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Theatre Director

Theatre directors make artistic decisions about stage productions and consult with producers about everything from selecting the story or idea, the cast and sometimes the crew to overseeing rehearsals.​

Also Known As

Director - Theatre and Film

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Directors (5131.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations (F031) 
  • 2011 NOC: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (5131) 
  • 2016 NOC: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (5131) 
  • 2021 NOC: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (51120) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in studying scripts to determine artistic interpretations; and in co-ordinating the activities of production staff to develop desired effects

DIRECTIVE

Interest in co-ordinating the activities of performers, extras and production personnel; and in advising them on the interpretation and delivery of performances, and in conferring with crew and specialists throughout production and post-production to achieve desired presentations

SOCIAL

Interest in instructing cast members and production personnel to develop and achieve presentations that reflect desired artistic interpretations

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Theatre directors may work in many areas, styles and genres of theatre or specialize in 1 or 2. For example, they may specialize in new works, mainstream theatre, collective theatre, musical theatre, popular theatre, theatre for young audiences, movement theatre, issues-based theatre, women’s theatre or improvisational theatre. Directors may choose scripts themselves or work with scripts chosen by the people who have hired them.

Theatre directors work collaboratively with set, lighting, costume and sound designers, choreographers, special effects technicians and others. Their responsibilities vary from one production to another but, in pre-production, directors generally:

  • study, analyze, interpret and research the script
  • audition and engage actors for roles and may help select designers as well
  • work with designers to determine a stylistic approach for the production
  • work with stage managers to arrange schedules for rehearsals, costume fittings and sound and light development
  • instruct stage managers regarding management of the show when the director is gone
  • work with producers to establish and administer budgets
  • work with production managers to meet production needs within budget
  • work with technical directors regarding technical requirements
  • conduct rehearsals
  • consult with publicity agents regarding poster design and notes in the program

With new works, theatre directors also may consult with playwrights about changes to the script, or workshop a script by rehearsing it with the playwright and actors to create a final rehearsal draft of the play.

During rehearsals, theatre directors:

  • shape the work by describing the emotional, historical and psychological world of the play and guiding actors so the overall production communicates the director’s vision
  • block actors (tell them how, where and when to move on stage), provide encouragement and make suggestions to help actors interpret characters
  • make all final design decisions including lighting, props, furnishings, makeup and hair

Often a play has 1 or more dress rehearsals with an audience before opening night. This gives directors a last chance to make changes. When a play opens, the director’s job usually is complete. However, in small theatre companies, directors may introduce the play and meet with the audience after the show to discuss play interpretation.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Theatre directors usually rehearse a play for 2 to 4 weeks before the first public performance. During this time, they often work a 6-day week of 8-hour days, although the last few days before opening night may be longer.

Rehearsals generally are conducted in theatres, which may range in size and style from basement rooms to concert halls.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Theatre directors need:

  • communication skills required to convey their vision, energy and enthusiasm to others
  • leadership skills and the interpersonal skills required to help performers reach their full potential and develop a network of supporters and contacts
  • the ability to visualize sets in 3 dimensions
  • the ability to manage time and personnel to meet deadlines
  • a willingness to accept financial, artistic, psychological and emotional risks

They should enjoy being innovative, co-ordinating the work of others, and dealing with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Minimum Education Varies

In talent-based occupations such as directing, related education does not guarantee success but can be a definite asset. Many theatre directors are experienced actors or writers. (Sometimes, they wrote the play they are directing.) Some are former stage managers.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Theatre directors need 5 to 10 years of related experience as well as related education. Prospective directors should obtain hands-on experience in as many areas of theatre production as possible and make as many contacts as possible in their field.

To gain experience, aspiring theatre directors may:

  • offer their services to amateur or school groups
  • work as assistants to established directors or producers
  • form a small theatre company to produce 1 or more plays on their own
  • enter play festivals (for example, Fringe Festivals in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Vancouver) with their own productions to showcase their talents

Theatre companies usually contract with artistic directors for a minimum term of 1 year. Artistic directors generally direct 1 or more productions in their theatre’s season. Artistic directors also may hire guest directors to direct some plays. Most theatre companies in Canada have an artistic director at the helm.

Theatre directors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5131: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations. In Alberta, 89% of people employed in this classification work in the Information, Culture and Recreation [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Information, Culture and Recreation industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 5131: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.2% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 58 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Salaries for theatre directors are dependent on experience and reputation. Directors who work on a contract basis negotiate their fees before production begins. In some cases, theatre directors’ salaries fall under an agreement set by the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

2016 NOC: 5131
Average Wage
$39.29
Per Hour
Average Salary
$78,713.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.6
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5131 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $17.44 $37.96 $31.41 $32.00
Overall $20.89 $46.61 $39.29 $43.14
Top $26.84 $50.35 $42.21 $44.77

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
Information, Culture, Recreation
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
36%
36%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
15%
15%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
0%
0%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Canadian Actors’ Equity Association website: www.caea.com

Cultural Human Resources Council website: www.culturalhrc.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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