A theatre manager, also known as a theatre planner, director, or general manager, is basically the director of a theatre group. They are often in charge of all artistic, production, technical, and budgetary functions of the theatre group, but in essence also oversee all other administrative, marketing, financial, and creative functions of the theatre. However, the theatre manager doesn’t solely manage the group; instead, their position is one of leadership, requiring them to take a back seat while others lead. This often presents a problem for those who wish to succeed in theatre management, as they need to be able to envision, plan, direct, and administrate all aspects of the theatre group whilst also having enough time to pursue other roles in theatre.
Theatre is unlike other industries in that there is generally no structure, process, or process by which individuals gain access to the position of theatre manager. This means that there is no way for an individual to gain a mastery of theatre operations in the same way as one who has studied theatre studies or graduated with a degree in this field. For this reason, theatre managers often go through years of apprenticeship before finally making it into the main stage of this exciting theatre art form. During their time in the apprenticeship stage, many theatre managers develop the skills and qualities necessary for them to eventually become a successful theatre manager in their own right.
There are numerous organisations that help theatre managers find work and provide them with the experience they need in order to succeed in theatre management. These organisations include: the Association of Theatre Management, the Association of Stage and Audience Managers, the Theatre Management Association, and the Theatre Manager Institute. However, before applying to any of these organisations, you should check their requirements to ensure that you meet their requirements for admission and their training programmes.
The most common experience that theatre managers have is working within a corporate structure. However, because theatre management positions are not hereditary, it does not mean that a person cannot begin their career in this profession by working in a corporate theatre group. Many corporate theatre groups will ask potential theatre managers to take a performance management course in order to demonstrate that they have both the ability and the knowledge to lead theatre operations. The skills that you will learn in this course can benefit you in many different areas within the theatre industry including: corporate communication, project management, development of theatre promotions, fundraising, budgeting, staffing, and event operations.
Many people choose to start their work in theatre as theatre assistants before progressing their work in theatre management. Working as an assistant in a theatre group allows a theatre manager to begin honing their theatre management skills while gaining experience in the field. Additionally, many theatre assistants begin their work in theatre management by becoming interns in the company that they are interning for. As an intern you will work closely with the theatre manager and be able to learn about the day to day operations of the theatre group, such as the hiring of theatre actors and actresses, the general set up and break down of the theatre production. As an intern you will also learn how to effectively handle disputes between actors and crew, as well as gain valuable theatre experience. Finally, your internships within the company will allow you to network with other theatre groups, which can help you find employment later on in your theatre career.
After successfully completing your theatre management training, you may find that you are ready to move up in the theatre management ranks. If this is the case, you should try to find theatre related positions at smaller theatre companies to gain experience before applying for theatre management positions at larger organisations. As well, many theatre management jobs will allow you the opportunity to advance your position based on your previous theatre experience. In fact, some theatre managers will even help new theatre artists to develop their skills before they are offered a permanent role with the company.