Actors, dancers and entertainers perform and entertain in a variety of different productions.
Actors may perform live in theatre, opera or perform recorded roles in theatre, film, radio, television, commercials or forms of social media.
Dancers may entertain as soloists, with a partner or as members of a group. There are many styles of dance, including ballet, contemporary, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, folk, jazz, ballroom and tap. Dancers may perform using a variety of styles, or they may specialise in one particular dance style.
Entertainers entertain an audience with dramatic, musical and other performances. They may perform a variety of tasks depending on their area of expertise which may include children’s entertainer, circus performer, comedian, magician, puppeteer/ventriloquist.
Where actors, dancers and other entertainers are employed
As an actor you require recognition from industry contacts such as casting consultants and theatre, film, television and radio producers. Most employment for actors in Australia is provided by theatre companies, firms producing television programmes, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, advertising agencies making television and radio commercials and film companies. Most actors move from one medium or type of work to another as opportunities arise.
Dancers are employed by the Australian and state ballet companies, contemporary dance companies, independent choreographers, musicals, television studios and some opera companies. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people trained in traditional dance styles also have opportunities to perform, teach and manage dance projects. Performance positions require an audition and interview. Dancers may also teach when they have had sufficient experience and training. Many dancers progress to areas such as arts administration, theatre management, public relations, technical backstage work, production, wardrobe and costume-making and the director of the company or project.
Entertainers work in a number of different areas including entertainment venues or circus companies, although many are self-employed or find work through an agent. There are also careers available with commercial and independent radio and television stations, as well as in film, theatre, arts journalism, music and instrument sales, and music and record publishing.
Full-time actors, dancers and other entertainers in South Australia generally earn less than $600 per week.
In 2011 there were 99 people employed full-time as actors, dancers and other entertainers in South Australia compared with 81 in 2006.
How to become one
You can work as an actor without formal qualifications. However there are courses available that specialise in acting and it is advisable to undertake some formal training to improve your chances of gaining employment. Acceptance into formal courses is generally closely linked to your acting ability and interest demonstrated by prior experience and/or an audition. There are also vocational education and training (VET) qualifications in acting, performing arts, music theatre or theatre and screen performance. Subjects and prerequisites vary between institutions and you should contact your chosen institution for further information.
You can also become an actor by completing a degree in drama, performing arts, music theatre or theatre studies. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) and study English. Competition for places is strong, and an audition, practical test or interview may be required. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.
To become a dancer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in dance. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. In many cases, a natural ability in dance is more important than formal qualifications.
You can also become a dancer by completing a degree in creative arts or fine arts, with a major in dance, dance performance or a related field. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your SACE and study English. You may also be required to attend an audition or interview. Some courses offer intensive training for a performance career, while others qualify graduates to teach dance or provide a background that will enable graduates to take up other dance-related careers such as choreography and community arts work. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.
Entertainer skills are usually developed through practice and experience. However entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications such as a VET qualification in performing arts, theatre and screen performance or a related field such as acting, circus performance, dance, film and television, theatre studies, music or singing. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions you should contact your chosen institution for further information.
See courses related to this occupation.
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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.