You want the best of both worlds: the creativity and excitement of working in the arts—with some financial stability. Hybrids have a part-time or full-time job with one theatre, school, or other organization, but also have the freedom to take on additional contracts or projects. Examples are lighting and sound technicians, some stage managers and directors, costume technicians or wardrobe professionals, teaching artists who work with schools or organizations, theatrical publicists, or social media marketers.
For example, a lighting designer (an independent artist) may work directly with a theatre's resident lighting technician (a hybrid, who is employed by the theatre). After the production ends, the lighting designer leaves the theatre to find a new project, while the resident technician begins working with a new lighting designer on the next play in the theatre's season. While the technician has a steadier job and is still very close to the artmaking process, they do not choose which projects to work on and do not have the same level of creative input as the designer.
Every theatre is different, but many larger theatres have a variety of hybrid artists working for them—either as independent contractors, paid on a per-project basis, or as employees, who get a regular paycheck. A hybrid who is working a great deal for a particular theatre might be offered benefits such as health insurance through that organization instead of having to purchase these benefits separately as independent artists do.
Some hybrids who work in production, such as wardrobe professionals, scenic carpenters, and stage managers, choose to join specialized unions. For example, many of the technical professionals who work in Center Theatre Group's theatres belong to IATSE Local 33, the Los Angeles branch of the Stage Technicians Union. Unions protect independent artists from unfair or unsafe working conditions and often offer benefits such as affordable health insurance, financial services, and job boards.
Although most hybrids attend college, professional experience is also highly valued in these career paths. Internships, apprenticeships, and other hands-on learning experiences are common, and can help build job skills while introducing you to working professionals. Most hybrids have a bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of fine arts (BFA) college degree, whether in their field or in another subject. Some professionals in very specialized areas such as technical direction or production management choose to get an advanced degree such as a master’s degree in their field as well.
Interested in one of the bold areas of theatre below? Check out related job options you might enjoy as a Hybrid!
If you’re curious about careers in theatre and wondering which ones might be right for you, we’ve created a quick quiz to help you think about the type of job you might want within the arts and what kind of lifestyle and education that career path requires.Take the Quiz