7 tips for performance careers

 29 March 2012

Working in performance does not always provide a constant income. Most artists balance a variety of part-time roles and should always consider sources of future income.

Most artists balance a variety of part-time roles to provide extra income. Image: Diego Andres Spano, clown.
Most artists balance a variety of part-time roles to provide extra income. Image: Diego Andres Spano, clown.

Cultural Enterprise Office, Scotland’s specialist creative and cultural industry service, assists individuals with the development of their business, arts practice and continued professional development. They give seven tips on how to earn a living as a performer.

1. Contact your union

Whether you are an actor, dancer or theatre technician, it is essential to establish and maintain contact with your recognised union, like BECTU or Equity.

By doing so, you will be updated regularly with news, information and opportunities relevant to your sector, especially if you sign up for regular bulletins.

2. Find local support

Source local support for both your practice and for general business issues

It is equally important to source local support for both your practice and for general business issues.

As well as Cultural Enterprise Office, there are numerous organisations across Scotland that provide professional development support.

3. Get connected

Apart from news from your representative body, there are various online forums and notice boards that post job opportunities.

In Getting Connected you will find information regarding networking and online communities.

4. Build your network

Attend as many network events as possible. This is essential to establish new contacts or collaborations which could lead to new work.

5. Develop marketing skills

Actively promote your work to others. The information in the Cultural Enterprise Office's Marketing section will help you to explore how to promote key aspects of your idea or business.

6. Know what's happening in your industry

Actively promote your work to others

Keep abreast of current industry issues in order to enhance your market knowledge.

This could well be the deciding factor of why you are chosen for a position above another candidate.

7. Think about transferable skills

Consider your transferable performance skills and what they could be used for.

How could you make your ‘downtime’ more beneficial? Using it to learn new, or develop existing, skills.


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