How To Become A Theatrical Company Manager

Career Profile, Salary & Job Outlook —

What does a Company Manager do?

A theatrical Company Manager is an administrator for a company or production. They provide logistical oversight and act as the liaison between the company and the general manager. Responsibilities include managing payroll for cast and crew, processing invoices from vendors, scheduling rehearsals, serving as a point of communication between the cast and director, and arranging living accommodations for cast and crew. Company Managers also schedule costume and wig fittings and design budgets. They have a hand in every aspect of production.

How much does a Company Manager make?

According to Glassdoor, Company Managers maintain a national annual salary of $51,802, which is an hourly wage of $24.90. Entry-level company managers start around $29,000 annually. Senior-level company managers make an annual average of $93,000. The range in salary widely depends on factors including skill, seniority level, and location.

What impact does this career have towards the performing arts industry?

Company Managers are the caretakers of their company. Overseeing logistics is an important aspect of their job, but they are the primary contact person for company players and staff. Company Managers make sure performers are prepared and at their peak during showtime, and that crew members are healthy and have adequate time off.

What is the job outlook for a Company Manager?

Although the performing arts sector struggled with revenue loss in 2020, revenue is projected to rebound by 2025. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for producers (including Company Managers) are expected to grow by 24% during the 2020-2030 decade (www.bls.gov).

How to kick-off your career:

  • Research theatre companies in your area.
  • Volunteer at your local theater.
  • Download The Ultimate Performing Arts Career Guide to pinpoint your skillset.
  • Explore the NYU x Performing Arts Industry Essentials online course.

Mandy Gonzalez, company manager

Learn from: 

Mandy Gonzalez
Performing Arts Industry Essentials, Broadway performer

Credits: Hamilton, In The Heights, Wicked, Dance of the Vampires

Related Careers:

Arts Administrator | Program Director | Development Associate | Event Operations Coordinator | Box Office Manager | Arts Educator | Education Director | Programs & Venues Coordinator | Business Manager

How To Become A Dramaturg

Career Profile, Salary & Outlook —

What does a Dramaturg do?

Dramaturgy is the study of dramatic composition. Dramaturgs research historical information to ensure the accuracy of theatrical production. They develop an encyclopedic knowledge of operas, musicals, and plays. Dramaturgs use their expertise to provide details and guidance to playwrights, directors, and artistic directors so that they better understand the source material for the production. Some of the information Dramaturgs study and rely on during productions include the details about the life of the original librettist or playwright. What could have inspired the playwright, and any cultural or political events of the time that may have impacted the production.

How much does a this career make?

According to Ziprecruiter, Dramaturgs maintain a national annual salary of $51,826, which is an hourly wage of $24.92. Entry-level dramaturgs start around $29,500 annually. Senior-level dramaturgs make an annual average of $61,000. The range in salary widely depends on factors including skill, seniority level, and location.

What impact does this career have towards the performing arts industry?

Dramaturgs are the historians of the performing arts. They are the connective link to the past and present of theatre. Though the job sounds research heavy, dramaturgs can significantly impact the creative process. Their knowledge can influence changes in set design, wardrobe, and dialogue.

What is the job outlook for a Dramaturg?

Although the performing arts sector struggled with revenue loss in 2020, revenue is projected to rebound by 2025. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for producers (including Dramaturgs) are expected to grow by 24% during the 2020-2030 decade (www.bls.gov).

How To Kick-Off Your Career:

Mandy Gonzalez, dramaturg

Learn from: 

Mandy Gonzalez

Broadway performer, Performing Arts Industry Essentials

Credits: Hamilton, In The Heights, Wicked, Dance of the Vampires

Related Careers:

Acrobat | Choreographer | Dance Instructor | Professional Dancer | Stunt Performer | Artistic Director | Actor/Actress | Director | Playwright | Technical Writer | Producer | Arranger | Composer | Music Director | Music Producer | Orchestra Conductor | Orchestra Musician | Accompanist | Lyricist | Book Writer | Casting Director | Music Copyist | Comedian

Learn About 7 Theatre Jobs You Haven’t Considered

A successful theatre performance is the result of a lot of hard work. Between talent, production, and front-of-house staff, there could be over 100 people involved in the creative process depending on the scope of production. However, someone who isn’t familiar with performing arts may have a basic understanding of the usual players that bring a production to life. But true theatre buffs and those with performing arts degrees know about all of the unsung jobs needed behind the scenes. If you’ve wanted to pursue a career in theatre but want to do something unexpected, here are a few jobs you can get with a theatre degree or certification but may not know about.

