There are many people who are employed in the theater industry. Clearly, there are many obvious jobs such as the actors and the actresses. But there are plenty of other posts that need to be filled to ensure that there is a successful production. A brief look at just the actors does not reveal the complexities of what is required to produce a performance. The people who will claim the headlines are the headline acts, but each performance relies on much larger casts and there are many performers who will never lead a main part yet will manage to sustain a career in theatre by playing small parts.
Many of these small-part actors will often play more than one role in a show. This is particularly the case where there is a very large cast, with some performers taking the responsibility of two or three smaller parts.
The quality of the cast’s performance will often depend on how they look. The wardrobe department’s ability to provide the appropriate costumes is vital, and the final looks are completed by the make-up department. The make-up artists are responsible for the final appearance of the cast and the very best are highly sought after. One of the most frustrating roles in theatre is the person who is the understudy. Their job is to cover for the lead actor in case of emergency when they cannot perform the show. In order for the show to go on, there must be someone in place who can take the part at a moment’s notice and know the script perfectly.
This is, of course, one of the most underappreciated roles in theatre, but it has led to the emergence of people who have gone to pursue star studied careers. In 1967 Sir Laurence Olivier fell ill during the performance of the “Dance of Death” and his replacement, Anthony Hopkins, went on to cover for several weeks. The success of his performances helped to launch his successful career.
The shows are written by script writers and they will invariably remain on the scene for a long period of time making adjustments as the shows progress. They work closely with the directors and the cast to seek how the script is being received by the audiences.
If a performance is unsuccessful, then the people who are likely to receive the most criticism are the directors and their assistants. They are responsible to the content of the performance and they are in charge of hiring and the firing of the cast as they search for the magic formula that will produce a hit performance. The day to day performances are often dependent on the concentrations levels of the prompter. Nowadays this responsibility is given to the stage manager and, when one of the cast forgets their lines, they will be reminded by the prompter who will be following the performance from the back stage.
The stage manager has a huge role, as he is the person who co-ordinates all the changes in the different acts. These changes in scene are performed by the back stage of crew who move different articles around the stage, but it is imperative that they put in the correct position.
Modern technology has seen the lights and the sound areas being developed and the amount of investment in them is vast. The technicians in charge of these areas have huge influence in the quality of the show that is produced. These people are highly trained, and the best technicians are, of course, needed in the best theatres around the world.
The set designers are also well paid and highly regarded. The ability to bring a scene to life is not only in the hands of the cast, but also the way the stage is set out as well as the design and the building of the set. Much of this work is done away from the theatre and, once the builders and artists have done their work, the finished stage is transported back into the theatre. Many different types of employment can be found in the theatre.