The answer to this question lies in one word: variety. You’re entering a world of creative opportunity where the world can be your administrative oyster!
The arts happen everywhere at a local and international level, on the street where you live or far across the globe. Performances take place on the biggest and smallest stages across a mind-boggling range of creative organizations. There’s so much depth to the role you can’t help but dive in and find something rewarding for your creative career prospects, both on a professional and personal level.
It’s a diverse job that benefits from a combination of qualifications and experience. You’re not required to be solely an academic genius or someone packed with life experiences. The idea is to merge the two into a fully functioning whole, enabling you to perform a fully-rounded service for your employer as a result. The job provides numerous opportunities to make the position your own and advance into an exciting career in performing arts administration.
This discipline is increasingly geared towards work with local government, helping communities connect with art and the world around them. As you can no doubt imagine, the potential for enriching your personal outlook on life is huge. Best of all you’ll be forming professional partnerships with those who need your team’s expertise most. For example the ‘not for profit’ sector is heavily involved with under-represented groups like the disabled and the sense of achievement you get from community work stays with you for the rest of your professional life. It makes you a better person and more understanding of peoples’ personal situations, an aspect at the root of storytelling. Stories are a major element of the arts.
A wide variety of tasks
This is far from a regular job. Performing arts management covers business disciplines, marketing know how, creative instinct and people skills. In a single day you could be balancing the books, promoting a show, writing a snappy press release and training new staff all at the same time. Your remit is extensive and like with any consummate performer juggling is required! It’s also a brilliant opportunity to take the lead in the management of an organization. Rise to the challenge and you’ll be taking on all comers by the end of it, confident and happy to engage with a breadth of tasks.
The arts is always evolving so you’re in a marketplace that’s buzzing with change and renewal. Not many sectors can compete with that kind of diversity but performing arts management is diverse by its very nature. A welcome part of the job is its track record for hiring women and respecting family life and similar commitments. It often deviates from the privileged route you might expect from showbusiness. That’s not to say snobbery doesn’t exist but in a field where community is key it doesn’t pay to have a high-minded approach, not when you have to keep the ship sailing through some complex logistical challenges and hold the crew together in the process.
Another factor well worth considering is the transferable skills you obtain from a performing arts management role. It gives you vital experience of handling accounts, personnel management, appreciating sensitive issues of culture and religion with regards content, legal matters and perhaps most importantly fundraising. This doesn’t just apply to the arts, it’s a universal business language. If you did want to move on to another type of company you’d be a big asset with a bulging skillset on your CV.
Indeed the traffic does flow the other way, with creative companies accepting candidates for the job via other workplaces from administrators with the right experience to adapt.
Build your professional network
The networking opportunities are varied in such a fast-moving industry. You need to establish contact with people such as producers, performers, investors, students and educators. This list can be carried with you through your career.
If you’ve already got a degree in performing arts management then what are you waiting for? If not there are a range of courses that can help you on your way to that all important qualification. As mentioned at the start, variety is the cornerstone, not only of the arts but also your personal journey into them. Flexibility and adaptability are your watchwords as you enter what will hopefully be a fascinating and rewarding career. The question isn’t why start a career. It’s why shouldn’t you start one…?