A drama and theatre producer is someone who creates stage entertainment. The producer is responsible for bringing the play to life from start to finish. Hiring on and off-stage staff, securing a place to perform the play, raising money to put it on, marketing it to its potential audience, and more are all parts of the very complex and busy job of the drama and theatre producer.
1 to 5 years
While there are no specific education requirements to become a drama and theatre producer, it is of enormous help to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in business finance. A minor in theatre is also helpful. These two areas of education will give a beginning producer the skill sets needed to properly produce a play.
The producer of a play is in charge of everything to do with the play, from finding a script to securing a performance space and everything in between. Once a script is acquired, the budget for the rest of the play can quickly be determined from the needs presented by the script. The producer must come up with a budget for each part of the play, secure investors to raise money for the budget, and ensure the production remains within the budget during the entire run of the show.
This requires fine financial skills and the best way to acquire these skills is with a Bachelor’s degree in business finance. Without this degree, a would-be producer can quickly get in over his or her head and create a financial disaster by not being skilled in managing finances.
With a minor in theatre or drama, the prospective producer will more thoroughly understand the nuances of the world of plays. Programs of study in theatre expose students to both on and off-stage work. These are all things a producer will deal with when putting on a play, and it is important to have this knowledge before jumping into the world of creating stage entertainment.
A producer doesn’t want the backstage crew having to tell him or her about the needs of the lighting, sound, costume, or makeup departments. Actors shouldn’t have to instruct on rehearsal schedule needs. These are all things the producer needs to know already, and a theatre minor will provide this through first-hand experience.
Steps to Become a Drama & Theater Producer
- Secure the rights to a script you would like to produce as a play. Beginning producers may want to write their own script and use the money made from producing that script to finance commissioning a script written by someone else later.
- Get investors to contribute money to putting on the play. This is the real catch-22 in becoming a producer. Most investors will only invest money with producers with a history of success. However, it is difficult to get success without investors. This is why bootstrapping it by writing your own script for your first play may help you secure bigger investments for larger-scale plays later. You may also be able to raise money to put on your first play as a beginning producer through crowdsourcing, which is an excellent modern method for getting new artistic projects off the ground.
- Set a budget for the production.
- Hold auditions for actors and hire your top choices.
- Hire backstage crew members.
- Hire a director or decide to direct the play yourself.
- Set the performance dates.
- Set a rehearsal schedule.
- Market the play throughout the community and surrounding areas. Get on radio and TV to talk about it if you can. The more publicity the show gets, the better.
- Be there every night during performances to deal with any problems and make sure things are running smoothing on stage and behind the scenes.
The typical drama and theatre producer makes approximately $68,000 a year. Salary is typically commiserate with how well the play does at the box office. Most producers make a percentage of the profits of the play that is pre-determined before production begins. The better the play performs financially, the more money the producer will earn from that play. Accordingly, producers earn differing amounts of money for each play they produce, as some plays attract larger audiences and run for longer periods of time than others.