Artistic director

,  3 October 2012

The artistic director makes sure their theatre is putting on the kind of shows that fit with the artistic aims of the organisation.

It is the artistic director's responsibility to take the theatre in a direction that people will want to engage with.
It is the artistic director's responsibility to take the theatre in a direction that people will want to engage with.

As the artistic director of a theatre, you have an important role. You might be the most senior creative member of staff.

Your job is to coordinate all the aspects of the plays your theatre is putting on, and keep the sponsoring group or board of directors who fund the theatre updated.

On a day-to-day basis, you could be:

  • choosing the plays that will run at the theatre
  • looking after the theatre’s budget
  • hiring directors for future plays
  • consulting with an existing director to develop the content of a play
  • scheduling productions
  • attending meetings to oversee the day-to-day running of the organisation.

More than just working with people within the theatre community, you would also have to deal with the public and with funding bodies.

It is the artistic director's responsibility to take the theatre in a direction that people will want to engage with, and stay in touch with what types of plays people in the community want to see.

How do I become an artistic director?

It takes a lot of hard work to become an artistic director. Many people reach the position later on in their careers, having worked in different roles in theatre, such as directing or managing theatre.

Alternatively, you could set up your own theatre company. This is a bold step, and you should have made sure you can raise the money and resources to do it successfully.

It is the artistic director's responsibility to take the theatre in a direction that people will want to engage with.

Your company should also be able to contribute something to theatre that isn't already on offer in your area.

Larger theatre organisations require experience of management, and may also prefer you to hold a degree in an arts subject, such as English or theatre studies.

You need to involve yourself in the running of arts centres and theatres as much as you can, even if you start out by simply asking to shadow people, or volunteer at the box office.


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