Theatre producers are the backbone of any production. They not only bring a show to fruition, but also ensure the production's success because they remain available for the entire run, solving problems that inevitably arise. Theatre producers should be well-connected, knowledgeable and thrive under pressure.
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Theatre producers are charged with every aspect of initiating a production. They manage the business end, responsible for many financial and administrative duties. They secure funding, establish and oversee budgets, choose venues and determine ticket prices. Upon selection of a script, producers hire directors, designers, technicians and performers. They oversee the administrative staff of a theatre company and develop a number of marketing and advertising strategies.
Education and training
There are no specific education requirements for theatre producers. They come from a variety of backgrounds -- from actors and directors to business managers. Yet, many often obtain degrees in arts management. The Producer's Perspective website recommends taking a variety of theatre courses like directing, acting and design to get more familiar with the different aspects of a production. Similarly, the producers often start their careers in a theatrical management office, working for a press agent, managing director, or business manager.
Theatre producers must be business-minded, detail-oriented, creative, well-organised and able to successfully maintain and oversee a number of different projects simultaneously. They must work well in a collaborative environment, communicate effectively and be motivators. They must possess excellent leadership skills and a complete understanding of the theatre business and its people.
Considerations and potential
To succeed you need total commitment to the business because competition for theatrical jobs is quite stiff. Also, aspiring producers, actors and directors often go considerable lengths of time before acquiring a job. Though the number of aspiring theatre professionals is quickly rising, many will leave the field early due to competition and lack of consistent work and sustainable income.
The median annual wages of producers was £41,879 in 2008. The middle 50 per cent earned between £27,228 and £68,295. However, this figure varies greatly upon the producer's experience, size of the production company, ticket prices and the show's success. Producers usually get a percentage of a show's profits or ticket sales rather than a set salary.