A CAREER IN THE PERFORMING ARTS
Ever dreamt of making the stage your workplace? A career in the performing arts might be just what you are looking for, but do not let the glitz fool you.
The performing arts are in other words, the arts brought to life. The performing arts include music, theatre, and dance, and the people within performing arts are in the entertainment industry. Before you dismiss a career in the performing arts as a career without prospects, bear in mind that many of the movies, songs, and plays you consume today would not have reached you if you think the former is true. Indeed, a career in the performing arts require talent if you wish to perform, but like all other industries, there are other careers that do not require specific talent. Moreover, talent can only take you so far if you do not have the vision and dedication to match.
Are academic qualifications necessary?
You do not need a degree to “make it big” but an academic qualification will certainly provide you with more opportunities and a richer understanding of the performing arts. There are specialised academic programmes in performing arts that will equip you with historical knowledge of the arts and culture, production management, and classes to sharpen your skills in various performance disciplines. Depending on the discipline of choice, you will learn dramatic writing if you major in theatre or choreography if you are a dance major.
What are other options?
If you are attracted to the industry but rather leave yourself out of the spotlight, you can consider working behind the scenes. Stages need to be set up before performances, and stage managers play an important role in the coordination of both the creative and technical units of a production. Other jobs include wardrobe specialists, set designers, stunt artists, and screenwriters to name a few. Although you may not be performing on stage, you would still need to work closely with the performing team because you are never truly a single unit of your own. For instance, lighting and sound technicians would need cues to create lighting and sound effects so the performing team will have to brief the technical team on the performance routines as well.
Is there anything else that I need to know?
If you perceive this path as the road to fame and fortune, be prepared to face setbacks and competition. You may not get through all of your auditions and even if you do, it may take a while to secure leading roles in a production. You will also likely have to accommodate to the long, irregular hours of practices and rehearsals as every turn, note, or line you make has to be in sync with the rest of your team. In this industry, practice does make perfect. A performer’s career is one that will face the harshest criticism over the smallest of things, so be prepared to take them with a pinch of salt and improve where necessary.
Last but not least, do not let the difficulties of this path intimidate you. Many enter the industry expecting massive returns, but many also find a true appreciation for its craft. There is no guarantee that this career will launch you far and wide, but it certainly demands hard work and determination. If the performing arts is truly your passion, strive to overcome all challenges. Who knows; your dream to perform on Broadway might come true.