Company Manager

A theatrical Company Manager is an administrator for a company or production. They provide logistical oversight and act as the liaison between the company and the general manager. Some of their responsibilities include managing payroll for cast and crew, distributing payment to vendors, scheduling rehearsals, serving as a point of communication between the cast and director, and arranging living accommodations for cast and crew. Company Managers also schedule costume and wig fittings and design budgets. Thus, they have a hand in every aspect of production.

Ruben Polendo, Theatre degree
Rubén Polendo, Chairperson & Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

Get Your Start: Company Managers are senior-level roles. Most get their start in production. But, it’s common for Company Managers to have work experience as stage managers. Don’t be afraid to head to your local community theatre and volunteer as a stagehand.

Development Coordinator

Development Coordinators are crucial to non-profit theaters and arts organizations. Their primary goal is to secure financing for the theatre. They also secure funding through grant writing and fundraising appeals, organizing fundraising events, and building relationships with existing and prospective donors. Depending on the size of the theatre, Development Coordinators may work full-time or part-time.

Get Your Start: The role of Development Coordinator is entry-level. Research non-profit theaters or companies. Determine which ones you’re interested in. Then inquire about internship opportunities.

Dramaturg

Dramaturgs has extensive knowledge of operas, musicals, and plays. They research historical information to ensure the accuracy of production. Dramaturgs also work alongside playwrights, directors, and artistic directors to provide details and guidance that better understand the material. Some of the facts they provide include the life of the original librettist or playwright, what could have inspired them, and any cultural or political events of the time that may have impacted the production.

Get Your Start: Many theaters and companies offer paid literary apprenticeships for graduates with bachelor’s degrees or certification. 

Movement Coach

Every motion and gesture is essential when performing in a theatre production. Actors and dancers have to ensure that a patron at the back of the theatre has as immersive of an experience as someone sitting in the front row. Because of this, movement coaches distill emotions into physical language and teach that language to performers.

Harvey Young theatre degree
Harvey Young Ph.D., Dean & Professor at Boston University College of Fine Arts and Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

Get Your Start: The job market for Movement Coaches is growing. However, there is not a defined path for students interested in the field. Movement Coaches tend to have education and experience in dance or choreography. 

Music Copyist

Music Copyists are responsible for preparing written music prior to performances. They receive sheet music after it’s reviewed and edited by the arranger, composer, music director, and orchestrator. They are also responsible for proofreading the sheet music, separating it by instrument, and distributing the finalized copies to the ensemble and orchestra. In revivals, Music Copyists transcribe older music into written form.

Get Your Start: A theatre degree or certification in music composition, music theory, or songwriting is typically a requirement to gain a job as a Music Copyist. You can also set yourself apart with an apprenticeship under an experienced Music Copyist. 

Props Master

Almost everything on stage — from a couch to an ashtray — is a prop. A Props Master is responsible for researching, acquiring, and monitoring all props for the production. They also have to find props within budget and ensure their historical accuracy and authenticity.

Get Your Start: Pursue a certification or theatre degree with a concentration in production and design if you’re interested in working as a Props Master. In addition to this, you can volunteer as a stagehand at your community theatre to gain work experience.

Set Designer

Also called a Scenic Designer, Scenic Designers create sets for productions. This can include set pieces, backdrops, furniture arrangement, and stage shape. They work closely with the Artistic Director to ensure that the stage represents their creative vision. Set Designers may have a background in carpentry or technical set work such as lighting.

Gianni Downs, theatre degree
Gianni Downs, University of Pittsburgh Theatre Arts Head of Design/Tech & Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

Get Your Start: Stage Designers need experience in production and design. Build a portfolio showcasing work from college or community theatre productions or apply for an apprenticeship.

If you want to learn about in any of the theatre jobs above or one of the other many careers in the performing arts, check out Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Performing Arts Career Guide.

Performing Arts Jobs in the Covid Era

After the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the theatre world in 2020, the future of the historic art form was uncertain. For a business whose revenue is primarily generated by in-person, live performances, there weren’t any straightforward ways to sustain the industry through an extended stoppage. 

Broadway and theatre districts around the world have cautiously begun the process of reopening. However, the job market remains packed with challenges. The market is especially unforgiving for recent graduates of theatre programs, those with performing arts degrees and lacking work experience. Ironically, the pandemic may have introduced new opportunities that could buoy theatre as it progresses towards normalcy.

