“The opportunities that I’ve had on P.E.I. have been amazing. Just knowing that there are people people watching fills me up with sparks. You can’t describe the high that comes with being on the stage.” – Rebecca Parent, Actor & Theatre Professional
If the stage is calling you, you’ve no doubt dreamt of working in the theatre. Whether you’re in front of the lights or behind the scenes, there are many opportunities to make a living creating and staging productions. At any given time and in every city in Canada, a local or national theatre company is staging a play or musical for the audience’s enjoyment. Many actors and theatre professionals work other ‘joe jobs’ at times, but most are able to make a good portion of their living from theatre work. It takes a lot of different roles and skills to bring a play or musical to the stage, so many people passionate about the theatre find themselves learning how to write, produce, direct and light performances. Don’t know where to start? There are post-secondary programs on P.E.I. and across Canada that can teach you the skills you need to thrive in the industry. Most people in the theatre are passionate about what they do and about helping others succeed too – the local arts community will be there to support you as you continue to grow and succeed in the theatre.
Actor, Musical Performer, Writer, Producer, Director, Lighting Technician, Audio Technician, Drama Teacher
OTHER JOB OPTIONS
TV and Film Actor, TV and Film Producer, Creative Director, Arts Journalist
Holland College School of Performing Arts, Theatre Performance Program | University of Prince Edward Island, Theatre Arts Minor
Act PEI is an organization the promotes community theatre. Reach out to them, along with the Island Media Arts Co-op, to find opportunities to connect with other actors and theatre professionals on P.E.I.
LET'S TALK MONEY
$28,219/year (Canada-wide average) [Source: Hill Strategies 2010], many actors supplement their income with other part-time work.
Theatre Production – $55,069/year (Canada-wide average) [Source: Hill Strategies 2010]
GET TO BUSINESS
Skills in marketing and social media promotion will help you get your name out there, increasing your fame and likliness of being hired to perform in productions. Many theatre professionals work on a freelance basis – skills in accounting and business management will help you manage your money and opportunities effectively.
EXAMPLE PATH TO SUCCESS
Reach out to your high school’s drama department and sign up for performing arts classes. If you’d like to hone your craft outside of school, many community centres also have drama classes. You can then apply to a theatre arts program at college or a university. There you’ll learn the ins and outs of writing, producing and acting while making connections in the theatre community. After graduation, get an agent to help you get auditions for theatre gigs. Contracts pop up all over the country in productions big and small, and each of these will provide a new opportunity to travel, perform and make money doing it. At the same time, write your own play or musical and apply for grants or theatre companies to help get it made, eventually staging your own work at festivals across the country and the world.