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When people think of a theatre, they are likely to picture the red velvet tiered seats facing a large stage with red curtain and extreme down-lighting. Yet people can associate the term 'theatre' with any kind of live dramatic performance, be it a traditional play, opera, musical or dance production. Certainly the theatre, as a career path, can provide many more job opportunities than just acting or directing.
The theatre industry in the UK is admired throughout the world for its quality and creativity. People all over the world know that the UK has excellent standards of plays, actors and performances which are largely unrivalled. Theatre provides many options for those who have a creative or performing talent or are simply interested in theatre as a whole.
Theatre is worth around £2.6 billion annually, which doesn’t even include touring or non-building based theatre companies. There are approximately 541 theatres across the UK but a study done by Visit Britain found that London is the most popular destination for theatre outings, with the capital attracting 2.2 million theatregoers in 2009.
Theatres can include musicals, plays, comedy shows and other types of entertainment. This is a career path ideal for people who are interested in drama and entertaining, not just on stage, but behind the scenes also. Many people are involved in putting together a theatrical production of any type.
Job roles can be split into the performers, the production teams and the administrators. For all roles, a background in drama or performing arts is beneficial, whether in school theatre productions or with an amateur dramatics company.
There are various types of qualifications that can be taken, at drama academies or performing arts schools, but typically experience and talent is given precedence over academics.
The theatre industry offers a huge variety of opportunities for all kinds of talents and backgrounds, but a majority of the workforce within this sector work on a freelance basis. Actors, playwrights, entertainers, comedians, choreographers and circus performers all need to have a special talent and a certain amount of luck in order to get noticed and get work. In some cases, professions in this career path may not always provide enough financial stability. However, with talent, hard work and enthusiasm, the theatre could provide great career prospects.