As creatives sought new ways to make shows more accessible and bring in income, they embraced the internet in ways the performing arts industry has notoriously resisted in the past. Companies and playhouses put on digital theatre productions and streamed them online, actors took to local communities in mobile theatres, and playwrights channeled their storytelling through audioplays. 

Reimagining the theatrical experience for the internet has opened up more affordable access points for a younger, more diverse audience. The growth potential presented by digital media has led to new job creation outside of performance opportunities, and there’s a renewed outlook on existing ones. Whether you have some theatre education, a theatre degree, or you’re jumping right into the industry, here are a few performing arts jobs to keep in mind when updating your resume.

Audioplay Producer

Audioplay Producer
Audioplay Producer

Audioplays aren’t a new entertainment medium; they’re actually throwbacks to the radio drama era of the 1920s. But old trends often return, and audioplays are a natural combination of theatre and the growing podcast market. 

An Audioplay Producer develops and oversees the creative process of the audioplay. They have a hand in creating the overarching narrative and supervising the cast and crew. Audioplay Producers also assist in recording and editing and usually manage the distribution of episodic content.

Audio Engineer 

Audio Engineer
Audio Engineer

An Audio Engineer is responsible for the sound quality of an audioplay, live stream, or recording. Like a sound designer in  theatre production, Audio Engineers ensure the overall playback, effects, and music are as clear and dynamic as possible. In addition, they edit and mix the final version of audioplay episodes, videos, and musical theatre productions. As a rule of thumb, they are well versed in sound design technology.

Digital Marketing Manager

Digital Marketing Manager, Performing Arts Jobs
A Digital Marketing Manager

Digital Marketing Managers are responsible for raising awareness and visibility for productions online. They work in companies and theatres, developing marketing plans and advertising campaigns. They may play a dual role as a social media manager, overseeing social platforms and managing community engagement. With Gen Zers showing an increased interest in streamed productions, Digital Marketing Managers are more important to theatre than ever.

Set Designers

Set Design
Set Design

In technical theatre, Set Designers create the scenery for stage productions. They design the sets and backdrops meant to immerse an audience in an arena or auditorium. However, the job requires more versatility post-pandemic. Set Designers have to create a visual experience that can translate on screen for streaming and capture an audience in the same manner it would in person. They also need the handiness to build compact sets suitable for a mobile theatre or pop-up outdoor production.

Videographer

Videographer, Performing Arts Jobs
Videographer

Post covid, Videographers working in theatre have to wear different hats. Part cinematographer, part director, part stage manager, they are responsible for capturing high-quality footage to be used in visual media. In a conventional setting, theatre actors have the benefit of a live audience. 

The Videographer guides talent as they reinterpret their stage performance skills to fit a medium without instant reaction. They may work on a live stream or a recording. When working on recorded projects, Videographers may also edit in post-production. 

If you’re interested in any of the performing arts jobs above or other careers in the industry, check out Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Performing Arts Career Guide.

8 Theatre Careers in Demand Again

Broadway is back, and so are theatre districts around the world. As the performing arts take their rightful place under the bright lights of the stage once again, performance opportunities aren’t the only sought-after roles. Shows reopening means there are theatre careers in production that need to be filled. Whether you’ve recently graduated from a theatre degree program or a certificate program like Yellowbrick’s Performing Arts Industry Essentials, or even if you’re a veteran with tons of work experience, these theatre careers are worth your consideration.

Booking Agent 

When a show is ready to go on the road, the producer hires a Booking Agent to secure venues. First, Booking Agents schedule out the tour, so it’s cohesive and easy for traveling. Then, they negotiate the details of individual shows with venues, including riders, ticket sale percentages, and financial information between the venue and the producing company. 

Scott Illingworth, Theatre Careers
Scott Illingworth, Assistant Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts + Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

You’re Off to a Good Start If…: You have solid negotiation skills and thrive under deadlines.

Average Salary: Booking Agents average an annual salary of $62,713 nationally.

Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Scott Illingworth, Assistant Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Box Office Manager

Box Office Managers supervise the ticketing office and box office staff. They also handle employee hiring and training on ticketing systems. Moreover, Box Office Managers oversee ticket sales and compile revenue reports for bookkeepers and accountants. 

