The Road to the Stage - Educational Theater Resources

No matter what your age or area of expertise, there are many different opportunities within theater. Whether you sing, dance, direct, or prefer to be the magic behind the scenes it might be just your thing. In the theater, you have to be able to evolve, to learn and to roll with the punches. Check out some of the different jobs involved in theater and learn more about its interesting and diverse history.

Theater Job Positions

Actor (Theatrical)

Job description: To memorize and perform dramatic works for an audience. You will need to demonstrate an array of emotions in order to connect with your character whether you have rehearsed with a drama coach or are reading cold. Most performances are held in the evenings and weekends so your schedule will have to revolve around them.

You may be suited for the job if you are: able to work well under pressure and take direction.

Make Yourself Ready: Ideas for how to prepare yourself to become a successful actor and similar jobs.

Job Duties: Working conditions, what is expected of an actor, and possible courses of study.

Theater Terms (pdf): A glossary of terminology related to acting and stage craft.

Arts Administrator

Job description: To oversee and evaluate the daily operations within a theater.

You may be suited for the job if you are: analytical, time conscientious, and organized.

All About Being An Arts Administrator: Requirements, duties, and possible job titles.

Costume Designer

Job description: To confer with the director and stage manager as to the period setting of the entertainment event. Working within a budget, y ou will then create, buy, or cobble together existing costumes to produce all the costumes for the event. Sometimes you will be able to do this on your own or with a small staff; for giant productions you may be one of many working furiously to mend or make costumes for all the actors involved.

You may be suited for the job if you are: creative, thrifty, and able to think outside of the box.

The Job of a Costume Designer: Learn what a costume designer does plus resources for more information on the same topic.

Drama Teacher

Job description: To instruct students in all possible aspects of the theater from building props and applying stage make-up to acting and the history of theater. You may teach speaking exercises or assess body language skills.

You may be suited for the job if you are: interested in teaching, a jack-of-all-trades, or someone with previous theater experience.

Drama Resources: A list of literature drama teachers could be expected to read, learn, and teach.


Job description: You oversee almost all the people who work in the theater from stage crew and actors to light technicians and costume designers. It is your job to get the theatrical show ready for the scheduled day of presentation.

You may be suited for the job if you are: a take-charge kind of person, patient, and can keep the big picture in mind.

All About Directors: Includes history of directing, expectations of present-day directors, and more.

Job Outlook: US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook for actors, directors, and producers.

A Theater Degree (pdf): Jobs you are qualified for with a degree in theater.

Lighting Technician / Master Electrician / Lighting Designer

Job description: It is your job to keep the all the lighting equipment clean, in working condition, and to plan and execute the lighting during the stage events.

You may be suited for the job if you are: independent as well as someone who prefers working behind the scenes.

Lighting Designer Job: A very detailed posting of a lighting designer job at Carnegie Mellon.

Job Description: Explanations of theater job positions at Harvard.

Technical Director (Manager)

Job description: To oversee the cost, use and care of a theater’s technical equipment including sound, lights, special needs and even the stage itself. While operating within a budget, you will maintain equipment and make repairs as necessary. You will direct and partake in stage construction projects as well as help visiting performers, directors, and their technicians to understand any and all safety and technical aspects within your theater.

You may be suited for the job if you are: independent, time conscientious, and capable of making decisions that require your personal judgment.

Typical Job Timeline: A step-by-step breakdown of what a technical director can expect their job to be like.

Job Responsibilities: The typical duties of a technical director and then some.

Theater Manager

Job description: To manage the box office and oversee the day-to-day operations within the theater. To promote theater events and handle public relations.

You may be suitable for the job if you are: able to multi-task, give and take directions, work efficiently and communicate clearly.

Job Description at Monterey Peninsula College (pdf): Summary of job requirements, examples of functions, and typical knowledge base of a theater manager.

Other theater-related jobs include:

More About Careers In Theater

Career Opportunities in Theater: A list of places to consider applying for work in theater specific jobs.

Skills Needed to Succeed in the Theater: A breakdown of the skills a theater studies major can expect to cultivate.

Theater Education Resources: Details about minors in theater production, performance studies, theater studies and a list of employers and job titles.

Starstruck: Careers in Theater (pdf): Find a place to study theater, jobs in the drama profession, how to market your skills, and building your resume.

Career Center Guide from University of Notre Dame: Helpful advice and overviews of careers in theater, television, and film.

Information for Young Actors

A Primer for Young Actors: Everything an actor should know from recommended reading to building your professional resume.

Stage Acting Tips: Important information young actors should be aware of including superstitions, stage directions, and how to take care of your voice.

Plays for Children: A bibliography of online sources for plays that are suitable for children.

Speech and Drama: Sources to advice on presentation, speaking, acting workshops, and Shakespeare's monologues.

The History of Theater

Broadway History: From 1891 to present-day, Broadway has always offered the newest, biggest, and brightest stars to ever stroll the streets of New York City.

Medieval Theater: Staging, plays, history, and the eventual downfall of medieval theater.

American Theater History: A timeline of American theater.

History of Shakespeare's Theater: A guide to the Globe, Shakespeare's theater.

Alpha Psi Omega: The national theater honor society's history and official website.