Careers in Theatre

Wayne State University has been training students for careers in theatre for more than 60 years. The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance offers degree programs that prepare students for a wide range of career opportunities.

Our graduates, many of whom are award-winning artists in their chosen expertise, work locally, nationally and internationally as professional stage and film actors, voice actors, artistic directors, playwrights, producers, casting directors, set and costume designers, teachers and university professors. Theatre majors also find careers in related fields such as fund raising and development, community outreach, law, public relations, sales, financial planning and much more. Check out what some former students, now alumni, have done with a degree from the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance

What can I do with this major:

The Theatre major can help prepare students for many career opportunities including work in the specific areas of theater production or performance as well as the related areas of advertising, television, film, recreation, education, and management.

Theatre study includes a comprehensive study in theater, practical experience in professional production, and a solid background in the liberal arts. Talent, commitment, energy, and discipline are key personal qualities required for successful theater careers.

The following list contains a representative sample of job titles of former graduates with a Theatre major. Use this as an idea list, and remember that it represents some, but certainly not all, of the careers you might consider.

Students obtaining employment immediately upon graduation are usually those with the best college records and a willingness to relocate to find a job. Some of these jobs also require education beyond a bachelors' degree.

Salaries vary widely according to the specific production field, professional level, type and location of theatre or other venue. Theatre production jobs are often free-lance and contracted, on a show or season basis. Salaries are dependent upon the number of performances, the size, location and type of show and theatre venue. In 2000, for example, an Equity actor's weekly wage in a Broadway play may be $1180, $1667 in a Broadway musical, $592 in a regional theatre, from $250 to $425 in a stock theatre, or $136 in a smaller specialized theatre. An Equity stage manager's weekly earnings for a Broadway musical might be $1939, $706 for a regional theatre production, from $310 to $485 in a stock theatre, or $168 in a small theatre company. In either case, salary usually depends upon the location of theatre and the number of performances (usually 3 to 8) per week. Similar positions in film and television generally offer a higher salary, but they, too, are usually on a project or season basis. Some actors, designers, directors, stage managers, and crafts persons work on an annual or longer-term contract basis as members of resident theatre companies. Career opportunities with more conventional, annual or longer-range contracts, in theatre companies and arts organizations are enjoyed by artistic and executive directors, producers, marketing, public relations, development, and business personnel

Related career titles for theatre majors

Acting Coach Costumer Media Planner 
Script Coach  Actor  Critic 
Media Salesperson  Script Manager  Actress
Customer Service Manager  Mediator  Admissions Director 
Fund Raiser Mime *Stage Manager Advertising Specialist
Director Model Stand-In
Agent Drama Coach Movie Theater Manager
Special Events Coordinator  Student Affairs Specialist Amusement Park Entertainer
Equipment Operator Narrator Stunt Coordinator
Animal-Talent Coordinator  Facilities Manager Negotiator/Mediator
Stunt-person Announcer Foreign Correspondent
Paralegal Talent Manager Art Director
Health Educator Playwright  Talent Scout
Booking Manager Human Resource Specialist Producer 
Teacher  Broadcast Journalist Impersonator
Program Assistant Theater Manager Business Manager
Business Manager Instructor Theater Arts
Prop Manager Ticket Sales Coordinator Buyer
Labor Relations Specialist  Labor Relations Specialist Public Affairs Officer
Tour Guide Casting Director Lighting Designer
Public Relations Specialist Tourism Director  Communication Technology Specialist
Lighting Operator  Puppeteer Training & Development Specialist
Community Affairs Officer Lobbyist Radio/TV Announcer
Video Store Manager  Copy Writer Magician
Recruiter Writer/Editor Costume Designer
Make-up Artist Sales Representative Draftsman
Exhibit/Display Designer Faux Painter Scene Painter
Set Designer Sound Designer Rigger 

Related major skills and characteristics

Imagination & creativity Strong communication skills
Good work ethic Flexibility
Basic reading, writing and editing skills Presentation, public speaking skills
Attention to detail  Interpersonal skills 
Adaptability Appreciation of aesthetics
Interpretive skills   

 From WSU Career Services, for more information about careers in Theatre: