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Folger Shakespeare Library Director of Programming

Folger Shakespeare Library

Director of Programming

Shakespeare belongs to you. His world is vast. Come explore.

 - Folger Shakespeare Library


An international hub for Shakespeare scholarship and the study of the early modern period, the Folger Shakespeare Library (Folger) connects the 21st century with William Shakespeare’s work, ideas, and times in which he lived. The Folger is dedicated to cultivating new audiences for a new world, with a renewed and revitalized commitment to connecting Shakespeare’s stories to the world so that all visitors will find their stories reflected. The Folger creates lovers of Shakespeare and the humanities through programs that speak directly and powerfully to the human experience. Programming elevates shared humanity by immersing visitors in encounters with diverse viewpoints around priceless collections, breathtaking spaces, unique performances, and new research.

The Folger’s founders, Henry Clay and Emily Jordan Folger, established the institution in 1932 as a gift to the American people. After opening, the Folger steadily expanded its holdings to become a world-class research center on the early modern age in the West. Its public outreach programs, beginning in the library’s early decades with exhibitions, lectures, and publications, have also grown over time. Today, they include Folger Theatre productions, early-music concerts by the Folger Consort, the O.B. Hardison Poetry series, the Folger Shakespeare Library Editions in their various forms, and a lively array of educational offerings for teachers, students, and families. Many of these programs have roots in the late 1960s and early 1970s and have developed into robust expressions of the Folger’s mission. In 2020, the Folger also celebrated 50 years of the Folger Institute, which builds interdisciplinary communities of scholars for collections-based research and many types of associated programs.

Ongoing programming drives discovery and creates transformative experiences for students of all ages. The Folger is a leader in performance-based education and more than two million teachers and students benefit from a broad variety of programs, exhibits, and events each year. The historic building, which was designed in 1932 by Paul Cret, is undergoing a multiyear, $72-million-dollar major renovation. With an expected completion in 2022, the renovation will expand public space, improve accessibility, and enhance engagement for all visitors. While access to the building is restricted, the Folger boasts a new digital platform called Miranda (named after the character from The Tempest), which holds its archive of collection items and images for scholars and enthusiasts. Reimagined public spaces will include a 12,000-square-foot pavilion and garden, fully accessible with elevators and restrooms, connecting the gardens with all sides of the building. Modern exhibition spaces will display both permanent and temporary collections, with a Great Hall as a centerpiece public exhibition gathering space, including a new café. New study rooms will be available for researchers to meet with curators and conservators, along with a flexible multi-purpose meeting space for seminars and collaborations. The new Education Laboratory will be a home to hands-on demonstrations, interactive workshops, and discussions for learners of all ages, which will enrich and support the education of Shakespeare’s texts.

Located one block from the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC, the Folger is governed by a 20-member board of governors. Director Michael Witmore leads a staff of 115 employees. For the fiscal year ending July 31, 2020, the Folger reported a total revenue of $22.2 million and total expenses of $20.2 million.

Position Summary

The Director of Programming will design, develop, and implement the Folger’s programming. This includes building new opportunities for the discovery, exploration, and interpretation of Shakespeare’s works and creating connections to the diversity of human experience. Sitting at the intersection of exhibitions, education, and performance, the Director Programming will ensure that the Folger is a welcoming and inclusive space. They will build audiences and foster artistic and community relationships that support the mission and elevate the visibility of the organization across a variety of platforms. They will be intellectually curious and eager to engage in dialogue with stakeholders, partners, audiences, scholars, and visitors. This individual will ensure all programming is integrated and effective whether it occurs online, in the building, or in the gardens. Reporting to the Director of the Folger, the Director of Programming will supervise a team of 14 to 20 full-time staff members, including four direct reports—Associate Artistic Producer, Administrative Assistant, Poetry and Consort Program Managers, and Events Publicity and Marketing Manager.

Roles and Responsibilities

Program Vision and Strategy

  • Shape the vision and strategy for inclusive and comprehensive cultural programming that supports the Folger’s mission and weaves together strands of activity throughout the institution.
  • Serve as a key member of the Senior Director team, ensuring the successful implementation of strategic plans, service delivery, and the integration of program activities.
  • Develop program narratives, objectives, and budgets for funding proposals, working closely with the Advancement and Finance Departments.
  • Collaborate across the organization to promote positive interdepartmental planning, communication, and innovation that supports powerful multidisciplinary programming.
  • Ideate and develop new programs that expand the Folger’s role as a center of creative inquiry.
  • Actively support the Folger’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work across the institution.
  • Proactively coordinate with the Program Committee and serve as spokesperson for the program season in presentations to the board, staff, and key stakeholders.

