Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make a living in theatre. Theatre is a team effort, and troupes require a wide range of professional expertise: acting, directing, sound and lighting design, writing, producing, casting, set design and construction, costume design and production, hair and make-up design, stage management, ushering, and more.

But not everyone wants to be on stage or behind the scenes of performance tech. If you love theatre but don’t want to have an active role in each production (or are getting pressure from your parents to major in something other than theatre!), you’ll love these seven careers that don’t involve performance or tech. You can find even more in’s Theatre at Work series, and the Educational Theatre Association has a list of theatre job openings to get you thinking about the future.

Theatre Careers working from a deskA production can only succeed when people are working on multiple levels. Onstage, offstage, backstage, in the ticket office, marketing the show, in the orchestra pit, and more! You can find careers in the theatre world in these areas and others. 

#1 Theatre Career: Teacher

Your drama teacher not only facilitates your school’s productions but inspires a whole new generation of thespians. With a passion for the arts and a wide base of knowledge about how to plan and run a show, teachers help students develop their skills and grow as artists and creative professionals. And since not all schools have a dedicated drama teacher, you might be able to teach another of your favorite subjects (music, English, biology) and still pitch in with student shows.

#2. Theatre Career: Grant writer

Many troupes are sponsored by arts organizations, who rely on the generosity of sponsors as well as patrons. Grant writers help by crafting convincing pitches to organizations that encourage donations or raise money for specific projects. These wordsmiths articulate their love of theatre and share it with others, while securing the resources a theater needs to keep going.

#3. Theatre Career: Coach

Often, performers will look outside their companies to hone their skills, prepare for an audition, or rehearse for a role. (Maybe you’ve worked with a coach yourself and know just how much of a difference they can make.) Acting coaches, voice teachers, and dance instructors all can provide critical one-on-one training. Some might have expertise in specific skills that’ll help students build their resumes—combat choreography or dialects, for example.

#4. Theatre Career: Physical therapist

Theatre might not be a contact sport, but rehearsals and performances can take a heavy toll on your body. Large productions will sometimes hire medical professionals like physical therapists to work with actors and dancers to keep them healthy (both by treating existing injuries and preventing new ones). Some therapists specialize in dance-related injuries, while others use dance or drama to help rehabilitate clients.

#5. Theatre Career: Orchestra member

Those “in the pit” are, of course, participating in the live show. But they might not be regular parts of a troupe. Touring Broadway shows generally hire local musicians to cut costs, so they could take part in a limited engagement of a show as it comes through their town. Or they work a circuit of local, regional and community theaters, who (like their Broadway counterparts) are always looking for orchestra members.

#6. Theatre Career: Business manager

If you’re detail-oriented and good with numbers, you might be a good fit for this critical role. Business managers make sure the troupe stays afloat financially, creating budgets, wrangling expenses, securing show licenses (and making sure the company abides by them), and generally keeping the lights on. As such, business managers are involved with several parts of the production, from props to costumes to set design.

#7. Theatre Career: Public relations specialist

The cast and crew are putting together an amazing production—and it’s the public relations team’s job to let the world know about it. These creatives develop multimedia plans to advertise a show and attract an audience, incorporating everything from radio spots to social media posts. For example, a company might appear on a local morning news show or march in a parade. (How else do you think Broadway shows get to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?) The public relations staff might also direct outreach to other organizations and nonprofits or arrange for special audiences (like students or senior living facilities) to attend a show at discounted rates.

How Theatre Experience Hones Other Key Skills

Conversely, there are plenty of careers that have nothing to do with theatre and that your time onstage or backstage will prepare you well for. Acting sharpens public speaking skills (useful in a wide variety of professional environments). Light or sound design can impart skills for other kinds of productions and technologies. And work in costume or set design can lead to careers in fashion or architecture, respectively.

And even better? Arts programs and theatre troupes themselves require many of the same professionals as other organizations: accountants, custodians, graphic designers, human resource specialists, website architects, administrators, copywriters, caterers, and more. So even if you pursue one of these other fields, you can come home to theatre by finding an organization that needs your skill set. 

Andrew Koch is a writer and editor from Cincinnati, Ohio. He majored in English and advertising in college but keeps close to theatre by performing in community productions and writing for

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