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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.

  • Avg. Salary $62,408.00
  • Avg. Wage $30.29
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 1,600
  • In Demand Lower
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Theatre Director is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

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


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


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

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 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 More

Updated Dec 15, 2016

Theatre directors may work in many areas, styles and genres of theatre or specialize in one or two. For example, they may specialize in new works, mainstream theatre, collective theatre, musical theatre, popular theatre, theatre for young audiences, movement theatre, issue 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 one or more dress rehearsals with an audience before opening night. This gives directors one 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 Dec 15, 2016

Theatre directors usually rehearse a play for two to four weeks before the first public performance. During this time, they often work a six day week of eight 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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Theatre directors need the following characteristics:

  • the 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 three dimensions
  • a willingness to accept financial, artistic, psychological and emotional risks  
  • the ability to manage time and personnel to meet deadlines.

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Concordia University of Edmonton

Grant MacEwan University

Rosebud School of The Arts - Rosebud

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Theatre directors need five to ten 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 one 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 artistic directors for a minimum term of one year. Artistic directors generally direct one 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 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 that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 1,800 Albertans are employed in the Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.2% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 40 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As theatre directors form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for theatre directors.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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.

Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $14.42 $44.33 $26.60 $25.00
Overall $17.79 $48.08 $30.29 $30.00
Top $17.31 $50.48 $33.00 $34.00

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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Canadian Actors' Equity Association website:

Cultural Human Resources Council website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Jul 01, 2009. 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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