About the Job Title "Artistic Director"

Artistic Director Job Description

An artistic director is responsible for overseeing the program for the theater as well as managing funding, budgets and staff. Artistic directors will need a bachelor’s degree.

Artistic Director Job Profiles: This is a general writeup based on our research into Artistic Director positions in the Director career area. For individual, real-life job profiles of actual people with this type of job, check out our job profiles page.

  • Career Field: Director
  • Salary Range: $35480 - $173680

What's it like to be a Artistic Director?

Duties and responsibilities

An artistic director is responsible for overseeing the program for the theater as well as managing funding, budgets and staff. The typical duties and responsibilities of a artistic director include:

  • Creating a program for the theater  and choosing the shows that will be performed in the theater
  • Hiring theater staff (e.g., directors, actors, stage managers, designers etc)
  • Reading and selecting the scripts sent to the theater
  • Discussing the budget of the theatre and funding with the Executive Director
  • Representing the theatre at events, public and social appearances
  • Creating and innovating the principles and aims of the theatre


To become an artistic director, you will need a bachelor’s degree in related field, such as journalism, media public relations or communications.

Skills and relevant work experience

A artistic director needs hands on experience in the field, As well as experience, they will also need skills and talents such as:

  • Time management skills, as artistic directors must work to tight timelines
  • Decision-making skills, as artistic directors will need to make quick decisions about what shows will be allowed at the theater
  • Communication skills, as artistic directors will need to work as part of a team with presenters and directors
  • Interpersonal skills, as artistic directorswill need to work as part of a cohesive team with directors and producers
  • Leadership skills, as artistic directors will have to delegate tasks to other team members


Artistic directors are likely to work around 40 hours per week. However,  overtime is common and so is evening, weekend and holiday work.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a director was $74,420 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $173,680.


Artistic directors may start as directors at small theaters and then with more experience they may progress to become directors of large theaters, such as ones that host broadway shows.

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