How to Build a Career

Strategies, Insights, and FAQs for Kickstarting Your Career on Broadway

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How To Find Theatre Related Jobs
Tips When Applying To Jobs Or Internships
Tips For Your Interview
Theatre Lingo
College Training
Additional Resources
Resources for Underrepresented Professionals
FAQs/Other Resources

How To Find Theatre Related Jobs

Like many other jobs in a variety of industries, attending or graduating from a college or university with a degree or concentration is just one of the many possible steps early-career professionals can take in securing their future. Those looking for additional pathways should focus on practicing their craft consistently and working with professionals, whether in an office, agency, rehearsal room, backstage, box office, or in the pit. This can function as an internship, apprenticeship, fellowship, volunteering, assisting, or shadowing. The theatre industry provides more opportunities schedule-wise than other industries due to the wide array of jobs that require you to work at night as well as those that have traditional office hours during the day. View a list of sites and organizations to explore.

Or, if there is a person or company that interests you, it never hurts to reach out to see if they are looking for help (be sure to check their websites before contacting them in case they have already taken the time to upload and update that information). Many people start off their professional careers in theatre working or volunteering at non-profit theatres. Working front of house is a great way to get one’s foot in the door of an organization as well.

Those looking to connect with young professionals like themselves should check out networks or groups such as The American Theatre Wing’s Theatre Intern Network, MTC’s EDI Intern Circle, and regional/local groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.

If you attend college, visit the alumni office to see if there are any alumni networking opportunities or mentorship programs. If not, see if they can point you to someone whom you can invite to coffee or ask for an informational interview.

Tips When Applying To Jobs Or Internships

  • Read all available materials to research an organization or person before writing applying or writing your cover letter. Try to get a good sense of the organization’s goals, culture, what it does, and why.
  • Proofread all materials before submitting them (Do not just rely on spellcheck).Is the name of the person whom you are addressing spelled correctly; is the organization’s name correct?
  • When submitting a resume, make sure you are submitting what they ask of you. If they want an administrative resume, show how the skills you’ve learned for administrative work will lend itself to the opportunity. Also, if they ask for an administrative resume, make sure you aren’t sending an acting resume. Some companies want to see a creative resume, administrative resume, acting resume, etc. so it’s important to check to see what they want and to tailor your resume accordingly. Yes, you will need to have more than one resume, but all should be truthful.
  • Be persistent. It is perfectly acceptable to follow up on the status of an application you have submitted if it has been 2-4 weeks since the submission deadline has passed. Just make sure to check the company or organization’s website to which you are applying and ensure they do not have restrictions on doing so.
  • Similar to staying in contact with those you meet through networking, follow up with previous employers and teachers to update them on what you are doing and what is coming up next for you.
  • Check out Manhattan Theatre Club’s “How to Write a Great Résumé for an Arts Administration Internship” and “Tips for a Successful Interview” for more information.
  • Make sure you say “yes” to every opportunity—not just in the workplace. Always attend industry networking events, seminars, conferences, and productions whenever possible. This is not only a great way to meet likeminded people, but also gives you the opportunity to share your experiences and projects with others.
  • Write an e-mail to your friends, teachers and contacts and let them know what opportunity you are seeking. Sometimes, people find out about job openings before they get posted.

Tips For Your Interview

  • Look clean and presentable.
  • Wear freshly laundered or dry-cleaned clothing without holes and that is related to the position that you are seeking (Do not wear a tuxedo to a carpenter interview).
  • Make lots of eye contact.
  • Be prepared to speak about yourself, your interests and why you would be a good fit for the posted job.
  • Bring your resume with you and any other supplemental materials that might help put you in a good light (photos of other projects you worked on, etc).
  • Be a good listener and do not interrupt the interviewer.
  • Do not have your cellphone on or in your hand.
  • Prepare, in advance, some relevant questions to ask (based on pre-research that you have done or genuine interest).
  • After the interview, send a grateful hand-written note…or, at minimum, an e-mail. If possible, try to make a reference to something that was discussed or happened at the meeting.

