Theatre Workforce

Workforce Development


UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) have undertaken a major programme of work to ensure the long term health of our industry.

Please use the tabs below to read more about our workforce development strategy, and to see a compilation of resources for different sections of the workforce.

Resources followed by an asterisk (*) have either been run, supported financially, or provided with resources and promotion by UK Theatre and SOLT.

SOLT and UK Theatre logo

Theatre Workforce Review

In 2017 we commissioned Nordicity, working with Alistair Smith, Editor of The Stage, to carry out a significant research project into the current and future training needs of the theatre and performing arts sector. The Theatre Workforce Review was published on 22 June 2017.

Executive Summary: Theatre Workforce ReviewFull Report: Theatre Workforce Review


Workforce Development Strategy

The Workforce Development Strategy is our response to this research. It sets out UK Theatre and SOLT's objectives to ensure the long-term health of our industry, based on the challenges identified in the Theatre Workforce Review. The Workforce Development Strategy will be carried out over several years, include multiple areas of work and will involve a wide range of stakeholders.

The three long term objectives of the Workforce Development Strategy are:

  • To ensure that the appropriate skills and expertise are in place for theatre and the performing arts to thrive twenty years from now
  • To improve the diversity of the theatre and performing arts workforce
  • To address long-term culture change in the professional development of the theatre and performing arts

The Theatre Development Trust support the Workforce Development Strategy with seed funding and staffing costs.

Workforce Development Strategy objectives


Workforce Consortium

A consortium of industry employers and sector bodies has been formed to help us shape the work of the Workforce Development Strategy. The consortium includes:

  • Gary Briggs, Manchester International Festival
  • Kris Bryce, Pitlochry Festival Theatre
  • David Druade, LW Theatres 
  • Liam Evans-Ford, Theatr Clwyd
  • Caro Newling, Neal Street Productions
  • Deborah Sawyerr, Mercury Theatre
  • Nancy Shakerley, Disney Theatrical Group
  • Jocelyne Underwood, Greater Manchester Cultural Skills Consortium
  • Sara Whybrew, Creative & Cultural Skills
  • Anna Williams, Birmingham Royal Ballet


Stakeholders

As part of the Workforce Development Strategy, UK Theatre and SOLT regularly engage with a variety of stakeholders across the sector and beyond. These stakeholders include:

  • APPG for Theatre
  • Arts Council England
  • Arts Council Wales
  • Creative and Cultural Skills
  • Creative Industries Council sub-group for education and skills
  • Creative Industries Federation's HE/FE working group
  • Culture Counts
  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Department for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Department for Education
  • National College Creative Industries
  • Skillscene
  • SOLT's Education Forums
  • Demographic monitoring*: we are implementing annual demographic audits of the SOLT and UK Theatre Boards and memberships
  • Diversity and inclusion resource library*: we have compiled a directory of resources covering ticketing, casting, entry routes, recruitment and training, as well as a list of diverse theatre companies in the UK
  • Inclusion and Anti-Racism Working Group*: this group guides the SOLT and UK Theatre Boards on development and delivery of an inclusion and anti-racism strategy for the sector
  • Inclusive Recruitment Guide*: our guide breaks down the recruitment process to help you write a better job pack, remove bias from your selection process and offers suggestions on where to post your job ads to reach a wider talent pool
  • Removing Barriers for d/Deaf and Disabled People in Theatre webinar series*: four bitesize webinar recordings to equip you to ensure that d/Deaf and disabled people are a part of your organisation
  • Stage One's Bridge the Gap programme*: an initiative that supports under-represented producers in the commercial theatre industry
  • Stage Sight: a collaborative network of theatre and performing arts organisations whose vision is to create an off stage workforce that is more reflective of our society today, inclusive of ethnicity, class and disability. 
  • Theatre Casting Toolkit*: commissioned by UK Theatre, this tool has been designed to make the UK's stages and rehearsal rooms more reflective of modern society
  • UK Theatre Award's Excellence in Inclusivity Award: recognises the promotion of inclusivity within programming, workforce and audience or community engagement

For more information on SOLT and UK Theatre's diversity and inclusion work, please download our report 'Improving diversity and inclusion within UK theatres: SOLT and UK Theatre initiatives'.

