12 Careers for Theater Graduates
"All the world's a stage." These famous words are just as true today as they were when Shakespeare first wrote them.
No one knows this better than a theater major. Theater students are masters of performance. They know how to enchant, persuade, infuriate, and entertain. They understand the nuances of human emotion, the importance of body language, and the power of communication. Plus, they have no problem working—and thriving—under high pressure conditions.
In the workplace, theater-trained employees can be incredibly valuable. They're enthusiastic and energetic, professional and poised. They have excellent time management and human relations skills, with extensive experience working in teams toward a common goal. More importantly, they also have the confidence needed to overcome challenges. They've already learned to set ambitious goals, accept criticism, and move forward toward success.
With these important skills, theater majors can succeed in a wide range of careers—both on stage and beyond. Let's take a look at a few examples.
This article will be covering the following careers:
|Public Relations Specialist
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Becoming an actor is a dream job for many theater majors. In this dynamic profession, they'll use their training to perform in live, TV, and film performances. They'll meet with agents, prepare for auditions, rehearse their lines, and, of course, perform.
An actor brings characters to life through their performances in various forms of entertainment, including theater, film, television, and other media.
2. Film Producer
Interested in more of a behind-the-scenes role? For some theater majors, a career as a producer is an ideal fit. Producers keep everything running smoothly during a production. They hire and manage personnel, oversee the budget, raise funds, and more.
A film producer is a pivotal figure in the filmmaking process, playing a central role in bringing a cinematic project to life.
For musical theater fans, choreography can be a natural next step after graduation. Choreographers design, create, and teach dance. They develop routines that appear on stage and on screen, in everything from major blockbusters to independent recitals.
A choreographer designs and directs the movement and dance sequences for performances, productions, or events.
4. Television Writer
In the age of Netflix, TV is booming—offering plenty of exciting professional opportunities. Theater majors understand the elements of plot, dialogue, suspense, drama, and humour. If they also have a talent for writing, they can find success in this fast-paced career.
A television writer is responsible for writing scripts for television shows.
5. Set Designer
Every production needs a set designer. These talented professionals work with directors, costume designers, and producers to develop sets for films, TV shows, and live performances. They attend rehearsals, read scripts, conduct research, and prowl lots of vintage furniture stores.
A set designer works in the field of theatre, film, and television, and is responsible for creating the visual world of a production.
6. Casting Director
Talent director is an essential—but often overlooked—position in the theater world. These social and business-savvy individuals recruit performers for producers and directors. They put out calls for actors, host auditions, and attend shows around town to discover new potential.
A casting director is responsible for selecting actors, performers, and sometimes crew members for various roles in movies, television shows, theater productions, commercials, and other performing arts projects.
7. Broadcast Engineer
Sound technicians set up and monitor recording equipment, microphones, and speakers for live and recorded performances. There is no specific degree required for this position, as much of the training takes place on the job. But a background in theater or the performing arts can help.
A broadcast engineer is responsible for designing, installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting the technical infrastructure used in television, radio, and other broadcast facilities.
8. Public Relations Specialist
Communication and people skills are two of the core strengths theater graduates possess. These qualities can be extremely valuable in a public relations position. PR specialists maintain the image of the person or company they represent. The create media releases, social media campaigns, speeches, and more.
Public Relations Specialist
A public relations specialist manages the public image and reputation of individuals, organizations, or brands.
9. Event Planner
Pulling off a theater production is no small feat. It takes excellent time management, organization, and social awareness. It also requires careful planning and strategic communication—all under high pressure. Theater majors can use these same skills as event planners, organizing everything from Bar Mitzvahs to international festivals.
An event planner specializes in organizing and executing various types of events, ranging from small gatherings to large-scale conferences and weddings.
10. Fundraising Manager
If there's anything theater professionals know, it's how to make the most of a shoestring budget. It's no surprise that some theater students become fundraising managers after graduations. They work for nonprofits, arts organizations, film festivals, and—of course—theater companies.
A fundraising manager is responsible for planning, organizing, and overseeing campaigns and activities to secure funds for nonprofit organizations, charities, or other causes.
11. Music Therapist
Music therapy isn't an obvious next step, but for a musical theater graduate, it can be a rewarding one. Music therapists help their clients understand and overcome emotional, social, and physical issues of all kinds. They use a range of techniques, including singing, song writing, lyric discussion, and more.
A music therapist utilizes music as a therapeutic tool to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.
Perhaps acting isn't in the cards for you, but writing about it could be. Some theater majors use their communication skills and theoretical knowledge to become editors, journalists, and copywriters. Some might review plays for a local paper, others might copyedit the program for a particular theater company. Either way, they'll spend their days thinking about the thing they love best: the stage.