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Best Theatre Major Jobs And Careers

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Theatre Career Paths

Theatre jobs

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How To Get A Job With A Theatre Degree

The possibility of becoming an actor is exciting to many who dream of seeing their names on Broadway or on the silver screen. Heck, a lot of them would take the copper or bronze screen. Being an actor is tough, and finding jobs in the field is tougher still.

Part of this is because the path to "professional actor" is rarely a straight one, and as a result, it can be difficult to find precisely the right way to break into the field.

Well, that's where we come in. We literally created a map, just for Theatre Majors such as yourself, to navigate your way through the choppy waters of recent graduation.

Feel free to focus on the map alone -- it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who prefer step by step navigation on your path, keep reading. We'll give you the rundown on:

  • What skills you'll need
  • How to begin
  • What jobs you can expect to find as a Theatre Major
  • Some quick interview tips
  • Consider graduate school
  • External resources

First thing's first: what skills you'll need to get started.

1. Skills for Theatre Majors

Actors need a lot of creativity in order to work -- they have to be able to read and interpret a character based often on little more than a series of lines and, if they're lucky, a rough outline of that character's motivations and goals.

But creativity isn't all that it takes to be an actor. You also need a high degree of skills related to speaking, interpreting, in addition to body and muscle control.

Let's take a closer look at what some of these Theatre skills look like:

Memorization skills

Before an actor can be on stage or in film, they'll need to memorize dozens or more pages of lines. The ability to quickly read and memorize lines is a necessary skill for actors of any kind, with the possible exception of voice acting (where the lines an actor is supposed to read is typically in front of them at all times).

Physical stamina

Actors and dancers need to be in excellent physical condition in order to deal with the heat from heavy costumes, makeup, and stage lights, not to mention the hours and hours of performances and rehearsals.

Communication skills

Actors need excellent communication skills in order to properly project themselves and be understood in whatever format they're acting within. In addition to public speaking skills, they'll also need to know how to communicate with individual for networking purposes, as much of getting jobs in the acting world has to do with personal and professional connections.

2. Where to Begin Your Career After Getting a Theatre Degree

Theatre internships are an excellent way to gain directing, organizing, or backstage experience in theatre productions, not to mention afford you the opportunity to connect with actors and directors who might be able to offer you more work down the line.

Interns aren't always given the opportunity to act in a production, and the better the internship the more likely that competition for roles will be too fierce for an intern to have any hope of being in a show itself. But the chance to see in concrete terms how a professional theatre production is put on is some of the best experience you can get when it comes to building your resume as a Theatre Major.

Before you settle on an internship or placement, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Where (in the state/the country/the world) do you want to work?
  • What size and type of organization do you want to work for?
  • Do you need compensation in an internship, or might you be able to consider alternative compensation (experience, work samples, references, networking, etc.)
  • Is relocation an option?

3. Available Jobs For Theatre Majors

Throughout their time in college, Theatre Majors learn about the various ways that humans communicate, the nature of relationships, and how ideas and emotions are conveyed through both speech as well as body language. While all essential for acting, these kind of skills are also applicable to a variety of other industries and careers.

With our map, you can click the Job Titles and learn more specific information for each position (what their responsibilities are, how much they get paid, etc.) But here, we wanted to call out some of the most common jobs for recent Theatre Major grads.

Here are a few of the most interesting jobs for recent grads such as yourself:


Unsurprisingly, one of the top jobs for those with Theatre Majors is acting. Actors read, memorize, and interpret the roles written for them, and may need to adapt their acting skills based on the medium in which they are working.

Stage Manager

A Stage Manager is someone who coordinates and runs a theatre production by planning, organizing, and coordinating with the various actors, directors, and backstage crew who are employed by the production.

Costume Designer

A Costume Designer is tasked with creating costumes and outfits that, in addition to being stylish and fitting to both individual people and the characters that they play, also need to meet the unique needs of their medium. For example, Costume Designers for a live theatre production need to bear in mind that actors will need to get in and out of their costumes quickly, something that film or TV productions don't need to concern themselves with.

4. Some Quick Job Search Tips for Theatre Majors

Get Experience Wherever You Can

With theatre, the most important thing is always to keep getting experience in your chosen role by participating in productions both on and off campus. Performance skills are developed over a long period of time, and you need to make sure you have as many opportunities to practice as you can find.

