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Performing Arts

The performing arts sector covers the mediums of acting, dance and music, when they are carried out in front of an audience.

The obvious careers within this profession are those of the performers themselves – the actors, dancers and musicians.

However, there are a host of other people who work behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of a production.

Within music there are also conductors and managers. In dance, choreographers will create routines for the show that they are working on.

There are other unseen people who work in the performing arts profession, and these people fall roughly into two groups: design and backstage.

Those in design look after the costumes, make-up, lighting, sets and props, and sound within the production.

People who work backstage include stage managers and stage crew.

The performing arts industry is a highly desirable one to work in, resulting in tough competition for jobs. It can be long and unsociable hours with performances taking place in the evenings and weekends, and it can be physically demanding.


How to get into performing arts

The paths to a career in the performing arts industry are many and varied. It could start with drama school, where children and teenagers are given a curriculum that covers the required subject spectrum of a rounded education, but which also provides specialisation in a particular performance field.

Alternatively, an undergraduate degree in the desired subject or career is another popular route.

Both of the above usually equip candidates with the knowledge, ability and experience to go to auditions for potential work.

It is possible to get jobs without having studied your chosen subject, however it usually involves a start at the bottom and an even longer, more arduous climb to the top.


Qualifications and experience

To get onto a course relating to the performing arts, a background of strong involvement in music, theatre and dance over a number of years is a must.

This could be in the shape of taking music, dance or drama A-Levels, or through other involvement, such as participating in local drama productions, or the study of a musical instrument through the grades, supported by performances in orchestras, quartets and other groups.

Entrance requirements vary at institutions, however it is common that those candidates interested in a career in performance will have to undertake one or a number of auditions to demonstrate their abilities.


Salary expectations

The average salary in performing arts is £22,000.


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