Hire key creative staff and oversee the business end of stage productions.
What does a Theater Producer do?
A Theater Producer — or Theatrical Producer — makes theater “magic.” He or she is the person who’s responsible for putting theater productions together.
No matter what they’re about, the best plays — be they comedy, drama, or musical — are so good that they make the audience forget, however briefly, that they’re actually at the theater. That magic is the work of countless cast and crew members, including Actors, Directors, and Stage Managers, not to mention Lighting Designers, Sound Technicians, Costume Designers, Set Designers, and others. Really, though, the head Magician is neither a performer nor a technical expert; it’s the Theater Producer.
As a Theater Producer, you don’t write, direct, or perform in plays. You do, however, “create” them. Typically, that means managing the business side of theater, and hiring others to manage the creative side.
Your most common responsibilities, for instance, include finding a Playwright and choosing a script, then hiring a Director, Actors, and crewmembers. You also locate investors for the purpose of funding the production. Next, you secure rehearsal space, schedule rehearsal and performance dates, locate and lease theater space, and negotiate with employee unions. In addition, you manage and monitor budgets, determine ticket prices, and spearhead efforts to promote and market the show.
It doesn’t matter if you’re producing a Shakespearean tragedy, like “Macbeth,” or a new version of a classic musical, like “Rent” or “South Pacific.” Your goal as a Theater Producer is essentially to “commoditize” performance art. That is, even the most brilliant theatrical productions are useless if nobody sees them. Your job is to make plays profitable so that theaters can afford to produce more of them.