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
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Community arts worker
- Music producer
- Music therapist
- Theatre director
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Arts administrator
- Broadcast presenter
- Film director
- Further education teacher
- Higher education lecturer
- Secondary school teacher
- Special effects technician
- Talent agent
- Theatre stage manager
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
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.
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.
Skills for your CV
The skills you gain while studying a performing arts degree are valued by all types of employers, for example:
- teamwork and collaboration
- time management and organisational skills
- 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
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 up 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.
What do performing arts graduates do?
Three of the top four jobs held by graduates employed in the UK include actors, entertainers and presenters, arts officers, producers and directors and dancers and choreographers.
|Working and studying||4.7|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Arts, design and media||36.8|
|Retail, catering and bar work||21.6|
|Marketing, PR and sales||5.6|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||5.3|
For a detailed breakdown of what performing arts graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.