How to become entertainer

What does an entertainer do?

Entertainers include cabaret and nightclub singers and dancers, musicians, acrobats, jugglers, contortionists, street entertainers, children’s entertainers, mime artists and illusionists. 

They may specialise in one area, such as a magic or circus performing, or they may have several different skills which they combine to create a variety act, such as a stand-up comedian who also sings and plays the piano.

Most entertainers are on the books of one or more agents, who find work for them for a fee or commission. Some entertainers work seasonally for a holiday centre, organised children’s groups or workshops.

When entertainers aren't dazzling crowds, they will often be found researching new material, writing scripts or music, maintaining any equipment they use in their act or attending auditions.


What's the working environment like working as an entertainer?

Hours of work vary and are dependent on the type of work in which they are involved in. Entertainers who perform in the evenings are likely to be working during the day; travelling, rehearsing or creating new material. Many entertainers work part-time or just at weekends, and have a daytime job to support themselves financially.

Some other settings that entertainers can work in include theatres, holiday centres, cruise ships, hotels and community centres and clubs. 

Work can be indoors or outdoors, in environments ranging from a large, hot, smoky nightclub to a tiny platform on a windy seafront.

Full-time or seasonal entertainers can spend long periods away from home.


What does it take to become an entertainer?

To be an entertainer you should:

  • be skilled in your chosen performance areas
  • be outgoing, self-confident and lively
  • enjoy performing in front of different types of audiences in different venues and conditions
  • be versatile and adaptable
  • be resilient and hard-working
  • be original and creative in your ideas and presentation
  • be able to accept criticism and constructive ideas
  • be determined to succeed.


Entertainer Career Opportunities

Entertainers can work for variety shows, nightclubs, holiday centres, circuses, outdoor events, on cruise ships and at private parties.

The entertainment industry is very competitive. It can be difficult to find enough work to make a full-time career.

It may be possible to find work in films or TV. Some entertainers may be involved in promotional/ publicity work for organisations advertising products and services.

Advancement usually comes in the form of increased bookings, earnings and success.


Further information

If you would like to know more about entertainer careers that isn't on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 0800 093 0444

Guild House
Upper St Martin’s Lane
Tel: 020 7379 6000

Skillset Careers
Tel: 08080 300 900

Arts Council England
14 Great Peter Street
Tel: 0845 300 6200

Total Theatre Network
The Power Station
Coronet Street
London N1 6HD
Tel: 020 7729 7944

The Magic Circle
12 Stephenson Way
Tel: 020 7387 2222

Resident Entertainers

Facts and Stats:

  • The first time cinema audiences were treated to a flushing toilet was in Alfred Hitchcock''s Pyscho in 1959

  • So far, the Arts Council has awarded 2164 arts projects £1,016,119,046 of Lottery money
  • Rock legends Led Zeppelin are the most bootlegged artists in the UK. 414 different titles by the band have been seized as bootlegs, compared with 320 of the Beatles and 317 of the Rolling Stones''

  • In 1998, album sales were at an all time high of £1.118 billion in the UK

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  • actor
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  • circus performer
  • classical musician
  • dancer
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  • singer
  • stunt performer
  • Related Performing Arts careers