…pleads Derek Bond:
Stage Directors UK did some research, and made some alarming discoveries. It found that a director working on four productions at major theatres (a very successful year) is unlikely to earn more than £25,000. The mean average annual wage for a stage director in 2013-14 was £10,759 a year, and the median was only £5,000 a year. A box-office manager can earn £29,500. Which isn’t to say box-office managers don’t work hard and deserve to be paid well, but when you’re a director, you know that you will probably earn less from theatre than most of the people permanently employed by the theatre. And, unless you have some other kind of support, you’re going to need another job to earn a living wage.
If you earn too little from your chosen role in life, why are you breeding?
I’ve got a child, who insists on continually growing out of clothes, so I know I will need to find other work around the shows I’m directing. And I’m not alone.
Maybe you should have considered that before.
Things are starting to change, with some theatres now including extra fees for prep time and being flexible about rehearsals. Directors know there aren’t enough jobs to go round, and theatres aren’t sitting on piles of cash (quite the reverse). But until fees improve, most directors will be balancing day jobs and theatre careers. And when directors start asking themselves if they should really take that directing job and risk losing the job that pays the rent – that’s when theatre directing ends up being a job only for those who can afford to do it.
We call those things ‘hobbies’.