Arts Agent / Promoter

Outline of Job

An arts agent/promoter will work to promote their artistic clients work by way of marketing and management. They can work with a variety of clients involved in performing arts, including dancers, singers, presenters, and also extras. They will often specialise in one particular area such as stunt work, but will start out by gaining experience in the performing sector, and then deciding which area is of particular interest.

Daily Activities

  • Handling any questions concerning clients, such as appeals for appearances or fan mail
  • Dealing with information to do with tours or shows
  • Negotiating contracts with other agents
  • Sending out details to agents regarding clients and handling specifications of auditions
  • Meeting with clients and casting agents
  • Carrying out administrative tasks
  • Gaining publicity for clients

Skills Required

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Able to work as an individual and with others
  • Commercial awareness and a passion for the industry
  • Able to build and maintain relations with agents and clients
  • Understanding of how publicity works
  • Organised manner and able to meet deadlines
  • Understanding of the various performing arts
  • Ability to solve problems

Expected Earnings & Conditions

The typical starting salary is around £12,000 - £15,000, which can increase to £18,000 - £28,000 after acquiring a few years experience. Wages at senior level can be about £25,000 - £50,000, but will depend on the standing of the agent or agency, and their wealth of clients. Being skilled in administrative tasks and IT can also help to improve you salary, as can a good reputation in the industry.

The working day is varied, with no strict time structure in place. This is due to working hours depending on the job at the time, as you can either be working during the day, in the evening, or even at weekends. For example, if a client is involved in artistic performances during the evening you will have to put the hours in.

Travel during work is common as you will have to meet with clients and other agents. Absence from home at night can occur, but overseas travel is a rarity unless your client is of international acclaim. Once you have gained enough experience it is feasible to go into freelance work. Jobs are available throughout the UK.

Qualifications & Experience Required

The most important asset to gaining a job as an arts agent/promoter is through relative experience. However, the following HND degrees may be of advantage:

  • Performing arts
  • Arts management
  • Business
  • Events management
  • Arts administration

It is possible to work up from an administrative role, making sure you demonstrate a good work ethic while in this position. Work experience is the key to achieving a position, which can be done through temporary or voluntary work. Relative experience may involve helping a local performing arts group, aiding the organisation of local events such as festivals, or working at local theatres.

The Arts Council offers information on local arts organisations, which will help you to seek out work experience. The Voluntary Arts website is also of use. Keeping up to date with the arts is important, with the British Arts Festivals Association and a-n: The Artists Information Company websites of particular interest. The Agents Association (Great Britain) is also of great use.

Additional Training & Development

Jobs in the performing arts sector are highly competitive. Working your way up from an administrative role, or possibly, from somewhat of a graduate position, it will take several years to move up to a managerial role. You can use this time to improve your skills and build a contact list of clients and agents. If well respected within the industry you can possibly start your own agency. As there is no distinct career path you may choose to specialise in one area, such as extras work, or move into a related area of work.

Further training is available but not typically offered to you as part of a structured programme. It will be down to you to improve your credentials by attending courses. Marketing, administrative, human resources, and accountancy are just some of the skills you will need to be improve and maintain. Courses are offered by organisations including The AMA (Arts Marketing Association), and also The Independent Theatre Council. Courses include:

  • Using Accounts and Accountants - Enabling participants to deal with end of year reports and auditors
  • New to Management - Equipping you with the skills to enable you and your team to thrive
  • Part-time postgraduate certificates in arts administration
  • NVQs in Cultural Heritage Operations