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Finding a job

Theatre and performance arts

Like most creative industries, breaking into theatre and the performing arts is tough and the reality is that voluntary and sporadic work will most likely be a regular feature initially. This will require personal resilience, determination and the support of either family and friends or alternative work that will help to subsidise your main career aim. Whether you want to work in performance, writing, directing or production; previous experience, skill and technical knowledge will be crucial to start building a career within this area.

Postgraduate study or other specialist courses at drama and dance schools are a useful way of gaining more skills, experience and contacts. You could undertake an MA in Acting or Dance or enrol on a summer school or short course to focus on a particular aspect of performance although entry is extremely competitive.


Useful websites to help you start your job search

  • Arts Council England - Free mailing list, detailing current vacancies and opportunities in dance, music, theatre, combined and interdisciplinary arts.
  • Spotlight - Spotlight provides a casting database for film, television, stage and commercial work.
  • Arts and Media Jobs - A free website listing arts and media jobs and vacancies for arts and media professionals.
  • Creative Access - Paid internship opportunities for those from under-represented minority backgrounds.
  • CastingNow - Search for extras jobs and castings including theatre work and dance.


Working Freelance

  • Student Start Up - University of Portsmouth’s support network for current students and graduates who wish to work self-employed offering advice and guidance, office space and networking opportunities.
  • Freelance UK - Information for creative freelancers including a forum, news, events and tips on starting out.


Tips for finding a job

  • Before starting your job search think carefully about what it is you want to do within theatre and the performing arts as roles can be extremely varied.
  • If you are looking for work as an actor within theatre, access to an agent or working with an agency can be an effective way to gain work. For information on how to get an agent visit Acting in London.
  • To work as a professional actor you will need an Equity Card. However, this requires gaining work and credits in the first place in order to be eligible. For further information visit Equity.
  • Attend and become involved in as much theatre as possible. Attend workshops, network, get involved in student productions and build your portfolio and experience.
  • Attend open auditions that don't require an agent sign-posting.
  • Think carefully before rejecting any opportunities. You will most probably have to work in a voluntary role at first in order to build-up crucial experience, credits and contacts.


Further information

If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.

  • Arts Professional - Provides industry news and views about key issues plus a jobs board.


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