Developing your career as a Performing Arts student or graduate -six questions to ask yourself.

I recently attended a training event focusing on careers within performing arts. The workshops were really thought-provoking and I thought it might be useful to share some of the insights I gained:

If you’re a Performing Arts student or graduate thinking about your next move, here are six questions to ask yourself:

1. What transferable skills do you have right now?

You may have demonstrated your work ethic by working under pressure, overcoming problems positively and making quick decisions to put on a performance or an event. Your flexibility, adaptability and ability to cope with uncertainty together with your social sensitivity enable you to engage with a wide variety of audiences, communities, learners, clients, organisations and multi-disciplinary professionals.

2. Which settings do you thrive in best?

Do you prefer to work with young people in the community, in an educational setting or in a theatre? Have you explored working with adults with learning disabilities? How about using your skills with offenders? Or in organisations to help people work more effectively together? What about considering working in a health setting? Do you prefer an audience-facing role or a management support role?

3. Who is in your network?

Do you follow theatre companies and artists on Twitter? Do you tweet Directors? How are you marketing yourself to your various networks? Have you a professional profile on Facebook or on LinkedIn?

4. Are you plugged into funding channels or connected with charities, the Arts Council or private donators? Do you know how to write a funding bid?

5. Are you a Creative Performer (you are what you do?) or a Creative Interpreter (a seller of your creative products?) or both? Are you a Creative Entrepreneur?

You will be working autonomously and collaboratively in a 24/7 environment. Have foresight as to what is coming next and start working out what you want to do now. Be prepared to take unusual steps to get where you want to go, build your external networks and become a “creative migrant”, moving around to gain experience. You may feel a little anxious as you step into the unknown, but the stamina and resilience you’ve developed on your course will keep you positive and confident.

6. Have you considered the less obvious roles?

The arts development aspect of the industry is currently expanding. Innovative funding solutions and tight resource management will ensure this sector continues. So, consider some less obvious job roles to start off your creative journey: Creative Education, Audience development, Marketing and communication, Community engagement, Programmer, Producer, Arts Co-ordinator, Youth Arts Assistant. Have a look at Ideas Tap network to see what opportunities might be out there for you.

Rebecca, Career Consultant

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