

Private Acting Coach

Lights Board Operator

Arts Librarian

Sound Designer

Play Reviewer

Master Sound Technician

Theatre Critic

It’s clear that all of the careers on the list call for special preparation.  You can be intro­duced to the skills of many of them right here through your involvement with our pro­duction program and course work..  This is probably the best time to begin your sorting-out process, remembering that choosing one does not eliminate all the others.  Later, you’ll need more technical training through either additional formal education or by way of intern/apprenticeship programs.  You should begin thinking of these possibili­ties now, and talk it over with your advisor, explore through our production opportunities, choose summer jobs which will support your training for specific areas, look into intern­ship possibilities with local theatre companies.

Then it’s off to graduate school or to starting in the trenches in a production company.  Don’t pass on any opportunity to practice your craft and build your résumé.  You will want to gather as many contacts as you can.  And if you need to earn a living through non-theatre activity while you’re waiting for the break, be sure that it will help build your theatrical skills.

Be sure to create a support group for yourself.  Your family and friends are the logical place to start, but if they don’t fully share your dream, add others who do.  After you’ve made some contacts you’ll begin to develop professional relationships which provide support in an entirely different way.

Next Section: A3d: Support Organizations

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