Theatre jobs abound even if production doesn’t seem like the right fit. Professional theatres operate in nearly every major city in the U.S., and New York City is rich with theatrical operations. Arts administrators typically work in nonprofit organizations (and enjoy perks like free tickets!). Think of them as being behind the scenes in a vital less visible way!

The Theatre Communications Group concluded recently that nonprofit theatres around the U.S. contributed about $2.8 billion to the economy and employed 145,000 artists, technical production staff and administrators in 2019. About 16 percent of that workforce was administrators. So, what kind of work is performed in administration? Many theatres employ positions you’d see in any company — IT, human resources, and accounting — but let’s take a look at jobs that are unique to the theatre industry. 

Theatre Jobs for Artistic Leadership

What productions should be featured on stage? What should the forthcoming season look like? How is the institution contributing to the theatre industry? These are the questions that artistic leaders consider in their role. They’re often the “face” of the theatre, as their perspective and approach guides each season’s work. They usually work with literary managers and artistic associates to stay on top of industry news, events, and trends. Many of them may direct productions as well. They’re responsible for representing the theatre and for cultivating relationships with artistic leaders at other theatres and community institutions.

Management Theatre Jobs

Budgets and contracts and salaries, oh my! A theatre can’t run without general management to oversee its day-to-day operations. General or executive managers deal with all things business- and accounting-related. That includes negotiating contracts (with artists, staff, agents, publishers, and licensing houses), understanding union regulations, overseeing the theatre’s budget, and ensuring that the theatre operates efficiently. They’re responsible for making sure each department and each production adheres to institutional, financial and legal guidelines. They often work closely with artistic leadership — and they’re usually the one who signs everyone’s checks.

Theatre Jobs Devoted to Development

The majority of professional theatres function as nonprofit organizations rather than commercially driven entities. That means they stay in business through sponsorships, donors, and grants in addition to ticket sales. Development raises the funds and capital that theatres need to survive and thrive. They lead fundraising campaigns for specific projects, and they maintain relationships with members of the theatre’s board of trustees. Robust development departments typically employ positions that are specific to individual giving, institutional giving, donor engagement, and grant writing.

Marketing in the Theatre

How does the work onstage, behind the scenes, and in schools reach the public? Marketing folks work to “get butts in seats.” They communicate directly with the theatre audience, single-ticket buyers, season subscribers, and potential attendees. Through public relations, they stay connected with news outlets and media figures to promote productions and the theatre as a whole. With fast-evolving nuances in digital media, marketing departments often employ social media strategists, data-driven associates, multimedia designers, web developers and video content creators.

Ticketing Services & Front-of-House Staff

Once the public has been engaged and they’re ready to see a show, who do they contact for tickets and who do they call if they have questions? Ticketing services! They assist with purchases, subscriptions, seating questions, accessibility needs, and general information. They might also be responsible for selling merchandise and gifts. Front-of-House staff works before, during, and after the performances on site. They usually sell concessions, tend bar, hand out show programs, and make sure audiences are seated in time for the show to begin.

Education & Engagement as a Theatre Job

Theatre has long had an educational component, providing students with artistic and cultural programming. Education professionals interpret the stories of the productions and create lessons and workshops that coincide with performances. Sometimes they provide in-class learning opportunities to supplement students’ curriculum. Education departments often integrate community engagement as well by hosting talk-back discussions, dramaturgical presentations, and interactive events that directly engage the public. 

Theatre arts administrators come from all walks of life. Some of them have theatrical training and performance experience, and some just share an interest in the arts. Some administrators may not have any experience with the medium at all! What unites them all is a dedication to theatrical institutions. 

Natalie Clare is a Cincinnati-based writer who composes original content for brands, organizations, and publications. As a storyteller, she writes fiction and nonfiction, and she directs and produces works of film. Visit her at

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