Performing on stage isn’t the only way to work in the theatre industry. If you’re an actor struggling to land auditions or are interested in learning about other roles in the field, you might consider looking into one of these positions.
Sometimes called Front of House (FOH) Staff, ushers are responsible for welcoming guests into the theatre space, leading them to their seats, handing out programs, and answering any questions the patrons may have regarding the play or the space. Ushers may answer queries about the play’s runtime, how long intermission will last, or where to find concessions or restrooms. This role requires interaction with customers and is best suited for upbeat and friendly personalities.
This role is, as its title suggests, dedicated to the box office of the theatre. Like ushers, box office employees also deal with patrons and are in charge of ticket sales. They answer questions about the performance, venue and ticket availability and help customers book their seats both in person and via phone or online platforms.
This role does a lot of heavy lifting backstage. Stage Managers (SMs) have a vast range of responsibilities, from time management and scheduling during the rehearsal process to prop-tracking and cueing the light and sound boards during performances. Stage management is a challenging job as an SM holds a lot of responsibility and interacts with all of the moving parts of a theatrical production. They hold the production team together, and lead the technical team through a performance.
Assistant Stage Manager
An Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) reports to the Production Stage Manager (PSM) or SM. The ASM is there, as the name suggests, to assist the SM in anything they may need during the run of a play. Typically, an ASM’s role becomes particularly important once tech week begins. In many theatres, the SM will be up in the booth, taking care of the technical cues of the lighting and sound boards, during tech and performances. As such, SMs need someone to stay close proximity to the actors and be their eyes and ears backstage. An ASM’s tasks may include making sure the props are properly set pre-show and during intermission, resetting the space after final curtain, and cuing the actors in performance. This positional is a great stepping stone for aspiring Stage Managers.
The spotlight sometimes works separately from the rest of the theatre lights, which are programmed during tech in the lighting board. As a result, some theatres require a spot operator to work the spotlight live during performances. This person moves the spotlight around to follow (spot) the actors and may change the intensity, size, brightness and color of the light, according to the lighting designer’s instructions.
Internships in the theatre are typically unpaid or completed for college credit. While they won’t bring in a paycheck, internships are a great way to dip your toes into various roles. You might try interning in an administrative, design or technical position – even shadowing directors or producers. There are a wide variety of internships available for all aspects of theatre.
When searching for jobs within theatre, Playbill and BroadwayWorld are two great places to look. Each are free websites specifically for theatre-related job listings. You can find positions on both union and non-union projects, regional theatre, national tours, and so much more. Through these sites, you’ll be able to apply for internships, paid positions and, yes, even acting auditions.