Job type


£15k - £33k

Typical salary

18 – 47

Hours per week

Entertainers perform for audiences in stage, cabaret or comedy shows.

More info

  • Perform for people as a singer, comedian, magician or general entertainer
  • You'll need creativity, confidence and determination to succeed in a competitive environment
  • Hours can be irregular and you'll spend a lot of your time travelling

As an entertainer you'll work in places like theatres, holiday centres, hotels, cruise ships, community centres and clubs. You may also work at festivals, or in private homes (especially if you're a children's entertainer). You may specialise in one skill, or combine several to create an act. You could perform solo or as part of a group. Your performance may include singing, stand-up comedy, playing music, tribute acts, magic, children's entertainment, or mime.


When not performing, you'll be:

  • Finding and rehearsing new material for your act
  • Attending auditions
  • Looking after costumes or equipment
  • Dealing with your finances and administration
  • Promoting your act

If you work on a cruise ship or at a holiday centre, you may have extra duties like organising children's activities and looking after holidaymakers. You might also combine performing with other types of work, like teaching or running workshops for children or adults.


Your working hours could be irregular and unsocial. Most performances take place in the evenings and at weekends, but you might also have daytime shows, rehearsals and auditions. You could perform full-time or part-time, do one-off performances, or regular weekly or monthly slots.

Sometimes you might be booked for a whole season, like appearing in a musical or at a holiday centre. Work can be indoors or on the street, in circus tents, or on outdoor stages. You might spend a lot of time travelling with long periods away from home. For some jobs you'll need your own transport and a driving licence.

The amount you earn will depend on the venues you play at and how many bookings you get.

You'll need

For this role you'll need to be talented in your chosen performance area, friendly, outgoing and confident, able to adapt your act to suit your audience, energetic and determined to succeed, and able to accept direction and criticism.

You can apply directly for jobs. The most important thing is to have a skill or talent that an audience will enjoy.

You do not need formal qualifications, although you may find it useful to have trained in music, dance or acting, perhaps from taking a performing arts course or graded exams. You could also do a degree in a relevant subject like contemporary theatre and performance, acting, music or comedy however, qualifications may not be essential if you show enough talent at an audition.

It may also be useful to do a college course in performing arts, musical theatre, drama and theatre, or music.

You can develop your skills by doing a specialist course in a particular area of entertaining like comedy, puppetry or circus skills.

You'll often have to pass auditions to get work. It may help to find an agent who can market your talents.

You may also find it useful to join Equity for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Some entertainers are self-taught. You could get experience as an entertainer in different ways, including taking part in open-mic spots or talent competitions, working at a holiday centre or theme park, performing in local clubs - you may have to work without pay at first or taking part in street performance or fringe festivals.


You could move into related roles like entertainment agent, talent spotter, venue management, or TV or radio presenting.