Venue programmer


Venue programmers are in charge of the artistic programme of a venue (theatres, cultural centers, concert halls etc.) or of temporary settings (festivals). They follow artistic trends and up-coming artists, keep in contact with bookers and agents to build a consistent programme and encourage artistic creation. All of this happens within the boundaries of the artistic and financial scope of the organisation they are involved in. 

Includes venue booker.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to venue programmer:

dance programmer
venue programming assistant
music programmer
theatre programmer
in-house promoter
venue booker & promoter
club programmer
venue booker

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Venue programmer is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Venue programmer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to venue programmer.

assistant stage director
art handler
sound artist
sound editor

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of venue programmer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of venue programmer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

zoo registrar
collection manager
art restorer
musical conductor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of venue programmer.

  • Business management principles: Principles governing business management methods such as strategy planning, methods of efficient production, people and resources coordination.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of venue programmer.

  • Promote event: Generate interest in an event by carrying out promotion actions, such as placing ads or distributing flyers
  • Negotiate artistic productions: Negotiate the terms for artistic productions with the selected companies, keeping within the budgetary limits prepared by the business leadership.
  • Select artistic productions: Research artistic productions and choose which ones could be included in the programme. Initiate contact with the company or agent.
  • Monitor programming finances: Oversee the monitoring of the budgets for each production, and find as many funds and sponsors as necessary in order to contribute to the financial optimisation of the production.
  • Coordinate operational activities: Synchronise activities and responsibilities of the operational staff to ensure that the resources of an organisation are used most efficiently in pursuit of the specified objectives.
  • Engage artistic staff: Search for and engage appropriate staff for upcoming artistic events and productions by recruiting talented and competent employees in order to carry out high-quality artistic projects.
  • Coordinate artistic production: Oversee the day-to-day coordination of production tasks so that the organisation fits within the desired artistic and business policies and in order to present productions in a uniform corporate identity to the public.
  • Program artistic productions: Set up a complete season planning. Meet all requirements in terms of resources, budget and staff, both overall and per production. Ensure compliance with the limits of personnel required by the business direction.
  • Manage venue programme: Coordinate the artists’ tour agenda and availability with the seasonal venue program and respect the deadlines.
  • Keep up with trends: Monitor and follow new trends and developments in specific sectors.
  • Draw up artistic programming policy: Formulate ideas, possible plans and concepts concerning the artistic policy in the medium and short term. More specifically, focus on the season programming in order to contribute to the development of a coherent, high quality and realistic policy by the artistic direction.
  • Communicate in english in a competent way: Competent use of English; R351refers to level C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of venue programmer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Art-historical values: The historical and artistic values implied in examples of one’s branch of art.
  • Musical genres: Different musical styles and genres such as blues, jazz, reggae, rock, or indie.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of venue programmer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Speak different languages: Master foreign languages to be able to communicate in one or more foreign languages.
  • Study music: Study original pieces of music to get well acquainted with music theory and history.
  • Plan musical performances: Schedule rehearsals and music performances, arrange details such as locations, select accompanists and instrumentalists.
  • Collaborate with music librarians: Communicate and work together with music librarians to ensure permanent availability of scores.
  • Develop artistic project budgets: Developing artistic project budgets for approval, estimating deadlines and material costs.
  • Contextualise artistic work: Identify influences and situate your work within a specific trend which may be of an artistic, aesthetic, or philosophical natures. Analyse the evolution of artistic trends, consult experts in the field, attend events, etc.
  • Set sales promotions: Reduce the selling price of products, in order to maximise revenue at various periods of the year.
  • Supervise sales activities: Monitor and oversee the activities related to the ongoing sales in the shop to ensure that sales goals are met, assess areas for improvement, and identify or solve problems that customers could encounter.
  • Develop an artistic network: Generate awareness of a show or event through public relations initiatives. Develop a network of music industry contacts to spread the word about upcoming shows.

ISCO group and title

3339 – Business services agents not elsewhere classified

  1. Venue programmer – ESCO
Last updated on February 21, 2023

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