Career Options for Theatre Arts Majors:
UW-Parkside Prepares You for Careers in the Theater and Beyond
A Theatre Arts degree from UW-Parkside can help prepare you for many career opportunities in professional live theater production and/or performance as well as other related careers in the diverse artistic and entertainment industries. The theatre program at UW-Parkside includes a comprehensive study in all aspects of theater, opportunities for professional BFA-level concentrations, practical experience professional production, extensive internship opportunities, and a solid background in the liberal arts. Our primary goal is to help you achieve your highest personal potentials – academically, artistically, personally, and socially.
UW-Parkside offers a traditional bachelor of arts degree in theatre arts as well as professional BFA-level concentrations in the areas of acting, musical theatre, direction and management, design and technology, theatre education, and arts administration. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality training and experience for our students who dream of a professional career in the theatre. We believe it’s our duty and responsibility to provide you with the theatrical knowledge, skills, collaborative spirit, and professional connections needed for success in your chosen field of theatre after graduation.
Theatre Arts is also a great major for those who do not necessarily dream of a career in the theatre. In many ways theatre is the ultimate liberal arts major – and can help to prepare you for an almost endless range of careers following graduation. Most professional occupations today require a college educated individual who can write and speak well, solve problems, learn new information quickly, utilize technology, and work well with others on a team to solve creative challenges. A major in theatre arts prepares students well for an amazing variety of collaborative, creative, people-oriented careers.
In recent years, the majority of UW-Parkside Theatre majors have chosen careers in theatre after graduation. Approximately 40% of our recent graduates have entered theatre graduate programs in order to earn their Master of Fine Arts degrees (MFA) or Doctorates (Ph.D.) in Theatre. UW-Parkside theatre graduates have been very successful in getting accepted to the finest graduate programs in the nation – often with generous scholarships and stipends. Approximately 30% of our recent graduates have done professional theatre internships and apprenticeships in their senior year or immediately after graduation. Professional theater apprenticeships often include a stipend and housing and are excellent transitional training resources. The remainder of our graduates directly enter the professional work world, either at theatres or some other related field where they can apply their skills and talents. We currently have a graduate placement rate of over 95%.
Here’s a sampling of theatre-related careers that UW-Parkside graduates have chosen:
- Actor: Brings life to the written word and action of the text either on stage or on film
- Artistic Director: Selects plays for the theatre season, hires artistic staff, and sometimes participates in fund raising
- Box Office Manager: Oversees reservations and sales of tickets for current and future productions
- Business Manager: Controls the money, deals with budget development and allocation, sets ups accounts with vendors
- Choreographer: Creates and teaches the dance and/or stylized movements for the production
- Costume Designer: Designs all costumes for the production
- Costume Shop Supervisor or technician: Deals with all aspects of costume creation, including design assistance, cutting, draping, patterning, stitching, and shop management and maintenance
- Drama Coach: Works individually with an actor either to develop generic acting skills or to prepare for a specific role
- Dramaturge: Conducts research and text analysis for a production
- Director: Interprets the script and determines the specific vision of a production. Oversees the rehearsals and elements of design to insure adherence to that vision
- Fight Director: Specializes in choreographing and carefully teaching safe fight sequences in productions
- House Manager: Oversees ushers and ticket takers and all front-of-house operations
- Lighting Designer: Designs & draws up the lighting for the production / Establishes light looks, levels and cues
- Make-up Artist: Designs, creates and oversees all the makeup for the production
- Master Carpenter: Oversees other carpenters working on the production. Determines all construction plans and materials
- Master Electrician: Ensures that lighting equipment is maintained, hung, focused and run according to written & verbal instructions of the designer
- Musical Director: Oversees all rehearsals and may conduct the musicians and rehearse the actors who have singing parts
- Playwright: Creates the script
- Producer: Secures financial backing and venue for the performance, and hires the production staffing
- Production Manager: Coordinates production schedules and administrative / logistic details of the multi-show theatrical season
- Pyrotechnician: Designs, sets up and executes the fireworks display or other pyro effects
- Recording Engineer: Design the recording of the music and/or sound effects with levels, effects or other processing
- Rigger: Hangs objects in the fly space above the stage. This may be sound equipment, lights, scenery, or special effects
- Scenic Designer: Designs the scenery and props. Supplies all drawings, sketches, models and water paintings of the set concept
- Scenic Painter: Facilitates the scenic designer's ideas and brings them to life on the backdrops or actual set pieces
- Sound Designer: Creates the overall design of the sound system from choice of microphones to placement of speakers, types of live or recorded effects and/or music that may be needed for the production.
- Special Effects Designer: Creates the effects used in a production from trap doors to puppetry to break away furniture and more
- Stage Crew: Run the back stage area; do the scene shifts of sets and props, etc.
- Stage Manager: Oversees all performance-related aspects of a production from pre-audition planning and research through rehearsal and performance to closing. Acts as liaison between director, performers, designers, technicians and administration
- Technical Director: Oversees the scene shop, construction of scenery, movement and installation of scenery, and ordering of materials. They are considered a "jack-of-all-trades"
- Technician: Operates and/or maintains materials in the theatre or tour world
- Theatre Consultant: A person whose knowledge is used to give suggestion and ideas in how to setup, specify or oversee installation of equipment in theatres
- Theatre Critic: A person who writes reviews of a show for newspapers, magazines or other media
- Theatre Teacher/Educator: Teaches classes in the field of theatre at either the K-12 or college level
- Vocal Coach: A person who helps actors with vocal issues such as projection, articulation, breath control or dialect in relation to a specific character
Here’s a sampling of non-theatre careers that many theatre graduates have chosen:
Media Planner, Computer Design Specialist, Salesperson, or Personality , Customer Service Manager, Human Relations Specialist, Human Resource Specialist, Conflict Mediator, Public Relations Specialist, Admissions Director, Recruitment Officer, Development Officer/Fund Raiser Advertising/Marketing Specialist, Model, Movie Theater Manager, Amusement Park Entertainer, Equipment Operator Facilities Manager, Negotiator/Mediator, Announcer, Theatre News Correspondent, Trial Lawyer or Paralegal, Art Director or Arts Administrator, Health Educator, Booking Manager, Entertainment Producer, Broadcast Journalist, Personal or Program Assistant, Business Manager, Buyer, Labor Relations Specialist, Public Affairs Officer Public Relations Specialist, Communication Technology Specialist, Community Affairs Officer, Lobbyist, Radio/TV Announcer, Copy Writer, Recruiter, Sales Representative, Exhibit/Display Designer, Teacher, Student Affairs Specialist Theater Manager, Ticket Sales Coordinator, Special Events Coordinator, Tour Guide, Talent Manager, Tourism Program Director, Talent Scout, Training & Development Specialist, Draftsman, Interior or Fashion Designer, Writer/Editor – plus countless other careers dealing with human relations, communication, collaborative teamwork, and creative problem-solving.