The Tony Awards are Sunday, June 11, and the folks gathered inside Radio City Music Hall to celebrate the best of Broadway might just be your next great hires.
That’s because “theatre people” make fantastic employees in any industry—from media to marketing, and beyond.
We talked with Elizabeth Kandel, Director of Marketing at Roundabout Theatre Company, the nation’s most influential non-profit theatre and one of New York City’s leading cultural institutions.
She told us why recruiters should always pay attention to job seekers with a theatrical background on their resume.
MB: Are there any particular skills that theatre people bring to the table at work?
EK: Theatre people can collaborate better than most.
The greatest singer cannot turn out a tour-de-force performance if he/she is standing in the dark. And it’s hard to suspend disbelief for a fantastical or period-specific piece if the costumes don’t support the vision. Everyone finds a way to work together to make the best piece of art they can.
I lead a department of eleven people at Roundabout, but I also work with a traditional advertising agency, a digital agency, and a press agency. 25-30 people in various departments collaborate on marketing our shows: client services, media, art/graphic design, project management, motion graphics, copywriting, sound editing, web development, strategy, publicity, etc.
Theatre is incredibly collaborative by nature. It takes an enormous number of people to make it happen.
MB: Are theatre people good workplace communicators? Why?
EK: Theatre is all about storytelling, and those of us in the theatre industry are always looking for ways to tell the story. Folks in any aspect of theatre tend to be incredibly articulate and great communicators.
And because many of us behind the curtain were once performers ourselves, we tend to be strong public speakers as well.
MB: Why do theatre people tend to make strong marketing hires?
EK: Theatre and marketing are fiercely intertwined.
Actors must constantly promote themselves; every audition could book both current and future projects. I’ve heard many stories about actors reading for a character or project and subsequently being invited to read for a different character or project, which catapulted their careers.
The same can be said for those who don’t audition but work directly on the creation of a show: playwrights, composers, directors, choreographers, stage managers, and designers are all constantly forming relationships that could lead to their next collaboration/project/paycheck.
This extends beyond the production itself to the administrative side, where company managers, general managers, production managers, advertising agencies, and press agencies are all vying for future business with a current client.
All of us must be comfortable with self-promotion in order to navigate this ever-changing industry.
MB: How do theatrical marketers’ skills translate to marketing roles in other industries?
EK: Theatrical marketers make great hires because theatre as a product is so similar to other products. Marketing theatre requires a skillset that can easily translate to luxury brands. Theatre is also very much a hospitality business, much like restaurants and hotels.
And while theatre has mass appeal, it’s also a niche market where we target theatregoers and ticket buyers with media. Being able to market to such a specific audience is a very useful skillset, and can make selling products with a wider appeal a much easier task.
MB: Anything else?
EK: I encourage everyone to take in a show, be it on Broadway or at a local regional theatre. Theatre is a truly magical experience, rich with emotion and/or humor, where people can connect in a way that is truly unparalleled.
It sparks discussion, it sparks thought, and it’s entertaining. I believe that there is no better way to spend a few hours.