Entertainment Jobs Abroad
The Realities of Acting, Dancing, and Singing for Your Supper
Theater jobs abroad are not easy to find and not well paid, but dreams can be realized with information, planning, and determination.
Entertainment jobs abroad are not easy to find and are not usually well paid. Yet, dreams can be realized with information, planning, and determination. The life of the aspiring actor or dancer is often characterized as being quite difficult and poorly paid. Many of us may have indulged our childhood with dreams of fame derived from acting, dancing, or singing but gradually gave up, settling for courses, jobs, and careers with better "prospects." But some gigs can inject some of this exciting experience into your life before you give up on your dreams. If you are particularly good at it, you could make it your career. This is the entertainer's job overseas, usually seasonal, dancing, singing, and making commercial cameos and contacts in the new era of streaming and social media. In fact, the internet has opened up many new possibilties and entries into the international entertainment world, as virtual entertainment may lead to onsite appearances, should your "brand" go viral.
Finally, important and realistic side benefits regardless of the duration of your entertainment experience abroad — taken from a global view — is that time spent finding and performing internationally includes developing the people, communication, and networking skills that are certain to serve you practically for the rest of your life.
Be Idealistic, Energetic, and Flexible but Realistic
The entertainment industry is vast and diverse, and there is a role for entertainment abroad in tourism and foreign audiences, just as in many home countries such as the US. We are not concentrating on Shakesperean acting here, necessarily, though you may belong to a theater, Broadway, or dance group that tours internationally. Far more likely, many hotels, campsites, resorts, and even cruise ships (if you are so inclined—they do dock and traverse the world) provide some entertainment for their guests, be it a one-person bingo show or a full-blown entertainment team that performs well-choreographed musicals and dance shows. These teams are needed all over Europe and the rest of the world, especially in countries such as Australia, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and a few other countries. Famously, some American actors (and musicians) have made careers in places like Italy and France. Even the cooler climate of Britain attracts enough resort guests to hire many entertainers.
Entertainment salaries vary dramatically according to experience, and you must be aware of local labor laws, visas, and other critical practical considerations in the age of streaming, with live theater and entertainment having a healthy competition to which you must adapt and optionally pursue in ever-evolving ways.
Should you land a job, you might begin with very low pay, but this always comes with room and board. With experience and knowledge of one or more other languages, the salary can rise. The accommodations may vary from a shared room in large staff quarters to an independent apartment in the city. You may enjoy gourmet food if invited out or provided. Still, you can only count on perks with your own developed contacts.
You will learn in an intensively short period how to perform in front of large audiences. You may gain valuable experience using audio-video technology, presentation and interpersonal skills, public relations, marketing, and many more skills that will be useful in later life. In addition, you will have the opportunity to become physically fit and have an incredible amount of fun!
A Day in the Life of an Entertainer
The job of the entertainer is varied, long, and demanding. The performance in the evening is usually the tip of the iceberg. Rehearsals can be difficult and intense, and all of this must be fitted around the daily activities that entertainers are often expected to carry out with the guests. Such activities are split into approximately three categories:
Adult activities (dance lessons, archery and shooting competitions, volleyball, tennis, football, etc.).
Junior activities (computer game activities, billiards, water polo, etc.).
Children's activities (anything from Mini-Olympics to nature walks to arts and crafts).
You will usually be assigned to one of these areas, often depending upon previous experience. Many entertainers have to share an evening rotation of performing the "mini-disco" for the children, an hour-long medley of fun dances and games. If all this work sounds hellish, you'd be better off reading another article in my series on jobs abroad. But if teaching simple dances to 50 or more children sounds fun, this is the job for you.
After the day's activities, the most thrilling part of the job is performing on stage in front of thousands of people. If it is high season, you will often have the opportunity to work with a large entertainment team. This usually means mounting musical productions such as "Grease," "Moulin Rouge," "Starlight Express" (yes, on roller skates), "The Lion King," and "Cabaret," among many others. You may be involved in every process, from set design to costume-making to the final performance.
I fell into this job while abroad accidentally while working on environmental education. Somebody was ill, and the employer needed a replacement to play a small part in "Chicago" that evening. I learned the dances during the day and that night, wobbled onto the stage in suspenders and gloves, trembling through the dances until, relieved, the show finally ended. The experience at the following performances was better. Three years later, I was given the leading female role in the "Lion King" and couldn't wait to start.
You may assume that the only way to find a job like this would require dance training or acting experience. But this is only sometimes true. The requirements for these positions vary according to the company. Yet, often, the most essential requirement, over and above any experience, is knowledge of as many languages as possible. English is usually mandatory, but you will preferably need to speak the language of the host country or other languages for gigs. However, there are occasionally exceptional requirements to make the team multi-lingual. When applying for a job in Spain, for example, if you speak English and German but not Spanish, sometimes this will suffice.
What you will also need is tons of confidence, creative ideas, and lots of energy!
International Entertainment Jobs Resources
StagePool is a job board for performing jobs worldwide.
Backstage provides leads and ideas to approach worldwide opportunities in entertainment.
Entertainers Worldwide Jobs is an agency where you may find something that arouses your fancy, most on cruise ships — which do dock overseas, after all.
A.C.L.E. iis a non-profit educational association based in Sanremo, Italy, accredited by the Italian Ministry of Education. A.C.L.E. has over 36 years of experience in the language teaching and language-learning sector. Each summer, the association trains and places more than 300 native English speakers (trainee tutors) in camps to teach English to Italian children and teenagers through theatre.
Caroline Nye has traveled and worked extensively all over the world, working in organic farming, wildlife guiding, teaching, and musical performance, as well as volunteering in various international development projects. She has had articles and short stories published in Amateur Photographer (UK), Matador Travel, and The Healing Project book series. She won a Bunac Green Cheese scholarship for humorous writing. Caroline is currently managing a dance team in Spain.