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Career and Education Opportunities for Actors in Madison, Wisconsin

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for actors in the Madison, Wisconsin area. The national trend for actors sees this job pool growing by about 12.8% over the next eight years. Actors generally play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction.

The average wage in the general category of Theater, Film, and Television jobs is $21 per hour or $46,470 per year in Wisconsin, and an average of $29 per hour or $64,430 per year nationwide. Actors earn less than people working in the category of Theater, Film, and Television generally in Wisconsin and less than people in the Theater, Film, and Television category nationally. Actors work in a variety of jobs, including: movie stunt performer, understudy, and theatrical trouper.

The Madison area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Madison where you can get a degree as an actor. The most common level of education for actors is less than a high school diploma. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become an actor if you already have a high school diploma.


Actor video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, actors play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. They also interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience.

Actors study and rehearse roles from scripts so as to interpret, learn and memorize lines, stunts, and cues as directed. They also attend auditions and casting calls so as to audition for roles. Equally important, actors have to work closely with directors and playwrights to discover the interpretation most suited to the role. They are often called upon to learn about characters in scripts and their relationships to each other in order to optimize role interpretations. They are expected to portray and interpret roles, using speech and body movements so as to entertain or instruct radio, film or live audiences. Finally, actors coordinate with other crewmembers responsible for lighting and props.

Every day, actors are expected to be able to speak clearly. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for actors to promote productions using means such as interviews about plays or movies. They are often called upon to sing and/or dance during dramatic or comedic performances. They also construct puppets and ventriloquist dummies, and sew accessory clothing, using hand tools and machines. They are sometimes expected to read from scripts or books to narrate action or to inform or entertain audiences, utilizing few or no stage props. Somewhat less frequently, actors are also expected to ready and perform action stunts for motion picture or stage productions.

Actors sometimes are asked to write original or adapted material for dramas or other performances. They also have to be able to introduce performances and performers so as to stimulate excitement and direct smooth transition of acts during events and perform original and stock tricks of illusion to entertain and mystify audiences, occasionally including audience members as participants. And finally, they sometimes have to ready and perform action stunts for motion picture or stage productions.

Like many other jobs, actors must be reliable and believe in an agile approach to problem solving and deal with change.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Madison include:

  • Artistic Director. Audition and interview performers to select most appropriate talent for parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
  • Producer. Plan and coordinate various aspects of radio, television, or motion picture production, such as selecting script, coordinating writing, directing and editing, and arranging financing.
  • Program Director. Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in preparation of radio or television station program schedules and programs.
  • Singer. Sing songs on stage, radio, or motion pictures.
  • Technical Director. Coordinate activities of technical departments, such as taping, editing, and maintenance, to produce radio or television programs.
  • Writer. Create original written works.


University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, WI 53706-1380. University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large university located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 41,581 students and an admission rate of 63%. University of Wisconsin-Madison has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated five, six, and three students respectively in 2008.


AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.


Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin photo by Dori

Madison is situated in Dane County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 231,916, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Madison, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Madison are valued at $243,800 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Madison, down from three hundred seventy-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Madison are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 48.2% of Madison residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 20.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Madison is 5.2%, which is less than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Madison residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Gates of Heaven Synagogue, Abundant Life Church and Grace Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in Madison. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Madison is home to the Allen Centennial Gardens and the Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain as well as Bordner Park and Brigham Park. Shopping centers in the area include Brookwood Village Shopping Center, Whitney Square Shopping Center and Walnut Grove Shopping Center. Visitors to Madison can choose from Comfort Inn Madison, Howard Johnson-Plaza Hotel and Country Inn Sts Madison for temporary stays in the area.