Overture Center for the Arts



Overture Center for the Arts

Chief Operating Officer


Overture Center for the Arts (Overture Center), dedicated on September 18, 2004 in the heart of beautiful downtown Madison, Wisconsin, exists to support and elevate the community’s creative culture, economy, and quality of life through the arts. Overture Center’s commitment to be the region’s preeminent stage for wondrous artistry, to develop diverse and emerging talent, and to be the arts’ epicenter for community engagement is unwavering. It aspires to provide extraordinary experiences for all.

Overture Center features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, nine resident companies, and hundreds of local artists engage people in nearly 700,000 educational and artistic experiences each year. Overture Center takes great pride in offering spectacular performances as well as free and low-cost programs to nurture creativity, curiosity, and diversity while helping drive the local economy and supporting a vibrant and growing city.

Designed by César Pelli, the centerpiece of the 388,000-square-foot facility is the 2,251-seat Overture Hall, a crisp geometric form in limestone and glass with a grand lobby that extends over the sidewalk to shelter the entrance. Inside the lobby, light-wood ceilings and travertine flooring all help create a warm and serene atmosphere. In the auditorium, a cascade of softly lit balconies and an undulating acoustic ceiling define a contemporary space. Unobstructed sightlines, excellent acoustics, and state-of-the-art technical support enable flawless performances for music, theater, dance, and much more.

The 1,089-seat Capitol Theater retains original details, including its Grand Barton Organ, ornate ceiling, wall niches, proscenium arch, and chandelier lighting. The Playhouse, a 350-seat thrust theater, was redesigned to add three flexible black box theaters. An architectural landmark, the design of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art consists of a triangular four-story glass lobby and stairs that recalls the traditional entrances of museums around the world. By integrating existing venues and elements of historic buildings, the complex maintains the pedestrian-friendly character of downtown Madison. The circa 1920 stone façade of the former Yost’s Department Store was retained as an entrance to the entire Overture Center. At the center of the complex, the glass façades of Overture Hall links with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, a separate nonprofit organization with independent governance, operations, and building maintenance. A new glass dome brings sunlight to all levels of the building. Inside is a four-story rotunda with art galleries off the main lobby and the Rotunda Stage, an indoor amphitheater.

In addition to its dynamic resident companies, part of Overture Center’s great value is in its presentation of performances. The 2022-2023 season brings over 37 performances, including the Tony-Award winning productions of Six and Hadestown and five other Broadway titles, as well as Overture Presents touring productions, the acclaimed “UpClose” series and Cabaret Series, National Geographic Live presentations, and free Kids in the Rotunda shows.

Overture Center also recognizes its tremendous and unique responsibility to the community to ensure it is truly a reflection of the society in which it exists and the humanity that it shares. Representing a variety of constituencies, Overture’s Community Advisory Council makes recommendations to Overture Center staff regarding community and educational programming. The Council recommends opportunities to deepen and enrich community engagement and helps develop relationships with community constituents and organizations.

Overture Center Foundation, Inc., a private 501c(3) nonprofit corporation, became the sole operator of Overture Center on January 1, 2012. Overture Center Foundation is governed by a 24-member board of directors, chaired by Pablo Sanchez. Overture Center engages a total full-time staff of 70 employees, more than 136 part-time and variable front of house staff, more than 256 variable stage hands, and more than 500 volunteers.

Its 2019/20 Annual Report stated revenues of $22.6 million, which included $17.6 million in program services, $2.3 million in contributions and grants, and $1.6 million through the generosity of the City of Madison. 2020/21 financial information is not included as it is not reflective of a typical year for Overture Center due to the impact of the COVID pandemic on its operations.


With a population exceeding 258,000 residents, Madison is a city of neighborhoods and strong communities with a vibrant cultural hub of art, music, food, and more. The capital of Wisconsin, the state’s fastest-growing city, Madison has an economy that features a large and growing technology sector and serves as the home to many corporate headquarters. Access to schools, hospitals, and infrastructure; affordability and income; and how residents take advantage of those opportunities are a few key reasons why the Madison region and Dane County continue to be one of the best places to live, work, study, and enjoy a high quality of life.

With almost 48,000 students, the University of Wisconsin-Madison strongly believes in improving people's lives outside of the classroom. Known as the Wisconsin Idea, this tradition includes collecting and distributing farm crops for needy families, mentoring and tutoring programs for local school children, and a university policy that offers free humanities courses to low-income adults. Educated young professionals continue to move into high-density rental units throughout Madison's downtown area, with high demand fueled by the proximity of the university and large private-sector employers.

The five lakes in the city's vicinity offer ample recreational opportunities, such as fishing and boating, and the 1,260-acre University of Wisconsin Arboretum provides 20 miles of trails. USA Today ranked Madison in its list of 10 best cycling towns due to its widespread network of bike paths and lanes and its convenient bike share program, BCycle. NerdWallet named Madison as the greenest city in America, awarding high marks for air quality and a ratio of 12.7 parks per 10,000 residents—more than any other city. The ranking considered Madison's 200 miles of hiking and biking trails and the fact that there are more bicycles in the city than cars. Madison also has a relatively high number of green jobs and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings and venues.