Department Leadership

  • Oversee the Performance and Public Events Division, including all performances, humanities events, poetry, readings, lectures, and other cultural programs such as onsite happenings and festivals.
  • Commission new work in multiple Folger performance spaces.
  • Integrate special exhibitions, tours, and onsite educational activities developed across the organization into a powerful season of public work.
  • Establish program priorities and success metrics that are aligned with organizational and strategic priorities.
  • Closely collaborate with program directors to support the creation of high-quality educational curricula, amplifying the scholarly and faculty expertise of the Folger Institute and Folger Education programs.
  • Set clear expectations for accurate and timely data collection by the programming team, oversee data collection, and utilize data to analyze key drivers and barriers to drive and evaluate progress and performance.
  • Ensure the planning, scheduling, and management of a diverse array of programming activities and an ongoing program evaluation process.
  • Grow, manage, and mentor a diverse and talented staff of professional, creative, technical, clerical, and volunteer workers to ensure patrons, artists, and community members have an inclusive and enjoyable experience.

Community and Stakeholder Engagement

  • Serve as an ambassador and advocate connecting a broad range of stakeholders and communities in programming decisions and discussions.
  • Actively foster outreach and programing partnership development with community cultural institutions in Washington, DC.
  • Convene internal and external advisory groups to develop equitable programs, create consistency in programing across areas, and build marketable annual seasons.
  • Cultivate effective relationships with local, regional, national, and international producers, artists, and organizations to ensure diverse and accessible programming for performances, tours, and online streaming.
  • Drive high-quality humanities programming and maximum utilization of all Folger platforms and channels of engagement.
  • Develop and support strategic partnerships with new and existing organizations to present and promote seasonal programs and calendars.

Traits and Characteristics

The Director of Programming will be a creative and innovative humanities programmer who is energized by new programs and partnerships. They will be receptive to new ideas and collaborative in their approach as they work across the organization and engage community partners. A versatile and people-oriented professional, the Director of Programming will ensure the Folger continues to be a positive and welcoming community. They will value artistic and educational programming that is embedded in scholarship and artistic vibrancy, advancing engagement with Shakespeare and the modern period into the 21st century.

Additional key competencies include:

  • Diplomacy and Flexibility – The capacity to interact effectively and handle difficult or sensitive issues through multiple layers of the institution. The ability to recognize different perspectives, with sincere interest in divergent voices and options, and to readily respond and adapt to changes with minimal resistance.
  • Personal Accountability – The willingness to self-evaluate and answer for personal actions and decisions, recognize and learn from mistakes, and use feedback for personal and performance improvement.
  • Planning, Organizing, and Project Management – The proficiency to develop procedures, processes, and systems for order, accuracy, efficiency, and productivity while allocating resources according to priorities.
  • Leadership and Teamwork – The ability to articulate a vision and create a sense of purpose and direction for internal and external stakeholders, build trust by demonstrating respect and integrity, and create an environment where team members are appreciated and supported.


Qualified candidates will have at bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) in liberal arts, humanities, or other related fields; a master’s degree is preferred. A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience, including at least five years of supervisory experience within multidisciplinary arts or performing arts organization, is required. Knowledge of classical theater, particularly Shakespeare, and of performing arts management is essential. A comfortable fundraiser and spokesperson, the ideal candidate will have experience in program design, production, and budget management.

Compensation and Benefits

The Folger offers competitive compensation, with a salary range between $150,000 and $225,000, and a benefits package that includes annual vacation, sick, and personal time; more than 10 paid holidays; employer paid individual health, dental, and vision insurance; 403(b) with contribution match; life insurance; short- and long-term disability; flexible spending; pretax transit; educational assistance; grant-in-aid for dependents; credit union membership; membership; employee assistance program, and more.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume highlighting relevant and demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Ms. Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Senior Vice President

Arts Consulting Group

292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225


The Folger Shakespeare Library currently defines diversity in compliance with the DC equal opportunity definitions of protected classes: race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, sexual preference or orientation, gender identification, genetic information, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, personal appearance, family responsibilities, student status, political affiliation, veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable federal, district, or local EO laws and regulations. Areas not covered by the DC guidelines are particularly important to pay attention to, including class, economic status, and education levels.

 To provide equal employment and advancement opportunities to all individuals, employment decisions at the Folger are based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. This policy of equal opportunity applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to hiring, placement, promotion, retention, termination, layoff, recall, furlough, transfer, leave of absence, compensation, and training.


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