What Are Your Options in the Theater Industry?

Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Are you looking for a new career? Do you want to be involved in the theater industry but don't know what your options are? It's not just about being on stage or backstage. There are a wide range of job opportunities to suit your skills and passion, so it's important to research before taking any steps into the field. In this post, you'll learn some options available in the theater industry, and just maybe they'll help guide you to your future career choice!

image cred: G. King, Unsplash


Scriptwriters create the dialogue and action for plays, musicals, movies, or television series. They are responsible for every word spoken in a show. Scriptwriting is an art form that requires years of experience to master. Skills needed:
  • Advanced writing skills.
  • Creativity.
  • Storytelling expertise.
  • Knowledge of different genres.
  • A grasp of dramatic structure.
  • Proficiency in show design and production processes.
Script writers get paid on commission. This means they are rewarded for each script sold, rather than by the hour or week like other writing occupations. In addition, they can receive royalties based on box office receipts from productions their work is used in. 

Entry-level script writers often get hired as assistants for more experienced writers or break into the business by writing one of their scripts and getting it produced professionally. Scriptwriting is a competitive field with many aspiring professionals vying for recognition and success. Competition can be fierce, but if you have an idea for a script or aspire to be the next Oscar-winning screenwriter, it can also be intensely rewarding.

image cred: E. McLean, Unsplash

Set Designing 

A set designer is in charge of creating the environment for an actor's scene. They work with a director and other designers, such as a lighting designer or costume designer, but they also have some control over what's happening on stage. Did you know that Travis Preston of CalArts took stage study on modern crime in China, which is a stretch in theater career options? You can find out more from his website. 

The first thing a set design will do is gather reference images that show how people live in different places. They will then do some research to determine what kind of materials are available in the area they're designing for.

The designer has to be aware of scale - if an actor needs to walk 20 feet from one side of the stage to the other but the stage is too small, they will have to make adjustments.

image cred: C. Crossan, Unsplash

Prop Designer

Prop design is a specialization within the broader field of theatrical or entertainment design. A prop designer collaborates with other designers and artists to create elements that are not part of the scenic, costume, sound, or lighting designs. 

This includes furniture (chairs, sofas), personal items like clothes and shoes, signs and notices, printed materials, and electrical equipment. Prop designers work to design a prop or piece of furniture to suit the purpose for which it is intended in performance and look appropriate when viewed from all angles on stage. The designer must consider the shape, size, and color of an item's surface area. 

Theater is a fun and exciting industry with many options besides those mentioned above. Whether you want to work on Broadway, in regional theatre, or as an actor, there are multiple ways for you to get involved in the arts. All you need is a passion for theater and the drive to succeed!

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