Let Me Entertain You
Entertainment Jobs Abroad
The life of the aspiring actor or dancer is often recognized to be incredibly difficult and badly paid. Many of us may have laced our childhood with dreams of fame derived from acting, dancing, or singing but gradually gave up, moving towards courses, jobs and careers with better “prospects.” There do exist some jobs, however, that can inject a little of this exciting experience into your life before you give up on your dreams. If you are particularly good at it, you could actually make it your career. This is the job of the entertainer overseas, usually seasonal, dancing and singing, and almost always in the hotter climates.
The entertainment industry as a whole is huge, and this is the true of entertainment in tourism. Many hotels, campsites, and resorts provide some sort of entertainment for their guests, be it a one-man bingo show, or a full blown entertainment team who perform well-choreographed musicals and dance shows. These teams are needed all over Europe and the rest of the world, especially places like Mexico, Spain, India, Egypt, Turkey and Greece, but even the cooler climate of Britain attracts enough resort guests to hire huge numbers of entertainers.
Entertainment salaries vary dramatically according to experience. You might begin on something as low as 600 Euros a month (approximately US$900), but this always comes with room and board. With experience and languages the salary can rise to 1,500 Euros (approximately US$2,250) or more. The accommodations may vary from a shared room in large staff quarters to an independent apartment in the city. Don't expect the food to be gourmet, but for such a unique traveling experience, it is ideal. You will learn in an intensively short period of time how to perform in front of large audiences, how to use a microphone, presentation skills, public relations, and many more skills that will be useful in later life. In addition, you will have the opportunity to become physically fit and have an incredible amount of fun!
The job of the entertainer is varied, long and demanding. The performance in the evening is usually the tip of the iceberg. Rehearsals can be difficult and intense, and all of this must be fitted around the daily activities that entertainers are often expected to carry out with the guests. Such activities are split into approximately three categories: Adult activities (dance lessons, archery and shooting competitions, volleyball, tennis, football etc.); junior activities (computer game activities billiards, water polo etc); and children's activities (anything from Mini-Olympics to nature walks to arts and crafts). You will usually be assigned to one of these areas, often depending upon previous experience. Many entertainers have to share an evening rotation of performing the “mini-disco” for the children, an hour-long medley of fun dances and games. If all of this work sounds hellish, you'd probably be better off reading another article in my series on short-term jobs abroad. But if the idea of teaching simple dances to fifty or more children sounds fun, maybe this is the job for you.
After the day’s activities, the most thrilling part of the job (in my opinion) is that of performing on stage in front of up to thousands of people. If it is high season, you will often have the opportunity to work with a large entertainment team. This usually means mounting musical productions such as “Grease,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Starlight Express” (yes, on roller skates), “The Lion King,” and “Cabaret,” among many others. You may be involved in every process, from set design to costume-making to the final performance.
I fell into this job accidentally while working on environmental education. Somebody was ill and they needed a replacement to play a small part in “Chicago” that evening. I learned the dances during the day and that night, wobbled onto the stage in suspenders and gloves, trembling through the dances until, relieved, the show finally ended. The experience at the following performances was better. Three years later I was given the main female role in the “Lion King” and couldn't wait to get started.
You may assume that the only way to find a job such as this would require dance training or acting experience. But this isn't always true. The requirements for these positions vary according to the company, but often the most important requirement over and above any experience is knowledge of languages. English is usually mandatory but you will often need to speak the language of the host country. However, there are occasionally exceptional requirements in order to make the team multi-lingual. When applying for a job in Spain, for example, if you speak English and German but not Spanish, sometimes this will suffice.
What you will also need is tons of confidence, creative ideas, and lots of energy!
For More Information
www.acle.org is an Italian company that takes actors (people with acting experience or training) on tour around Italy. The organizaton also requires teaching English in schools through drama and singing.
StagePool is a job board for performing jobs worldwide.
www.learn4good.com: Search for "animator" or "'entertainer." Great for U.S. citizens as the jobs advertised here are international.
||Caroline Nye has traveled and worked extensively all over the world, working in organic farming, wildlife guiding, teaching and musical performance, as well as volunteering in various international development projects. She has had articles and short stories published in Amateur Photographer (UK), Matador Travel, and The Healing Project book series, and recently won a Bunac Green Cheese scholarship for humorous writing. Caroline is currently managing a dance team in Spain.