In addition, they audit and reconcile cash drawers and sale receipts. They prepare financial statements to make sure all ticket payments and fees are accounted for properly. Box Office Managers are the first point of contact for patrons and handle any inquiries.

Ruben Polendo, theatre careers
Ruben Polendo, Chairperson and Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts + Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

You’re Off to a Good Start If…: You have a background in customer service and a knack for numbers.

Average Salary: Box Office Managers average an annual salary of $45,337 nationally.

Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Ruben Polendo, Chairperson and Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Casting Director

Casting Directors are responsible for selecting actors and actresses for roles in a production. In addition, they collaborate with producers and directors to schedule auditions. They may also attend other shows and workshops to scout talent.

Bret Shuford
Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Bret Shuford, actor and Broadway Life Coach + Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

You’re Off to a Good Start If…: You are comfortable networking and enjoy collaborating with others.

Average Salary: Casting Directors average an annual salary of $70,103 nationally.

Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Bret Shuford, actor and Broadway Life Coach

Company Manager

The Company Manager is a theatre career that handles a multitude of duties to ensure a theater and production runs smoothly. They work with the director and liaise with other department heads to ensure the show is within budget. They also handle administrative operations such as payroll, transportation and lodging for cast and crew, and scheduling rehearsals.

Elizabeth Bradley
Elizabeth Bradley, Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts + Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

You’re Off to a Good Start If…: You are a planner who can navigate a budget.

Average Salary: Company Managers average an annual salary of $51,524 nationally.

Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Elizabeth Bradley, Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts

Costume Designer

Costume Designers manage all wardrobe and costume pieces. They select, design, source, construct and shop for clothes for all the actors in a production. In addition, they organize costume areas backstage and handle alterations, fittings, and quick changes.

Gianni Downs
Gianni Downs, Theatre Arts Head of Design/Tech at University of Pittsburgh + Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

You’re Off to a Good Start If…: You are artistic, resourceful and can work in high pressure situations. 

Average Salary: Costume Designers average an annual salary of $40,631 nationally.

Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Gianni Downs, Theatre Arts Head of Design, Tech at University of Pittsburgh

Press Agent

A press agent is a theatrical publicist. They represent productions, performers, and venues in interactions with the media. Press Agents prepare cast and production crew biographies, write press releases, coordinate interviews, appearances, and cultivate relationships with media members for favorable press coverage.

Harvey Young, theatre careers
Harvey Young, Dean and Professor at Boston University College of Fine Arts + Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

You’re Off to a Good Start If…: You are a superb communicator who excels at building relationships.

Average Salary: Press Agents average an annual salary of $50,405 nationally.

Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Harvey Young, Dean and Professor at Boston University College of Fine Arts

Professional Dancer

Dancers use movement and body language to depict a character, plot point, or abstract idea to an audience. In most productions, dancers take direction from a choreographer. However, some shows require improvisation. Dancers may perform to the accompaniment of music or without.

Mandy Gonzalez
Mandy Gonzalez, Broadway Performer (Credits include Dance of the Vampires and In The Heights) + Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

You’re Off to a Good Start If…: You have athletic ability and musicality.

Average Salary: Professional Dancers average an annual salary of $68,000 nationally.

Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Mandy Gonzalez, Broadway Performer (Credits include Dance of the Vampires and In The Heights)

Stage Manager

Stage management is one of the essential roles in theatre. They assist directors during productions from initial rehearsals through the final curtain call. They handle the day-to-day management and coordinate communication between the creative and technical departments to ensure everyone is on task and schedule. Stage Managers also oversee the backstage and onstage areas during performances.

Shanga Parker
Shanga Parker, Academic Director and Associate Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts + Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor

You’re Off to a Good Start If…: You are adaptable and can solve problems quickly.

Average Salary: Stage Managers average an annual salary of $52,032 nationally.

Yellowbrick Expert Highlight: Shanga Parker, Academic Director and Associate Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts

If you’re interested in any of these fantastic theatre careers or want to learn about the other many jobs in the performing arts, check out Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Performing Arts Career Guide.

A Good Broadway Audition Begins in Reflection

You’re good at acting. You know how to hit your mark and deliver your lines on time. Now you need a chance to shine, to show casting agents what you have to offer. Unfortunately, most actors are just like you. They have some experience and have learned the craft basics, but they’re still not sure how to get casting agents to notice. Bret Shuford, Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor and cast member of Wicked and The Little Mermaid, teaches how to pursue the process of auditions. 

