Drama therapist
alternative broadway careers

Drama Therapist: Alternative Broadway Careers

Welcome back to Musings About Musicals’ weekly series, Alternative Broadway Careers. This week, we will be discussing a career that is certainly unique and different from other theatre-related careers: drama therapy!

1. How Do I Get This Job?

First, you’ll need one of two things. You may choose to get a master’s degree in Drama Therapy from an accredited school, according to the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA). Or, if you have an existing master’s degree in something else, such as theatre or a mental health profession, or are in the process of getting one, you can go through NADTA’s Alternative Training Program. Either of these paths will lead you to becoming a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT).

2. What is This Job Like?

Drama therapy is a form of therapy that uses theatre techniques to achieve mental health goals. So, for example, a drama therapist may work with their client using roleplaying, whether using a script or improvisation. Or maybe a drama therapist will do projective play with a toy or prop to help their client express their feelings. These processes are intended to help the client express themselves and tell their stories, while also giving them a way to solve their problems, boost their confidence and perhaps even experience catharsis.

3. What Skills Do I Need?

A drama therapist requires the same caring and patience a regular therapist requires. But a drama therapist naturally will also need knowledge of theatre, as well as a lot of creativity. They need strong communication skills as well as a lot of emotional strength – being a therapist is certainly not an easy job.

4. Where Can I Get More Information?

The best place to get information is the NADTA website. This website will give you essentially everything you need to know. Or, if you are UK based, you can check out the NHS website instead. There are plenty of resources that are just a Google search away!

This is Part Three in Musings About Musicals’ Alternative Broadway Careers series. CLICK HERE for Part Two: Theatre Management.

theatre management
alternative broadway careers

Theatre Management: Alternative Broadway Careers

Welcome back to Musings About Musicals’ weekly series, Alternative Broadway Careers. This week, I want to discuss a career that is on the business side of things that can be very grueling but also very rewarding – theatre management!

1. How Do I Get This Job?

Many colleges and universities offer a four-year degree in theatre management. In some cases, you may need a master’s degree as well, whether an MFA or MBA. Post-graduation, you will likely need to work your way up doing entry level work for theatres, like as a secretary. You’ll also want to have experience in other theatre fields, as it will be extremely beneficial to know everything you can about not only acting and technical things, but also important aspects of theatres such as marketing and fundraising. Some theatre managers worked their way up to this job through other production-related jobs.

2. What is This Job Like?

As I said above, this work is can be long and difficult. As a theatre manager, you will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of a theatre. Depending on the size of the theatre, this could include overseeing marketing techniques, finances, special events planning and of course administration. You may also need to hire and train the staff of the theatre. Essentially, as the theatre manager, you are responsible for the daily operations of the theatre as well as planning out long-term strategies. So basically you’re the deciding factor in whether your theatre succeeds or fails. Sound intimidating?

3. What Skills Do I Need?

A theatre manager has to be very skilled in many different fields. Naturally, you will need excellent organization skills and communication skills. Being in charge of finances means you’ll need accounting skills as well. You’ll need strong analytical skills and of course, creativity is always a necessity in any theatre field. But most importantly, a theatre manager needs patience. With all the many responsibilities, it’s important to be able to stay calm and focused while you are facing immense pressure.

4. Where Can I Get More Information?

Here is a list of colleges that offer theatre management programs. It has tons of great information and you can always reach out to the individual schools for more. Another great way to find out more is to reach out to your local theatre, or maybe a theatre you want to work at, and see if you can speak with their manager. They’ll probably have a lot of great, specialized advice and you can see if this career track may be right for you!

This is Part Two in Musings About Musicals’ Alternative Broadway Careers series. CLICK HERE for Part One: Theatrical Public Relations.

theatrical public relations
alternative broadway careers

Theatrical Public Relations: Alternative Broadway Careers

Plenty of people love theatre, but not everyone wants to be a performer. And that’s okay! There are other careers in the theatrical world that can connect you to the industry you love without having to set foot on a stage. In this series, I will discuss alternative careers in the arts for those who love theatre. The first post will be my personal favorite – theatrical public relations!

I recently graduated from college with the intent of going into public relations for Broadway shows. As you may have guessed, that dream is temporarily on hold. But I wanted to share my experience in the field.

1. How Do I Get This Job?

Securing a good internship (or two or three) is definitely the key in this field. I started off doing marketing for the New Jersey Renaissance Faire. Then, I did PR and marketing for State Theatre New Jersey, where I had the time of my life! After that, I started applying to bigger firms actually in New York City, but unfortunately lockdown hit. You don’t need to work in New York, of course. Check your local theatres to see what their press department is like!

2. What is This Job Like?

Depending where you are, this job could entail many different things. For example, if you’re based in New York, you’ll probably be assembling press kits for Broadway shows, drafting press releases to send to journalists and pitching stories to the media to best promote your clients. The goal of a publicist is to generate as much buzz for their clients as possible. They share information about the show including opening dates, cast changes and special events. Press agents have to be able to adapt to what the show needs, but also keep reporters interested.

Increasingly, nowadays, you may see publicists expanding and going more into social media, which has become an important way of getting people interested in shows. You might find this in theatres outside of New York as well. These theatres don’t have Broadway money, so their staff is more likely to do more of everything. So while a Broadway show can hire an expert PR team, your local touring house or regional theatre probably has their own in-house team that, alongside PR, also handles social media and marketing as well. This is what I did at State Theatre New Jersey – while I drafted press releases, I also was involved in social media posting and writing blog posts!

3. What Skills Do I Need?

The most important part of publicity is being a good writer. All press agents do is write, whether they are creating a new press release or drafting a pitch to a reporter. Your writing needs to be instantly captivating, and it needs to stand out from the dozens of other pitches reporters receive every day. Communication skills are also massively important. You need to have excellent planning and organizing skills. But you also need a ton of creativity. You’ll need to figure out the best way possible to make your clients shine!

4. Where Can I Get More Information?

Boneau/Bryan-Brown is the biggest firm in the realm of theatrical publicity. Polk and Company and DKC/O&M are also huge on Broadway. The Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers has some public information, but most of their resources are locked for members of their union.

If you’re located outside of NYC, though, try reaching out to your local theatres and seeing what their PR/marketing/communications department looks like. This is a great way to get a foot in the door, and you may just discover your new career path!

This is Part One in Musings About Musicals’ Alternative Broadway Careers series.