Theatre in the Real World: Professional Profile
“I don’t want to be an actor!” is one reason why students may not want to take drama class. However, there are a whole host of careers in the theatre that aren’t acting. The following individual exercise gives students the opportunity to discover and explore different jobs in the theatrical world, including experience needed, responsibilities, and possible salaries. If you want your students to take a deeper dive into their learning, they will then investigate a real person with the role they’ve researched.
1. Assign each student a different theatrical career to research that is not an actor/performer. Here are some suggestions:
- Producer, executive director, company manager, box office administrator, marketing director, outreach officer, stage manager, assistant stage manager, production manager, technical director, artistic director, show director, choreographer, fight director, intimacy director, playwright, musical director, accompanist, pit orchestra musician, vocal director, set designer, sound designer, lighting designer, costume designer, props designer, audio technician, makeup artist, hair and wig specialist, dresser, theatrical carpenter, theatrical electrician, front of house staff.
- If a student wishes to explore a theatrical role that is not on this list, have them check in with you first.
2. Answer the following questions:
- What are the responsibilities of the position?
- Who does this role report to? Who reports to them?
- What training, experience, or skills do you need to have this job?
- What is a typical salary for this role?
- Be sure to include all sources referenced in your project.
3. If you wish, have students present their research to the rest of the class, or amass the projects into one big resource about different theatrical careers.
4. Students will complete a reflection, responding to the following questions (length: 1 page):
- What is the most interesting thing about the job you researched? What do you think would be the most challenging part?
- Would you be interested in doing this as a career? Why or why not?
5. Extension Exercise: If you wish for students to go more in-depth, have them research a real person with the job they studied. Have them search for interviews (written, podcast, YouTube), articles, or web/social media profiles for a suitable subject and answer as many of the following questions as they can:
- What is this person’s specific job? Where are they located?
- Are they a freelancer or do they work for a company?
- How did they get to where they are (i.e. training, previous experience, etc.)?
- Why did they choose that job?
- What is a typical day like for them?
- Have they received any awards or accolades?
- Include photos or links to their work.
- Again, include all sources referenced in your research.
Note: Be sure that students are specifically referencing people who work in theatre. There is often crossover with film or television work — focus on theatre.
6. For bonus points, reach out to the individual via their website or social media and see if they respond!
7. Exit slip: What is one new thing you learned about this role after completing the extension exercise?
Click here for a free evaluation rubric.
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