Onstage talent may play the leading role in theater careers, but there are plenty of supporting parts for the behind-the-scenes professionals who play a crucial role in ensuring the show goes on. 

Both nonprofit and for-profit theater companies have a need for directors, playwrights, designers, technicians, managers and crew. Strong teamwork and interpersonal skills are required in most theater roles. In addition to creative roles, there are business positions in production, marketing and administration to ensure the seats are filled and the company can continue to operate. 

You can do additional research on this field in the Vault Guide to Theater Jobs

Gaining experience

Start by seeking out coursework and activities offered by the Lewis Center for the Arts, as well as theater groups and productions at Princeton.

Many of the jobs in this field involve working freelance or part-time so you will need to continue to network, search and apply for jobs throughout your career. When starting out, many people working in theater part-time also concurrently work positions in teaching or related fields. 

Hiring process and timeline

Because this field spans multiple types of organizations and roles, there is not a single hiring process or timeline. Many organizations typically hire close to the start date for the position. Identifying organizations of interest and then checking their websites regularly or speaking to alumni who work there will offer insights into their specific recruiting cycles. As with most jobs in the arts, networking is a critical component for finding work.

Examples of job titles and roles
  • Actor
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Playwright
  • Choreographer
  • Stage manager
  • Set designer
  • Theater lighting designer
  • Sound designer
  • Stage crew member
  • Theater marketing
  • Costume designer
Professional organizations and associations

Professional organizations and associations are membership-based groups comprised of people working in a similar field. They can be helpful resources for students to learn more about a field, develop connections and discover related opportunities. You can search for related organizations and associations using a database provided by the Princeton University Library.

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