Weep! Weep For The Theatre Directors!

…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’.

6 comments for “Weep! Weep For The Theatre Directors!

  1. July 1, 2016 at 7:59 am


    You must believe that my heart truly bleeds for the ‘Luvvies Luvvies”. I am arranging, as I write, for a direct debit for Mr. Bond, so he is retrieved from abject poverty.

    The debit amount? 2p should about suffice.

    • July 3, 2016 at 6:35 am


  2. Lord T
    July 1, 2016 at 9:50 am

    If the people don’t come and pay then a business collapses. When it is ‘Art’ then it is expected that people who don’t go have to pay for their hobbies.

    Sad that we just can’t afford it.

  3. July 1, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Hmmmm, don’t really know with this one.

  4. Stonyground
    July 1, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    I used to enjoy doing karate. There was a period of my life when I lived and breathed martial arts. Not surprisingly I rose through the grades and eventually became an instructor. Running a little karate club can be a nice little earner, but you have to be something special to make enough to live on. Due to rules on tax, most of us used the money we made from our club to offset the cost of going to competitions, buying equipment attending courses etc. So yes, it was a hobby, and I had to do a regular job to pay the bills.

    With reference to the thread at the Ambush Predator blog. There was a total absence of racism in the karate community, everyone was judged by their abilities. There was an awful lot of very short haircuts though.

    • July 3, 2016 at 6:36 am

      I never see the luvvies demanding that if people were taxed less, they could afford to go to the theatre more. Odd, isn’t it..?

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