A Contemporary Theatre (ACT)
A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) is a groundbreaking artistic incubator where artistic ambition and civic engagement unite. ACT envisions a world where the power of theatre expands our collective understanding of community and our own humanity. Since its founding in 1965, ACT has continuously made a significant contribution to the vitality of Seattle’s downtown neighborhood and arts community. ACT was Seattle's first theatre dedicated to producing contemporary plays and, in this commitment, made a unique and essential contribution to the city’s theatre scene. A true Seattle landmark, ACT has valued and elevated the work of local theatre artists for more than 50 years and has transformed individual lives through the power of storytelling.
The company is committed making authentic connections with new audiences and partners, exploring insights into shared contemporary culture, and making theatre an act of citizenship that engages audiences in understanding the issues of the time. ACT believes that the arts can be a powerful agent for change in individuals, communities, and societies and supports these mission-critical endeavors through productions of new plays—including 49 world premieres—and supporting young arts organizations through professional partnerships. ACT recognizes that now is a powerful and invigorating moment of change and is seizing this opportunity to become an anti-racist, fully accessible, multicultural theatre that is truly welcoming to all. With the help of artists, staff, and others, both in Seattle and nationally, in conjunction with the demands embedded within “We See You, White American Theatre,” ACT has begun the work to reform its policies and procedures to create change at all levels of the institution.
ACT’s home is the Eagles Auditorium Building (also known as Kreielsheimer Place), a 13-story historic building located in downtown Seattle. ACT shares ownership with Bellwether Housing, which manages 44 apartments in the building. A designated city landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the building has been the home of ACT since 1996. Completed in 1925, the facility has two primary stages, the Allen Theatre, which accommodates 434 seats in the round, and the Falls Theatre, which seats 409 people. Other spaces include the 75-seat Eulalie Scandiuzzi Space, the multi-purpose 150-seat Bullitt Cabaret, and several other elegant event spaces that ACT counts among its earned revenue opportunities.
ACT is governed by a 25-member board of trustees, led by Chair Dr. Eric Bennett. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019, ACT reported total revenue of $6.2 million, with approximately $2.7 million from contributions and grants and approximately $3.5 million from program service revenue. Total operating expenses were approximately $6.3 million.
An equal co-leader with Artistic Director John Langs, the Managing Director will create the artistic, financial, and institutional course that will best promote and serve ACT’s mission and values as set forth by the board. The Managing Director will commit to equity, inclusion, and diversity and translate these principles into action throughout the organization. A collaborative leader, the Managing Director will build a culture of artistic excellence, financial stability, safety, and well-being. They will excel at overcoming challenges and building internal relationships while also serving as one of ACT’s primary external ambassadors. The Managing Director will monitor and manage the organization’s financial health as well as administer all contracts with artists, unions, vendors, and other entities. This person will ensure the ACT team is supported and will embody the five main values of ACT’s culture: intentionality, playfulness, transformation, transparency, and curiosity. This individual will execute critical decision making regarding ACT’s historic facility, reinvigorate marketing initiatives with an emphasis on utilizing new technology, and fortify fundraising strategies to build contributed revenue, including a potential capital campaign.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Vision and Leadership
- Serve as a committed, visionary, and accessible leader for ACT with a true connection to the organization’s community of artists, audiences, and donors.
- Provide an inspired and clear vision for the Eagles Auditorium Building and lead the staff and board in creating a strategy regarding the facility’s short- and long-term options and goals.
- Demonstrate a collaborative leadership style in a wide range of communities and settings that inspires internal and external stakeholders to participate in ACT’s vibrant and exciting future.
- Embrace the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access to ensure an artistic and organizational culture that respects different perspectives and nurtures an environment of empowerment at all levels.
- Leverage board members’ skills and networks to strengthen board governance in support of the organization.
- Communicate openly, consistently, effectively, and collaboratively with staff members, artists, the board, and other stakeholders.
- Utilize the input of audiences, staff members, board members, artists, and other stakeholders to fulfill ACT’s strategic goals and action plans.
- Partner with the Artistic Director to ensure dynamic and diverse program offerings that create sustainable pathways for new relationships and revenue opportunities while staying loyal to ACT’s values and principles.
