Nearly all theatres have an artistic director who makes the major creative decisions for the organization. This person works with an artistic team comprised of producers, literary staff, and associate artistic directors to decide what a theatre will produce. They have to be deeply familiar with the kind of art a theatre focuses on, whether it's musical theatre or edgy new works. Artistic directors see a lot of theatre and read many plays to determine the type of work their company should produce. Some artistic directors have a background in directing or producing, and many studied some form of theatre in college. This is a very specialized field, and artistic directors often get started early by forming their own theatre companies while still in school, both to practice running a company and to help develop their artistic taste.
About the Video: Jon Lawrence Rivera, Artistic Director of Playwrights' Arena
What does it mean to run a theatre company? Artistic Director Jon Lawrence Rivera, who heads Playwrights’ Arena, talks about the day-to-day responsibilities—which range from working closely with artists to liaising with the organization’s Board of Directors—of his job. He also shares his journey from immigrating to the U.S., training as an actor, and deciding to start his own company in 1992.
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