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Gaining experience

Theatre and performance arts

There are more people who wish to work within the theatre and performing arts industries than there are jobs available and so, like most creative industries, this is a tough area to break into. More than most sectors your practical experience, skills, attitude and determination will be crucial in breaking into the industry.

However, finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs and applications every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through our website with examples of CVs for the creative industries.


Types of Opportunities

Below are some examples of the different types of opportunities to gain experience while you study.

Placements will give you a long-term look at an organisation, and help you to build contacts and experience.

On some degrees, work placements are part of the programme, whilst on others you can choose to complete a placement as one of your modules. Should you choose to undertake either your first point of contact is your placement office in your Faculty.

Learn more about taking a placement

Many students choose to take a Self-Employed Placement. This allows you to work for yourself during your placement year and receive support from the University's Student Startup Team. You will have access to funding opportunities, networking events and workshops.

Learn more about Self-Employed Placements 


Working voluntarily is an effective way to gain fantastic experience. Careers and Employability offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Careers and Employability centre. A number of varied opportunities with local theatres are available on an ongoing basis.

Learn more about our Volunteering Team


Tips to build experience

  • Portsmouth has a number of local theatres including The New Theatre Royal, The Kings Theatre and Groundlings Theatre that can be contacted in order to gain experience within performance or production. A little further afield there is the acclaimed Chichester Festival Theatre that provides similar options. Whether it is paid work or volunteering front of house, this is a great way to meet people and hear about potential opportunities.
  • Gain performance experience through getting involved with local groups and productions, attending workshops and starting your own projects with friends.
  • Look into attending open auditions and sign-up with casting agencies for extra work during the holidays.
  • Network as much as possible. Try to meet people working in theatre at events and ask anyone and everyone for advice, people will be happy to help.
  • See as much theatre as you can, this shows enthusiasm and people are bound to ask you what you've seen recently. It will also help you decide on the kind of company you might want to work for.


Explore the Theatre and Performing Arts Career Guide

Theatre and performance arts

Your guide to building a career in theatre and performance arts.

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