There are 152,400 producers and directors employed in the U.S. Stage directors work in a variety of theaters in various locations. These venues might include summer stock, regional theaters, Off Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway. Prospects become more difficult for individuals when they aspire to work as stage directors on Broadway or other first class productions.
While New York city is the major theatrical capital of the United States, the job market there is so competitive that it is often necessary to find work in other culturally active cities first to gain experience and build a reputation.
Stage directors often get their start by gaining experience in summer stock and dinner theaters around the country. Employment depends on a number of factors including the talent and experience of the individual. Other important factors include contacts and networking, being in the right place at the right time, and luck. Stage directors may also find employment opportunities in casinos and hotels which host stage productions.
Stage directors advance their careers in a number of ways. The most common is by directing more prestigious productions or directing a show in a more prestigious theater. Most producers would rather hire a well-known stage director or one who has some experience than one who has little background in the field. On the surface, advancement prospects appear poor for stage directors. In some cases, however, an individual directs a production that is reviewed very well or even turns into a hit. As each director builds on his or her successes, they may find themselves in greater demand.
Tips for Entry
Make as many contracts in the theatrical industry as possible. You cannot audition to be a stage director; networking is the key in this field.
When you land jobs, do your best to make a good impression on your coworkers. The theater world is small and a good reputation will follow you everywhere.
Volunteer to work in your local community theater as an assistant to the director if possible. If not, work in the theater in any capacity.
Look for an internship working in theater by contacting schools, colleges, art councils, theater groups, organizations, and associations. Once you get an internship, do more than you are asked to and learn as much as possible.
Many summer theaters offer part-time or summer jobs to students learning their craft. Send your resume with a short cover letter asking for an interview.