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Theatre Director

Theatre directors hold the artistic vision of a given stage production and are ultimately responsible for the final product. They work with a team of designers to visualize the overall concept and look of a production. Then they work with a cast of actors and crew to bring the production to life.

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

  • 5131.2: Directors

2006 NOC-S

  • F031: Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations

2011 NOC

  • 5131: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

2016 NOC

  • 5131: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

2021 NOC

  • 51120: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

2023 OaSIS

  • 51120.02: Directors
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Theatre directors are authors of live, theatrical events. They may work in many areas, styles, and genres of theatre. Or they may specialize in 1 or 2 of the following:

  • New works
  • Mainstream theatre
  • Devised theatre
  • Musical theatre, popular theatre
  • Theatre for young audiences
  • Movement-based theatre
  • Issues-based theatre
  • Women’s theatre
  • Improvisational theatre

Directors may choose scripts to interpret themselves or work with scripts chosen by the people who hired them.

Theatre directors work collaboratively with a creative team that includes:

They also work with a production team that includes:

Theatre directors communicate a unifying vision or concept for the production to all the creative and technical teams. 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
  • Help select the design team
  • Work with designers to determine a stylistic or conceptual approach for the production
  • Work with stage managers to arrange schedules for rehearsals, costume fittings, and setting of sound and light cues
  • Instruct stage managers about 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 and lead rehearsals with actors
  • Consult with publicity agents or marketing managers about poster design and notes in the program (in some situations)

With new works, theatre directors also may work closely with playwrights about changes to the script. They may workshop a script by rehearsing it with the playwright and actors.

During rehearsals, theatre directors:

  • Shape the work by describing the emotional, historical, and psychological world of the play
  • Guide actors to achieve the director’s vision
  • Stage the action by showing actors how, where, and when to move on stage
  • Provide encouragement and suggestions to help actors build and interpret characters, including character relationships
  • Sign off on all final design decisions including lighting, props, costumes, furnishings, makeup, and hair

Often a play has a short period of technical rehearsals to add all the design elements. Then it has 1 or more dress rehearsals with an audience before opening night. These give directors a last chance to make changes. This is to ensure that no matter when the audience sees the show, it is consistent across all performances.

After a play opens, the director’s job usually is complete. However, in small theatre companies, directors may sometimes be involved in pre- or post-show chats. They may introduce the play. They may also meet with the audience after the show to discuss the play’s themes or issues or the production’s interpretation. They may also facilitate discussion panels.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Theatre directors usually rehearse a play for 2 to 5 weeks before the first public performance. During this time, they often work a 6-day week of 8-hour days. However, the last few days before opening night may be longer due to adding technical elements.

Rehearsals generally are conducted in rehearsal halls. These may range in size and style and include open lobbies, multiuse basement rooms, studios, and well-equipped rehearsal halls.

Technical and dress rehearsals take place in the actual performance space. Usually, the cast and crew get 2 to 10 days in the theatre before opening night.

At times, directors work outside of theatres in sites specifically selected for their interpretation of the performance.

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Theatre directors need:

  • Reading comprehension and interpretive skills
  • Communication skills to convey their vision, energy, and enthusiasm to the cast and crew
  • Leadership skills
  • Interpersonal skills to ensure artists reach their full potential
  • Networking skills
  • The ability to manage time and personnel to meet deadlines
  • The ability to visualize scenes in 3 dimensions
  • A willingness to accept financial, artistic, psychological, and emotional risks and limitations

They should enjoy:

  • Being innovative
  • Coordinating the work of others
  • Dealing with people

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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

2016 NOC: 5131

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 29 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jun 02, 2022 and May 25, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Attention to detail
Work under pressure
Tasks: Co-ordinate and direct the photography of production
Tasks: Supervise staff or team
Tasks: Organize and co-ordinate production
Tasks: Edit motion picture film and arrange film segments into sequences
Tasks: Interpret scripts, select the cast and advise in the interpretation and delivery of the performance
Tasks: Plan, organize and direct the artistic aspects of production
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education Varies

In talent-based occupations such as directing, related education does not guarantee success but is widely considered an asset. Many directors hold a bachelor of fine arts degree in theatre. Others have a master’s degree in fine arts.

Many theatre directors shift into directing after gaining experience as cast or crew members. Many are experienced actors or writers. Sometimes, they wrote the play they are directing. Others 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, 2024
  • Certification Not Regulated

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

To get hired, theatre directors need related education as well as 5 to 10 years of experience in the industry. Prospective directors should obtain hands-on experience in as many areas of theatre production as possible, such as acting, writing, stage managing, and choreography. They should also make as many contacts as possible in their field.

To gain experience, aspiring theatre directors may:

  • Work as assistants to established directors, organizations, or producers
  • Form a small theatre company to produce plays on their own
  • Showcase their talents with their own productions at theatre festivals such as the Fringe Festivals in Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Vancouver
  • Offer their services to amateur or school groups

Theatre directors may become artistic directors. Many theatre companies in Canada have an artistic director leading the artistic vision of the theatre.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 5131: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations occupational group, 76.8% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 5131: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.7% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 60 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: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Directors who work on a contract basis negotiate their fees before production begins.

In a professional environment, theatre directors’ fees are determined by a variety of factors such as the size and type of theatre. Weekly rates are based on an agreement set by the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres.

In a non-professional environment, salaries for theatre directors are dependent on experience and reputation.

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

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

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, 2024

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

Cultural Human Resources Council website: www.culturalhrc.ca

Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) website: www.pact.ca

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

Updated Mar 31, 2024. 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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