Watch the video to learn about:

  • the different types of open auditions
  • how to have a create a healthy audition process for yourself
  • importance of reflection during the audition process 

There’s no shortage of ways to submit yourself as an actor, but one option may be more effective than the others.

Entertainment Careers Centers (ECCs) are locations where actors, models, dancers, and singers can go to have their headshots, resumes, and acting reels professionally critiqued. In addition, these centers often help connect aspiring performers with agents, managers, and casting directors. According to Playbill, Eligible Performer Auditions (EPAs) are only open to members of the Actors’ union, called Actors’ Equity, or to performers who are eligible to become Equity members.

You can go to ECCs, EPAs and even submit yourself online from Backstage and other websites. Unfortunately, while most people who attend EPAs are generally happy with it, they’re also not using this opportunity to its full potential.

Here’s how to get the most out of EPAs:

Get there early. The earlier you show up, the more likely you will get quality feedback on all your materials. In addition, you want to make sure that the people critiquing you have enough time to look at what you’re offering them. You want them to give you honest feedback on improving your materials or how you should present yourself when meeting a casting director or agent.

Why the audition process is a long-time pursuit:

“So you have opportunities to go to open auditions,” says Bret Shuford. “You can go to ECCs, EPAs, and even submit yourself online from Backstage and other websites. But what we have to understand is that when you’re in this business, and when you want to pursue this business, you can’t think of it as a short-term pursuit. It is a long-term pursuit.”

Using concepts he picked up from performing arts and performing arts education, Shuford goes on to explain, “You have to think of this in the long term. So, every person you’re meeting at an audition, every time you go to an audition, it’s not about booking the job. It’s about building relationships. It’s about showing people the essence of who you are.”

How to keep yourself motivated during the audition process:

Shuford says he always tells actors to start with the experience they want people to have. So here are questions to ask yourself:

  • Why do you do what you do?
  • What do you want people to experience when they’re witnessing you on stage?

Shuford wants people to see themselves and see the world differently. So, that means he wants them to open their eyes and experience joy and experience fun. And what is that for you?

This is just one of the lessons you can learn through an online performing arts education. For more information on the audition process and the performing arts industry, explore the Performing Art Industry Essentials course.

The Role of the Broadway Producer

Putting together a musical production is not an easy thing to do. There are several roles on Broadway, but one of the main ones you want is a producer. This is because it gives you more say in how productions and live shows are produced.

Producers put on stage plays, including Broadway shows and major productions. The producer plays a huge role in these productions — as a producer, you’ll be the one giving input about what plays you want to put on and how they’re performed. Jeffrey Richards, Performing Arts Industry Essentials contributor and Broadway whose notable productions include Spring Awakening, August: Osage County, and Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America, walks through the role of the Broadway producer.

Watch the full video to learn about:

  •  the impact of the Broadway producer
  •  a breakdown of roles a Broadway production needs
  •  what can you expect when putting together a production

What does a Broadway producer do?

The producer’s job is (1) to make sure all of the non-creative aspects of the show are taken care of, and (2) to protect the investment of the investors by making sure that all of those non-creative aspects are done as economically as possible (so that more money can go into making a good show), and (3) to make sure that each member of the creative team does their job well.

What roles support the Broadway producer?

In many cases, the producer will take a show from the beginning idea and then develop it into something ready for Broadway. They do this by securing rights to a particular play or musical, finding investors, and casting and rehearsing the players who will perform on stage. In addition, the producer often has a hand in marketing and determining when opening night will be.

Then you have a casting director that helps cast the play, though you have ideas of who the leading roles might be appropriate for and who you might wish to secure.

Once you’ve got your talented actors/actresses together, it’s time to begin rehearsals. Depending on how long your play or musical will run (most plays run for about 12 weeks), this could last anywhere from several weeks to several months.

In general, you can expect the following people to be in your production: playwright, director, casting director, finance manager, entertainment lawyer, cast, investors, marketing team, etc. These people will be integral to the production’s success. This is why some producers go above and beyond putting their names on the line. Producing on Broadway is not just about finding the money to mount a production. Many different players are involved, some of whom may never be seen by the public. The more you know about these people and their roles, the better equipped you’ll be for your next job as a producer.

Check out this career guide if you’re interested in all the career opportunities in the performing arts industry. Ready for your next steps? Learn about all the pre-production elements by checking out the Performing Arts Industry Essentials online course.