Performing arts degrees combine creative talent with practical aspects of self-promotion and arts management. This mix of disciplines is good preparation for entering the world of performance

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Performing artists generally supplement their training, generate opportunities and enhance their creative knowledge through work experience and by participating in voluntary projects. Contact your local community centre or search the internet for details of community projects in your area.

Other options include getting involved with unfunded charitable organisations' projects, or supporting industry professionals in developing their creative process.

Consider organising acting or dance workshops and creative laboratories to expand your art form and apply for funding for self-created art projects. Many dancers and actors start their own companies with a particular art form that they want to explore as the focus.

These unpaid projects or workshops are valuable ways to grow as an artist while creating opportunities for the exchange of ideas and these open forums/performances are often attended by industry professionals.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

The most common employers of performing arts graduates include:

  • local government
  • arts organisations
  • education institutions
  • the National Health Service (NHS)
  • leisure companies
  • voluntary organisations

Short-term or freelance contracts, moving between different fields, generating opportunities through networking, attending auditions, collaborating with other artists and putting on your own shows are all part of a performer's lifestyle.

Performing arts is about how you present yourself. It's important to network at every opportunity and keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. There may be an opportunity for employment in the most unusual places, and by keeping open-minded you will be able to make the most of your individual talents.

Find information on employers in creative arts and design, teaching and education, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

The skills you gain while studying a performing arts degree are valued by all types of employers, for example:

  • confidence
  • self-presentation
  • teamwork and collaboration
  • time management and organisational skills
  • self-awareness
  • self-discipline
  • an open mind and the ability to move beyond boundaries and experiment with different ideas
  • communication skills
  • analytical, critical and research skills
  • the ability to cope with criticism and learn from it
  • stamina.

Further study

You may want to specialise further, learn additional performance skills or do academic research into an aspect of your subject that interests you. Alternatively, you may take a vocational course, such as a diploma in arts administration or a teaching certificate, which will open alternative areas of employment.

Continuing your education while taking the first steps to becoming established can ease the transition from student to professional performer. It also means that the opportunity to take part in student performances and festivals is still open - many dancers, actors and musicians have started their careers through this route.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in performing arts.

What do performing arts graduates do?

15% of these performing arts graduates are working in artistic, literary and media occupations 15 months after graduation. 

Further study5.9
Working and studying9.6
Graduate destinations for performing arts
Type of workPercentage
Retail, catering and customer service23.9
Arts, design and media19.8
Clerical, secretarial, adminstrative11.8
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what performing arts graduates are doing after graduation, see What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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