Position Summary

As a member of Overture’s executive shared leadership team, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will be results-oriented with overall responsibility for providing strategic leadership in all aspects of venue management, safety, and security in the multi-venue facility. This resourceful individual will oversee the planning and management of events, ensuring the development and implementation of innovative and cost-effective systems. They will serve as the primary steward of the facility, the front- and back-of-house event operations, food and beverage operation, regular building operation and maintenance, and major capital improvements. They will be knowledgeable about current and emerging venue management technology, trends, and tools. A natural collaborator, the COO will advocate for and with the internal and external stakeholders who utilize the Overture Center’s facilities and ensure that every Overture Center customer experience is enhanced by the high-quality venues and services. The COO will possess a deep appreciation for the arts and will champion the continuing improvement of the Overture Center’s facilities, ensuring the organization’s long-term success.

Roles and Responsibilities

Venue Operations, Planning, and Management

  • Oversee and manage all venue operations, including backstage, front of house, concessions, hospitality, security, building engineering, parking, and maintenance teams, ensuring facilities are properly and efficiently utilized.
  • Ensure all advance work and support of production are provided in a timely and professional manner.
  • Serve as the main contact for Overture’s Center resident companies.
  • Build, implement, and maintain innovative policies and procedures that elevate service and support to all internal and external stakeholders.
  • Communicate regularly with staff to ensure timely response to venue scheduling deadlines and technical needs.
  • Verify that all facilities are managed in compliance with codes, ordinances, regulations, laws, and other requirements.
  • Commit to customer satisfaction with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs, anticipating challenges, and developing appropriate solutions.

Strategic Leadership

  • Monitor and evaluate operational processes and develop new and revised methods and procedures as appropriate.
  • Inspire, mentor, evaluate, and guide a high-performing team that supports the organization’s mission and strategic plan, a culture of inclusion, growth, continuous improvement, and values staff well-being.
  • Research and develop opportunities for shared inventory, services, and resources among venues to create impactful efficiencies.
  • Ensure economies of scale in facility purchases, usage, and upgrades across facilities.
  • Develop the long-term capital planning for all venues, including plans for repair and replacement of assets.

Executive Administration

  • Provide concise, relevant, and timely updates on venue financials and operations to fulfill policy-setting and decision-making responsibilities.
  • Utilize a transparent leadership approach in collaboration with the board of directors, executive leadership team, various committees, community partners, resident companies, staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Lead efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion as a key element of community engagement including expanding relationships with diverse vendors, volunteers, and staff.
  • Oversee the preparation of the annual operating budget in concert with the other members of the leadership team.
  • Regularly review all departmental financials to ensure solvency in the division.
  • Actively engage with comprehensive networks of industry professionals by participating in relevant fieldwide convenings to stay current with industry trends and innovations.
  • Build strong, positive relationships with government officials, civic leaders, and industry innovators in support of the Overture Center’s mission and operational goals.

Traits and Characteristics

The COO will be a resourceful leader who values frequent interaction and collaboration with others. They will possess exceptional people skills and the capacity to work collaboratively with staff, customers, and other stakeholders. Receptive and decisive, they will be a clear communicator, practical thinker, and active listener. The COO will be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, prioritizing tasks, and responding to the needs of others. Critical thinking, flexibility, accountability, and a sense of humor are all important traits of the successful COO. The COO will bring a passion for and an appreciation of the arts’ inherent social, educational, and economic impacts.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership and Decision Making – The clarity to prioritize strategic initiatives while creating a sense of direction embedded in the active participation of a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Time and Priority Management – The capacity to work within established time frames and ascertain top priorities for optimum productivity with procedures, processes, and systems that result in order, accuracy, and efficiency.
  • Customer Focus – The competency to prioritize customer satisfaction with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs and the ability to anticipate challenges and develop appropriate solutions.
  • Personal and Professional Accountability – The ability to take responsibility for meeting the highest ethical standards in establishing relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and calculated risks of various options.


Senior management experience in a multifaceted, multi-venue public events facility is required. Experience supervising staff, managing budgets, and expertise working with external stakeholders is needed. The ideal candidate will possess exceptional leadership skills, creativity, and a deep understanding of the connection between world-class venues and excellent customer experiences. Knowledge and passion for innovative industry technologies are necessary. A demonstrable commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion is essential.

Compensation and Benefits

Overture Center offers a salary range between $130,000 and $140,000 commensurate with experience. The total benefits package includes vacation and holiday time as well as medical, life, vision, and dental insurances, and short- and long-term disability. Retirement benefits are provided through a 401(k) plan, with Overture Center matching 100 percent of deferrals up to one percent, plus 50 percent of deferrals over one percent and up to six percent of employee compensation with immediate vesting.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments, please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Jenna Deja, Vice President

201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 227
Email    Overture@ArtsConsulting.com

Overture Center celebrates the rich traditions, heritage, and culture that thrive long before our arrival and respectfully recognizes this Ho-Chunk land and affirms that we are better when we stand together.

Overture Center is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, recognizing that innovation using diversity of thought will enable us to take advantage of the opportunities and address the challenges we will face.

Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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