Cinema theatre manager

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Cinema or theatre managers organise and supervise the operation of cinemas and theatres where films and live performances are shown/exhibited. They manage staff in areas such as the box officeFutureGrowthModerate and front of house, behind the candy bar, and ushering. They train and supervise staff to ensure their work is undertaken correctly, and perform a range of administrative duties such as coordinating rosters and payroll. They also choose and schedule performances and decide on the screening times of films. Cinema and theatre managers work mostly in cities and towns where there are large enough populations to attend regular performances and screenings.

Gift Shop
Theatre Gift Shop


ANZSCO description: Organises and controls the operations of a cinema or theatre. Registration or licensing may be required.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A cinema or theatre manager needs:

  • a passion for film and/or performing arts

  • good organisational skills

  • strong leadership and motivational skills

  • excellent time-management and scheduling skills

  • good communication skills.

Duties and Tasks

  • Create and manage operational budget and all accounts payable and receivable, including payroll

  • Hire, train and create employee work schedules as well as maintenance staff and supervise their performance

  • Maintain stock or store room supplies, taking inventory and ordering supplies and services as needed

  • Plan and oversee the daily running of the facility, ensuring that appropriate staff are scheduled and ensuring everything is prepared for operations

  • Provide exemplary customer service to all customers and guests, getting feedback from customers and handling all complaints to guarantee customer satisfaction

  • Understand applicable health and safety regulations and ensure that all employees adhere to the same standards

Working conditions

Cinema or theatre managers work in cinema complexes, and independent theatres. They often work in both the office and the front of house. They usually work regular hours, but these hours often include late nights and weekends. They are often required to wear a uniform.

Popcorn


Tools and technologies

Cinema or theatre managers use cash registers, computers, calculators and EFTPOS machines. They may need to be familiar with word processing or data management programmes. If they work in a large cinema complex that carries large quantities of stock (in the candy bar for example) they may also use equipment that measures stock. In some cases, and although they are not technically required to use such equipment, it can be useful to have a basic knowledge of projection equipment, or stage lighting and audiovisual equipment.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a cinema or theatre manager without any formal qualifications, however, you can also complete a traineeship. A retail manager (franchise) traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete.

 


Did You Know?

Cinema History in Australia
(
Screen Australia, 1901 -1932)

In 1906, T.J. West was the first Australian to construct a purpose-built hall for exhibiting motion pictures. Before this, films had been exhibited at a range of alternative venues, including converted shops, rented halls and tents (Shirley & Adams 1983, 15; Collins 1987, 5, 10).

Also in 1906, Australia produced what is believed to be the first feature-length fictional film in the world, The Story of the Kelly Gang, directed by the Tait brothers. The film was released the same year, becoming a success in both Australian and British theatres and recouping its reported budget of £1,000 many times over (Shirley & Adams 1983, 16-19; Murray 1994, 7, 10).

Do you want to read more about Ned Kelly? Click here

Poster of The Story of Ned Kelly

Between 1906 and 1914 (outbreak of World War I), motion picture exhibition in Australia flourished.

In 1910, T.J. West controlled 14 permanent cinemas throughout Australia and his venues were estimated to attract a nightly audience of 20,000. By 1911, West’s principal competitor, Cozens Spencer, also had a string of cinemas across the country. Capacities of the West and Spencer theatres typically ranged from 2,000 to 4,000 seats. In these early years, ticket prices in Australia were comparatively high, around 12 times higher than in the US. Australian prices ranged from one to three shillings depending on the location of the seats and up to four for a reserved seat (Shirley & Adams 1983, 22-23; Collins 1987, 7; Sabine 1995, 33).


By 1921, cinema had become the most popular form of entertainment in Australia. The cinema made the largest contribution to entertainment tax receipts in that year, with 68 million admissions compared to less than 16 million for the next two most popular activities combined – live theatre and the horse races.

Cinema-going was also becoming increasingly suburbanised. In NSW, there were over 11 million admissions at suburban cinemas in 1921, compared with less than 8 million at city cinemas (Collins 1987, 3, 29; Sabine 1995, 36). It is estimated that, during the 1920s among a population of in a population of just over 6 million, there were 2.25 million cinema admissions each week, equating to an annual total of 117 million (Collins 1987, 17).

 

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