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Theatre & Dance Career Facts

What jobs are available for people who study theatre?
Those who study theatre, acting, and other performing arts may become actors, producers, or directors in the legitimate theatre (the stage), feature films, television, educational, government, or industrial films, commercials, and/or documentaries.

Actors perform in stage, radio, television, video or motion picture productions. They may also work in cabarets, nightclubs, theme parks, and commercials and in "industrial" films produced for training, advertising, and educational purposes. Some actors also teach in high school, college, or university drama departments, acting schools, or public programs.

Producers are entrepreneurs, overseeing the business and financial decisions of a production. They select and oversee development of scripts, arrange financing, hire staff, negotiate contracts, and coordinate the activities of writers, directors, managers, and agents.

Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They interpret scripts and direct the work of cast and crew. They approve the design of the production including sets, costumes, choreography, and music.

This is an extremely competitive field with only the most driven achieving financial success. Many people in this field supplement their incomes by holding jobs in other fields.

What types of skills are required?
Those in the performing arts need to have creative instincts, rigorous work habits, and the intellectual capacity to perform, produce, or direct. Formal dramatic training in voice, movement, characterization, acting styles, and Shakespeare generally is necessary.

Actors need talent, creative ability, and versatility. They must have poise, stage presence, the capability to affect an audience, and the ability to follow directions. Physical appearance is often a deciding factor in being chosen for particular roles.

Producers have no specific training requirements. They must, however, have talent, experience, and business skills.

Directors need to have experience in all areas of the theatrical arena.

What is the employment outlook?
While the employment of actors, producers, and directors is expected to grow faster than the average through 2010, it remains a highly competitive field due to the large number of trained and talented applicants for each position. Community and regional theatres are expected to offer many job opportunities.

What is the pay?
Pay varies widely. Those who become "stars" make many millions of dollars while the majority of those in the entertainment field must supplement their earnings by having another job.

What are the related occupations?
People who work in performing arts occupations that may require acting skills include announcers, dancers and choreographers, musicians, singers, and related workers, hairdressers, cosmetologists, costumers, set and exhibit designers, sound and lighting engineers, and writers.

Information in this report is gathered from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Phone: (517) 483-1546
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