Practical and theoretical skills gained through the production and critical analysis of theatre can be applied in a wide range of settings.
Theatre students learn not just through analysis and critical thinking in relation to existing work, but also though doing. This may mean writing original scripts, designing visuals or sounds and music, learning improvisational skills, or mastering a combination of technologies. They can devise and design from an idea to full production, learning to work collaboratively and reflect on their practice. This can include learning about bidding for funding and managing people and resources in theatre productions, under pressure to deadlines: all of which are key aspects of project management.
Roles and career pathways
A pathway for graduates wishing to work in theatre can be to start out in administration, customer service, or as a production assistant, coordinator or intern. Often work in theatre is made up of a portfolio of paid and voluntary roles. Experience can lead to more senior roles such as director, writer and critic. Graduates may work in non-profit organisations, government departments or local government, particularly as education programme advisers, community development coordinators, or in event management or venue management. Graduates may also work in private businesses or consultancies in areas including marketing, communications or content creation. Combining Theatre with another subject in humanities, commerce or science can help increase career opportunities.
A number of Theatre graduates find roles as school and summer camp tutors in New Zealand and overseas and others go on to study a postgraduate teaching qualification. For more information see Teaching.
Where Theatre graduates work
Theatre graduates have worked in the creative sector and a wide range of other fields and contexts including advertising and marketing, communications and media, policy and advice and project coordination in all sectors. Graduates in recent years have found production assistant roles with small production companies in New Zealand and overseas as well as larger organisations such as:
- Ministry of Education
- IR (Inland Revenue)
- Wellington City Council
- JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme)
- Victoria University of Wellington
- Bats Theatre
Build relevant skills and experience
Part-time work and volunteering during study all help to increase your job prospects when you graduate. The WFHSS Internship course run by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences helps develop leadership skills and practical work place experience. Programmes such as Wellington Plus and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience. As part of the Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) programme, some Theatre students do an internship with an arts organisation which provides valuable work experience and connections in theatre production or the film industry.
Make career connections
Alongside volunteering, making connections with individuals and groups during your degree can help you learn more about career and networking opportunities. The Big Idea website is a useful resource for networking and connecting with roles in the creative sector as well as finding out about volunteering opportunities with arts festivals in Aotearoa, such as Kia Mau or NZ Fringe festival. Theatre students can make business connections with other creatives and entrepreneurs through Creative HQ and via a wide range of professional interest groups on Meetup. The Alumni as Mentors programme for final-year students also helps enhance your connections and employability while studying.