- Nurture relationships with individual and institutional funders and expand the network of supporters to realize the organization’s mission.
- Guide and support marketing and public relations plans to refresh ACT’s brand and identity and to enhance audience growth and engagement.
Relationship Building and Community Engagement
- Lead efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion as a key element of community engagement, including but not limited to the areas of audience development, workforce vitality, board participation, vendor access, and programmatic vibrancy.
- Represent the organization throughout the many diverse parts of the community, engaging actively with civic and organizational partners, elected officials, media, and other external stakeholders.
- Maintain and enhance the relationship ACT has built with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, other labor unions, and collectives through collegial partnership and effective negotiation.
- Create and maintain strong ties with community decision makers, government leaders, audiences, and the arts community, finding collaborative ways to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Affirm and grow ACT’s role in the ecosystem of a vital regional arts community with multiple constituents and develop relationships that enhance the goals of that larger community.
Administrative and Organizational Management
- Supervise a diverse staff to ensure audiences, artists, and community members have a welcoming and high-quality experience.
- Maintain and expand an efficient and effective organizational structure for fundraising, programming, organizational management, fiduciary excellence, and project leadership.
- Oversee all contracting with external agents, including the Actors’ Equity Association, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, USAA insurance agreements, leases, rights/royalties, and vendors.
- Foster collaboration to engage and align diverse constituents while being decisive and communicating decisions with diplomacy, empathy, and respect.
- Provide organization-wide opportunities for staff to access the tools, resources, and training to create and sustain a culture of equity, inclusion, and justice.
- Build self-sufficient teams through training, goal setting, and planned delegation.
- Partner with the Artistic Director to provide inspirational leadership and direction to ACT staff members.
- Hire, train, mentor, evaluate, and create accountability measures for staff members and volunteers while actively addressing their concerns in creating a safe work environment.
- Assess current technological resources and practices to ensure maximum efficiency and results.
- Create a culture of continuous innovation focused on improving administrative processes.
Traits and Characteristics
The Managing Director will be a transformative, innovative, and strategic leader who can bring together multiple constituencies to achieve a common vision. This individual will have the ability to work in an intense environment, prioritizing tasks and responding to the needs of others with critical thinking, tenacity, and resiliency. A decisive and business-minded leader with a sense of adventure and passion for theatre, the Managing Director will be receptive to new ideas, opportunities, and innovation while effectively leveraging organizational, human, financial, and technological resources. This individual will have the capacity to discern competing priorities and embrace opportunities in a timely manner while quickly adapting during periods of uncertainty.
Other key competencies of this role include:
- Personal Accountability – The willingness to self-evaluate, learn from mistakes, take responsibility for personal actions and decisions, accept setbacks, look for ways to progress, and understand how obstacles impact results.
- Diplomacy and Leadership – The capacity to listen to and understand different perspectives, handle difficult issues with sensitivity and respect, and communicate effectively across diverse constituencies and hierarchical and functional borders.
- Resiliency – The recognition that criticism is an opportunity to improve with the ability to quickly recover from adversity, overcome setbacks, and remain optimistic when working through obstacles and challenges.
- Flexibility – The agility to respond promptly to shifts in priorities and tasks with minimal resistance as well as accept new ideas and approaches.
A minimum of seven years of leadership experience in an innovative arts-based nonprofit organization is required. Expertise in the management of a multi-venue public events facility is necessary. A profound and demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access are required, as well as experience navigating change and inspiring a high-achieving team of creative professionals and administrators. A strong background in community-centric relationship building is needed. Possessing exceptional interpersonal skills, the ideal candidate will be creative and committed to collaboration. Proven results in fundraising and comprehensive contributed and earned revenue skills are highly desirable, along with a knowledge and passion for innovative technology. A broad range of life experience is welcome.
Compensation and Benefits
ACT offers competitive compensation, with a budgeted salary of $133,000 (increasing to $144,000 as of January 1, 2022) and a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, life, and short-term disability insurances, paid time-off, and paid holidays.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel (888) 234.4236, Ext. 227
ACT commits to creating a more racially representative and equitable community so that it may continue to build bridges between diverse members of the community through high-quality programming.
Click here for the downloadable PDF.