Okay, it’s not really a play but doesn’t life feel like one sometimes, complete with three distinct acts, primary characters, antagonists, and you, at the center of it all? I’m bringing this up because as an actor, life can be pretty interesting when juggling life on and off stage.

As performing artists, we aim to feed our spirits and our bellies, aaaaand keep the folks in our lives happy, even when we’re spending more time memorizing lines and sound cues than we are remembering birthdays and other events. Such is the life of an artist and the moments when, after a production is over we ask: what else can I do? This goes for all professionals that work on stage and as well as behind the scenes.

I get to meet lots of performing arts students who love the time they’re putting in to have solid, fulfilling careers as theatremakers. And this is not just actors, but directors, playwrights, and stage managers. The goal: know the right people, be in the know about opportunities, and have the talent and great reputation to be sought out for productions. It’s the in between that has uncertainty.

While coming down from the high of that last show, not everyone wants to go back to waiting tables, which we know by now is the default for many theatre folks. Let me be clear however when I say there is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting tables! It can just feel limiting when folks think that it’s the only thing they can do. There are many career tracks before during and after one’s theatre career that are worth consideration as you, an Emerson student ponder on what to do next.

Your communication, organizational and creative skills as a theatremaker are valued more than you might think.

In an age where companies and organizations are trying to be more inclusive, when technology puts a gap between authentic communication and connecting with clients and colleagues, who better to innovate in this new world of work than storytellers? Not only that, while marketing yourself for different jobs outside of theatre, think about what those before you have done.

In that spirit I’d like to take a CareerBuzz walk down memory lane to remind and inform you about theatre alumni working on amazing projects and making lives for themselves…


Jen Lewis is a Theatre Education grad who continues to work as an educator while also an actor. Check out her piece here.


This past spring one of our partner employers provided some great insights on careers in social change. Read on for more info from Anna Trieschmann who has some great advice very applicable for artists who have an interest on making an impact.


Ryan Fotter and Becky Thorogood are Emerson alumni who are both working at Boston Ballet in some great positions that utilize the skills gained from their time at Emerson. Learn all about their work!


Josie Bray is what we call a triple threat. A faculty member at Emerson, she is also a dancer, choreographer, entreprenuer and more recently worked on TREVOR: The Musical. Profiled for the Womxn of Emerson series, here she talks about her career journey and finding sustainable and fulfilling opportunities outside of theatre.

What do YOU do next?

Geography, skill set, and your goals in theatre arts will all play a role in where you land. Are you thinking LA? New York? Somewhere in between? What other skills do you have in mind when you think about work outside of theatre?

Questions? Schedule an appointment with the career development center to plan your next course of action, and while you’re at it, check out our Performing Arts Guide to get you started.