For more diversity and inclusion resources, please visit our dedicated resource library.

  • Apprenticeships*: for guidance on hosting an apprentice, please visit the National College Creative Industries website, where you can download an employer support pack, as well as information for both apprentice levy paying organisations and non-levy paying organisations. We have worked with Creative & Cultural Skills to produce an employer guide on understanding the apprenticeship levy.
  • Careers events*: SOLT and UK Theatre coordinate a theatre industry presence at Skills London and the Big Bang Fair. If you'd like your organisation to be involved, please email siobhan@soltukt.co.uk
  • Creative Careers Programme: a government funded and industry led programme to inform and inspire young people about careers in the creative industries.
  • Entry Routes - A Guide for Employers*: We have worked with Creative & Cultural Skills to produce this guidance, covering the different types of work-related learning opportunities, a glossary of common terminology and different levels of learning and qualifications. This guide applies to England only. For more information on Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, please contact Creative & Cultural Skills at info@ccskills.org.uk. 
  • Get into Theatre*: the UK’s leading theatre careers website, helping visitors find information and opportunities to pursue a successful career in theatre.
  • Inspiring Future Theatre*: a wide-reaching industry initiative which aims to show young people the range of careers available in theatre. Sign up as a volunteer to speak to students in a school near you about a career in theatre.
  • Kickstart: a government scheme providing funding to employers to create new jobs for unemployed 16-24 year olds.
  • London Theatre Young Audiences Forum*: this committee aims to build relationships between young people and theatre. It is led by SOLT and Mousetrap Theatre Projects and members work in participation, membership or audience development within London theatre organisations.
  • Stage One*: this charity supports new producers entering the industry through paid placements across the UK, bursaries for independent producers, mentoring opportunities and facilitated workshops.
  • T Levels: SOLT and UK Theatre have been engaging with theatre employers, the Department for Education, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation on the ongoing development of T Levels and their implementation in our industry.
  • TheatreCraft*: the UK's largest free careers event for anyone aged 16-30 seeking an off stage role in theatre.

  • BECTU for Freelancers: Trade union BECTU runs freelance braches to bring together self-employed members depending on their craft
  • Creative Industries Federation's Future of Freelance Champions: a group formed to shape and guide the work of the Creative Industries Federation to support freelancers in the creative industries
  • Freelancer Club: a leading online creative community with a jobs board and resources for both freelancers and businesses
  • Freelancers Make Theatre Work: an inclusive, independent community for self-employed and freelance workers from all areas of theatre, opera, dance and live performance
  • Freelance Practitioner Research: a report commissioned by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to explore the needs of freelance artists developing, creating and producing small to mid-scale work on an independent basis.
  • IPSE webinars: self-employed membership organisation IPSE hosts webinars on a range of topics for freelancers
  • The Complete Guide to Going Freelance: this article explores some things you might want to think about before becoming a freelancer
  • Theatre Artists Fund*: provides emergency financial support for theatre freelancers across the UK following the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Working with the Self-Employed: A best practice guide for business created Creative & Cultural Skills

Mental Health and Wellbeing

  • Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance: a national membership organisation representing everyone who believes that creativity and cultural engagement can transform our health and wellbeing 
  • SOLT UK Theatre's Wellbeing Committee*: convened to help steer and develop our wellbeing work
  • Theatre Helpline*: a free, independent and confidential phone and email service that provides support to people working in the theatre industry 
  • Theatresupport.info*: signposts to all the different theatrical charities that can provide support and advice to theatre workers
  • UK National Arts Wellbeing Collective: links like minded organisations and individuals around the UK to improve health and wellbeing in the Arts, Cultural and Heritage employment sectors
  • UK Theatre's mental health and wellbeing resource library*: resources, training providers, research and information about mental health and wellbeing in the theatre industry
  • Wellbeing webinars*: a series of free recorded webinars for theatre employees and managers. Topics include mindfulness, leading resilient teams and managing through rapid, complex change.

For more mental health and wellbeing resources, please visit our dedicated resource library.


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