Summers are an excellent time to get creative or technical experience, provided you aren't busy with internships or classes. Your school's theatre program may be putting on summer productions, but if they're not, there may be other non-college-affiliated theatre troupes who are putting on productions themselves. It helps to be in a town or city with a sizable arts community, so if the college you attend has a larger population than the town it's located in, you may need to shop around a bit.

If nothing else, you can spend your summer studying monologues, or even try your hand at writing your own plays.

5. Continuing Education and Certifications in Theatre

Pursuing an advanced degree

Obtaining a graduate degree in your course of study can serve as an excellent way to separate you from the herd - but you must first decide whether it's worth your time.

Graduate degrees in Theatre can often be very useful even for those trying to gain more practical experience as opposed to necessarily academic experience. Many theatre programs afford various on- and off-stage roles in productions for their graduate students, which help students better understand the realities of participating in theatre productions within a relatively lower-stakes college setting.

Here are common advanced degrees that people with Theatre degree normally consider:

Master's in Theatre

  • Often geared towards teaching theatre specifically, Master's programs are excellent for those looking to pick up a few extra skills or certifications in particular aspects of theatre without spending too much longer in academia

MFA (Master of Fine Arts in Theatre)

  • An MFA in Theatre will give you the opportunity to specifically get creative experience in directing, acting, and producing theatrical performances

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre)

  • PhDs in Theatre work closely with the theatre programs offered by their school, engaging with theatre from a theoretical perspective while also approaching the way that theatre is taught at the college level and beyond.

6. External Resources

If you're still not sure what to do with your degree here are some external sites, to help you with your decision:

Actors Equity Association (Equity)

Equity is a union organization for actors who work in live theatre which helps to negotiate salaries and working conditions. In order to join, a non-Equity actor must participate in a certain number of Equity affiliated plays.

Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)

Another union organization for actors, SAG-AFTRA negotiates working conditions for any actors whose work is recorded for film, TV, voiceover, or broadcast journalism.


Enter "Theatre" into the search bar and you can get a sense of what kind of government jobs are available to Visual and Performing Arts Majors. Find a job title you like and come back here to learn more about it.

Bureau Of Labor Statistics

The BLS offers detailed data on pay, location, and availability of different kinds of jobs across the country.

In fact, we draw a lot of our research on the best places for jobs from the information provided on the site.

And if this all seems like a lot - don't worry - the hard part (getting your degree!) is already over.

These Are The 50 Most Common First Jobs For Theatre Majors

Top Locations: New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Louisville, KY;
Job Description: A server is someone who works at a restaurant or a bar, and sometimes in private homes, attending customers—supplying them with food and drink as requested.
DGrowth DJob security

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Top Locations: Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Indianapolis, IN;
Job Description: A Teacher develops lesson plans and uses those plans to teach students. They also evaluate and record students’ progress and provide grades and feedback.
CGrowth CJob security

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Top Locations: New York, NY; Houston, TX; Burlington, MA; Chicago, IL;
Job Description: Assistant managers have a lot of responsibilities, and this job requires good leadership skills. The manager is typically responsible for planning and directing the operations of a business unit, department or store.
CGrowth CJob security

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Top Locations: New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Atlanta, GA;
Job Description: An office assistant is generally responsible for a wide variety of duties, and their jobs often differ depending on their employer.
DGrowth DJob security

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Top Locations: New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Charlotte, NC;
Job Description: A Stage Manager provides practical and organizational support to the director, actors, designers, and stage crew. They are responsible for providing assistance throughout the production process.
CGrowth DJob security

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Top Locations: New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Baltimore, MD; Austin, TX;
Job Description: A Production Assistant supports all aspects of film or TV production. They are responsible for ensuring the production quality of all promotionals, commercials, and public service announcements.
FGrowth DJob security

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Top Locations: New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Memphis, TN; Los Angeles, CA;
Job Description: Receptionists perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing general information about their organization to the public and customers.
BGrowth DJob security

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Top Locations: New York, NY; Miami, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Houston, TX;
Job Description: A Hostess is responsible for greeting customers as they enter a restaurant, taking their reservation, and putting them on a waiting list. They may also be responsible for ordering table linens, napkins, and other dining room supplies.
DGrowth DJob security

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Top Locations: Los Angeles, CA; Indianapolis, IN; New York, NY; Houston, TX;
Job Description: Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.
CGrowth CJob security

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Top Locations: New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Bend, OR; Lubny, Ukraine;
Job Description: A Volunteer is a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task. They are focused on providing support during community activities.
AGrowth DJob security

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