Entertainer or variety artist


What they do

Entertainers perform live for audiences in a range of artistic and creative works, including theatre, dance, comedy, circus and music. They write and rehearse routines, develop characters, performance styles or other talents, create costumes and props to accompany their act, and perform the act live. Some entertainers may perform illusions or tricks, operate puppets, or tell jokes and perform humorous skits. They may perform their act either for large paying audiences in entertainment venues, or for small private audiences such as children's parties or other such celebrations.

Specialisations include: Busker, Circus artist, Clown, Comedian, Magician/Illusionist, Puppeteer, Ventriloquist

Working conditions

Entertainers work in a variety of contexts. Some may work full-time in their chosen field for a particular performing arts organisation. Others may undertake short-term or contract work, performing a particular piece for a short season and then moving on to another job (sometimes in a completely different industry). Many entertainers work sporadically or part-time, and need to supplement their income with other types ofwork. Some entertainers chose to tour their act, taking it throughout the State, around the country or across the globe performing for new audiences in different locations. They often need to work to strict deadlines, and conditions may be stressful. Many entertainers do not receive a regular salary, but receive a portion of the profits made by entertainment venues, which may vary depending on the size of audiences.

Tools and technologies

Entertainers use costumes, make-up and other props. They may also work on or with sets, as well as with sound and lighting equipment. Some entertainers may use circus equipment such as unicycles, trapeze, stilts or juggling balls. Some also use musical instruments. Most entertainers will need to know how to use office equipment such as computers, phones and photocopiers to undertake administrative tasks, in preparation for a performance.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as an entertainer or variety artist without any formal qualifications. However, entry into this occupation may be improved if you have natural talent or ability or by obtaining formal training or a qualification in performing arts, theatre, acting, circus performance, dance, music, singing or a related area.

Vocational education and training qualifications in music industry (performance) and performing arts is offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and Search on the My Skills website to find your nearest registered provider.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

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