Theatre Lingo

  • Union vs. non-union
    • When someone is a member of a union, they are in a group that has its wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment defined in a contract that has been negotiated in good faith between the entity representing their work in their industry (the union) and the employer. Topics covered in such a collective bargaining agreement include minimum wages, vacation/sick leave, retirement contributions, health care, etc.
    • In a non-union workplace, there is no group representation, negotiation or contract.  Agreements on wages, hours, and requirements are not collectively agreed upon. An employee in such a non-union environment can negotiate their own individual terms of employment, but without representation or the support of a larger group. Non-union workers are also unable to work on projects that strictly use union members only.
  • Commercial vs. Non-Profit
    • In commercial theatre, financially, the employer (typically a producer) is concerned with generating revenue for their employees and investors. The success of the business or production is based off of how much money (or profit) they make for selling their service or experience. The employers in a commercial setting are also responsible for communicating information regarding sales and the state of the company to its investors. Funding for commercial productions comes from investments that are regulated similar to how the stock market invests and monitors currency.
    • Not-for-profit theatre companies are organizations that have a mission, vision, and a specific purpose for operating. This purpose is always to benefit its immediate community or the welfare of society. These companies do not have investors. Instead, they have donors who give money or foundations that give grants toward a charitable cause the organization is facilitating or putting into action. Charitable non-profits are known as 501(c)3 organizations. This comes from the organization’s IRS tax code that allows them to be tax-exempt. All income that a non-profit organization makes must be reinvested back into the company. This includes paying employees, program expenses, and other necessities to serve the public.
  • The Road
    • “The Road” refers to any venue outside of New York City’s Theatre District in Manhattan. When somebody uses this term, they could be referring to a theatre five miles from Manhattan or a theatre organization that hosts touring Broadway shows across the country.
  • Additional Dictionaries & Glossaries

College Training

  • 2-Year vs. 4-Year Degrees
  • College vs. Conservatory
  • BA vs. BFA – Theory vs. Practicum
    • The curriculum and training found in a 4-year application-based Bachelor of Arts (BA) program contains courses that center around a student’s performative concentration as well as classes in liberal arts. In order to obtain this type of degree, a student will have to complete more general education courses than they would in a BFA program. A typical day for a student pursuing this kind of degree is spent training and rehearsing in a studio, immediately preceded or followed by courses such as humanities, history, or foreign language. The philosophy behind a BA program is that, in order to strengthen students’ performance abilities, they must have a sound structure of traditional education as a foundation for understanding their craft. These programs also encourage students to find what makes them unique by allowing for more time to explore different courses and extracurriculars that are not related to their specific concentration of performance.
    • A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program focuses strictly on immersing students in their concentration of performance. This audition-based four-year program model provides students with vigorous and professional training in their area of performance. This is often accompanied by workshops with accomplished alumni and other guest artists. A normal day for a student pursuing a BFA will be spent in a studio or in a classroom learning theories and techniques behind their craft. Unlike a BA program, a student pursuing a BFA will not have time outside of their demanding schedule to focus on courses or activities that are unrelated to their area of performance. The philosophy behind a BFA program is that through constant training and exposure to their area of performance only, students will be better prepared for lifelong professional careers in the arts and work well with others who have received similar degrees.
    • For more information on BA and BFA degree models visit:
  • To Masters or Not to Masters
  • Unifieds
    • National United Auditions (Unifieds) are musical theatre auditions held for several undergraduate BFA programs and conservatories at one time in cities across the country. Currently, Unifieds are held in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. For a full list of the universities and conservatories participating in Unified, visit the Universities page on their website.
  • Scholarships
    • It is important to remember that when budgeting for a degree in higher education, there are more opportunities to gain financial assistance aside from what a university offers or what is federally provided by the government. To learn more about applications for theatre-based scholarships, visit the links below.

Additional Resources

Resources for Underrepresented Professionals

FAQs/Other Resources