Job profile

Theatre Manager

Theatre Manager Job Profile

Theatre Manager

 Being a theatre manager isn’t all lights, camera, action; the position will also see you responsible for the smooth running of the theatre, securing funding, building community engagement, managing budgets, and coordinating programme calendars.

A passion for the arts and previous relevant work experience are crucial for budding theatre managers. Typically, you will work your way from smaller venues to larger ones. In smaller venues, you can oversee all aspects of the smooth running; with larger theatres, you may have a more specialised role, such as a role in marketing or finance. 

The ability to lead, manage, recruit, and train teams will make you a desirable candidate, as will your capacity to provide high-quality customer care to ensure theatregoers have an unforgettable and positive experience. You may be expected to pick up admin, advertising, and financial management duties out of the public eye.


Depending on your employer, you may need to:

  • Review, improve and implement business plans.
  • Assist in the commissioning of new plays.
  • Oversee budget and resource management.
  • Create theatre programmes based on audience appeal and the balance of various production types in the current and future programmes. 
  • Notice and champion the work of reputable grassroots production teams.
  • Ensure the theatre programme is in line with the theatre business plan. 
  • Oversee the work of administration, finance, and marketing teams. 
  • Train staff members and look for areas of development.
  • Ensure the theatre complies with health & safety guidelines and licencing laws. 
  • Liaise with the board of directors. 
  • Take an active role in marketing for the theatre and upcoming productions to raise awareness and enhance the image and reputation of the venue. 
  • Network and negotiate with funding bodies, local businesses and charities to secure donations and sponsorships. 
  • Collaborate and communicate with other theatre managers to keep them up to speed on new productions.
  • Encourage engagement within the arts and culture. 


  • The starting salary of a Theatre Manager is £18,000 – £23,000 – depending on location and the size of the theatre. 
  • Experienced theatre managers can earn up to £30,000. 
  • Senior theatre managers in larger theatres can reach up to £50,000.

Working Hours

As theatres don’t operate on a 9-5 basis, theatre managers can expect to work late nights and through the weekend as a typical work schedule. 

Most positions are full-time, especially if employed directly by a theatre company; however, fixed-term contracts are also available for experienced theatre managers, who can also find freelance consultancy work.

What to Expect 

  • Aside from off-site meetings and networking events, your work will largely be based within the venue. 
  • Local and national travel, including overnight stays, may be required.
  • The role carries a lot of responsibility, which some managers can find stressful, especially with the uncertainty of venue income and the prevalence of legislative red tape.
  • Large cities, especially London, provide the most work opportunities; however, smaller-scale community theatre companies up and down the UK may be better for aspiring theatre managers developing their careers. 
  • Many theatre managers see their passion for their role as sacrificing their free time.


With ample hands-on theatre experience and enthusiasm for the arts, you will be highly attractive to employers. However, as the UK has no shortage of cultural enthusiasts, it will also be beneficial to hold a degree; while some employers aren’t overly discerning in terms of degree subject, others will ask you to have a degree in: 

  • Arts management 
  • Arts administration 
  • Drama studies 
  • Theatre studies 
  • Business management

A foundation degree or HND in relevant subjects such as arts in the community, performing arts or theatre studies can also give you an advantage over other candidates.



As a theatre manager, you will need to have: 

  • The ability to communicate well with staff, members of the public and relevant companies, donors, and sponsors. 
  • Leadership abilities. 
  • A business mind to ensure the profitability and sustainability of the theatre.
  • Sharp organisational skills.
  • Marketing skills to ensure the productions sell tickets well and the theatre has a healthy income. 
  • A flexible approach to your workload and responsibilities. 
  • The ability to prioritise different tasks to ensure the smooth running of the theatre.
  • An excellent eye for detail. 
  • The ability to work independently. 
  • The ability to creatively problem solve in a fast-paced and high-pressure environment. 

Work Experience

To stand out from other applicants, your CV will ideally be filled with:

  • Paid or voluntary work at other theatres. 
  • Theatre work involvement through a college or university, such as work shadowing.
  • Arts management experience. 
  • Technical or artistic management of stage productions. 
  • Theatre group membership.

 Passion for theatre is just as important as work experience; while aspiring to further your career, book tickets to as many shows as possible and use your theatre trips as networking opportunities. It will also help to keep up to date on what is happening in the industry on a local and national level.

Career Prospects

Many theatre managers start their careers by working as administration, front-of-house or box office staff members. Marketing executives and technical employees also find theatre management positions attractive after gaining experience.

Once experienced as a theatre manager, the next natural step is to become a general manager; typically, you will need 2- 5 years in your first position to gain enough experience to become a senior manager or manage a larger theatre. 

Your career development will be dependent on experience, skills, and reputation. For example, if you secure rave reviews, develop vital industry contracts, receive awards, or have a track record for success, you will scale the career ladder far faster than the theatre managers that don’t.

To gain additional experience, look for project work and fixed-term contracts related to organising festivals or developing new venues. With enough experience, you could open doors and become involved with cultural development and arts administration.


In the UK, theatre managers can work for repertory theatres, which have a repertoire of plays from a resident production team, and non-repertory theatres, which outsource plays and productions. 

The main employers include dance companies, art centres, national theatres, regional theatres, opera companies, and, of course, the West End theatres in London. 

To search for job vacancies, utilise websites, such as UK Theatre Job Vacancies, The Stage Jobs and Arts Job Finder, or check for adverts on the websites of the individual theatres you want to work for. However, it is worth bearing in mind that many theatre vacancies are filled by word-of-mouth vacancies. 

Furthermore, not all theatre manager jobs will be advertised as such, also search for programme manager, administration manager, general manager and front-of-house manager vacancies.

Related Courses 

International Foundation Programme (Business)

Taught by the School of Business and Creative Industries on the UWS London campus, the one-year Business Foundation Programme is ideal for anyone looking to hone their business management skills before applying for theatre management positions. The course will teach real-world and academic business theory to prepare you for further study or to enter the workforce as a budding business manager. During the course, you will learn about various business sectors, marketing, finance, and human resource management.

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