Theatre Acting Career Facts
Learn what it takes to be a theatre actor. To find out if this career is right for you, learn about the education and training requirements, required skills, and salary information.
What is Theater Acting?
Theater actors learn scripts and develop characters before performing in front of live audiences. Before being offered a part in a play, theater actors might need to audition several times. After they have been offered a role, they might conduct research to better understand their character and develop it. Theater actors work closely with their director and the other actors in order to give the best performance. They adapt to the director’s and/or producer’s suggestions. Theater actors might need to learn new skills or sing in order to perform on the stage.
For individuals interested in pursuing a career as an actor or actress, a bachelor’s degree in drama is recommended but not required. However, it is essential to have key skills such as creativity, perseverance, and dedication. Aspiring actors and actresses can attend workshops and continue to receive training to enhance their skills and increase their chances of success in the industry.
According to job growth projections from 2020-2030, the acting profession is expected to grow by 32%. The median hourly salary for all actors as of 2020 was $21.88.
What education do I need to pursue a career as a theater actor?
Acting does not require formal education. However, many actors and actresses pursue postsecondary degrees. Bachelor’s degrees are available at many universities and private schools of fine arts. These programs typically include both general education requirements and focused studies in acting. You will have many opportunities to audition for school productions as a theatre student to gain experience and improve your resume. Good news – as acting is an art, you will be less likely to need to look for test takers for hire. Bad news – any profession mastering isn’t easy.
Actors and actresses can also pursue advanced degrees in their fields. Many schools offer master’s programs in theater or drama. These programs require high skill and workshop experience, as opposed to a focus on basic education.
What Skills Should I Learn?
Theater acting requires talent, charisma, passion, imagination, and talent. To pursue a career as an actor, you must be committed to the craft and willing to accept financial hardship and rejection. Networking skills are a great asset that will allow you to make connections that can lead to acting opportunities.
What will my work look like?
Acting often entails long, irregular hours. Rehearsals may be very long and take place at night or on weekends. You may be working in a well-furnished setting or one that is very minimalistic. This will affect the work environment for a production. It is expected that you will spend a lot of time crafting your performance, memorizing the sequence of the production and knowing your lines. Acting can be stressful. You may need to do your best and deal with the uncertainty of landing your next role.
Theater jobs are highly competitive. It is possible to start by participating in small productions at your local theaters, or in larger productions at renowned theaters across the country. Building a career in acting is usually a slow process. You will need to take small roles at first and then move on to larger roles. Many theater actors who want to be successful in the industry of acting take part-time work in other industries, while they establish themselves.
What kind of pay can I expect?
Wages for actors and actresses in this field can be very different due to the differences in the salaries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median hourly salary for actors and actresses was $21.88 as of May 2020. The highest salary level that the BLS records salaries at is the top 25%, who earn more than $30.38 an hour. Hourly wages for the bottom 10% of workers were $10.51 an hour or less.
Singing and musicians are closely related careers that don’t require formal education, says RankMyService Blog. They may sing or play instruments. They might perform in front of an audience or record their performances in a studio. A bachelor’s degree is required for film and video editors, camera operators, producers and directors and other entertainment jobs. The editing and adjustment of images by camera operators and film and video editors enhance the storytelling. Produces and directors make the decisions and supervise performing arts productions.