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Theater and performing arts graduates look forward to a growing job market post-COVID

Employment for actors is expected to grow by about 8% over the next 10 years

The future of theater and live shows were uncertain post-COVID, but recent studies have shown that the job market for graduating theatre majors is actually growing. 

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate of actors grew drastically. Research conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts showed that in 2019 the unemployment rate of actors was 24.7%, and in 2020 it rose to 52.3%. 

However, the performing arts industries are slowly recovering after Broadway and other live performances reopened in late 2021. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of actors is expected to grow by about 8% in the next decade. This growth is higher than the average for all occupations. 

A current Otterbein student has recently booked an acting job in New York City. Carson Zoch, a senior acting major, recently announced he is touring the Times Square production of A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage. Zoch shared his positive experience booking this role. 

“I submitted through Actors Access, which is an audition website, and went to NYC to do callbacks for it in September,” Zoch said. 

Zoch explained that the industry is more accessible since many castings allow for self-tapes to be sent in instead of having to be at every audition in person.

Zoch also described how his time at Otterbein helped prepare him for working in the field. 

“I learned a multitude of skills at Otterbein that I use daily on this job. From the extensive dance training we undergo to the weekly voice lessons and acting classes, learning how to explore characters and learn about our own styles in acting,” Zoch said.

Hannah Roberts, a recent Otterbein graduate, also explained her experience working in the industry over this past year. Roberts graduated in 2021 with a degree in musical theatre. 

“The summer after I graduated from Otterbein, in May of 2021, I auditioned for and booked the role of Campbell in Bring It On at Summer Stock Austin, a theater company in my hometown. During that summer, I signed with a manager who saw my virtual senior MT showcase. I’ve worked with him ever since, and it’s been an awesome experience,” said Roberts. 

She also went on to explain her experience in booking the role of Frieda in A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage alongside Zoch. 

“The process was short and very fun. I sent in a self-tape and went to an in-person callback,” said Roberts. “Later in the month, I received a message from my representation telling me that I booked the show. I was thrilled.”

As the days of livestreams and virtual performances become more distant, the employment outlook for performing arts graduates seems to be bright. 

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