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Performing arts


Entertainers perform for audiences in stage, cabaret or comedy shows.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

45 to 47 irregular

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

Day to day tasks

Depending on where you work, your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • singing or playing music
  • stand-up comedy
  • magic
  • entertaining children
  • mime
  • finding and rehearsing new material for your act
  • promoting your act and attending auditions
  • dealing with your finances and administration

Working environment

You could work at a social club, in a theatre, on a cruise ship, in the community, in a hotel or at a client's home.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • a specialist course run by a private training organisation

You could do a degree in a relevant subject like:

  • contemporary theatre and performance
  • acting
  • music
  • comedy

Qualifications may not be essential if you show enough talent at an audition.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

It may be useful to do a college course in:

  • performing arts
  • musical theatre
  • drama and theatre
  • music

This would help you to develop your talent and learn some of the skills you may need.

For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Some entertainers are self-taught. You could get experience as an entertainer in different ways, including:

  • taking part in open-mic spots or talent competitions
  • working at a holiday centre or theme park
  • performing in local clubs - you may have to work without pay at first
  • taking part in street performance or fringe festivals

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs. The most important thing is to have a skill or talent that an audience will enjoy.

You do not need formal qualifications, although you may find it useful to have trained in music, dance or acting, perhaps from taking a performing arts course or graded exams.

Other routes

You can develop your skills by doing a specialist course in a particular area of entertaining like comedy, puppetry or circus skills.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

You'll often have to pass auditions to get work. It may help to find an agent who can market your talents.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join Equity for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can get more information on working in performance and other creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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You could move into related roles like entertainment agent, talent spotter, venue management, or TV or radio presenting.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • the ability to work well with others
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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