Founded in 1991 by James Houghton and based in Manhattan, New York City, Signature Theatre (Signature) celebrates playwrights and gives them an artistic home, making an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work. Signature produces several plays by each resident writer and delivers an intimate and immersive journey into each playwright’s vision. Playwrights-in-Residence have included many illustrious and well-established playwrights, as well as contemporary and emerging ones, including Edward Albee, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Tony Kushner, Dave Malloy, Arthur Miller, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Sam Shepard, Anna Deavere Smith, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, and Lauren Yee. Signature, its productions, and its resident writers have been recognized with more than 100 awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes, 41 Obie Awards, 15 Drama Desk Awards, 32 Lucille Lortel Awards, and many others. In 2014 Signature became the first New York City company to receive the Regional Theatre Tony Award.
Signature’s current home is The Pershing Square Signature Center (The Center) located on 42nd Street in the heart of New York City’s theater district. It is the only performing arts center to have been built in New York City since Lincoln Center. Designed by Frank Gehry, The Center is comprised of three unique theater spaces and two studios, including the Irene Diamond Stage, The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre, The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre, and The Ford Studio. Its spacious lobby with a café presents SigSpace, which brings dynamic artistic programming to The Center's public spaces, sustaining it as a free public workspace and social hub for New York City artists. In addition to its use for theatre, film, television, and photography, The Center can also be rented out for corporate events.
Signature is renowned for its residency programs, which provide opportunities for multiple Playwrights-in-Residence to produce work at the same time. The Residency 1 program is a celebration and exploration of a single writer’s body of work over the course of a year. The current Residency 1 playwright is Anna Deavere Smith. The Residency 5 program supports multiple playwrights as they build bodies of work by guaranteeing each writer three productions of new plays over a five-year period. The upcoming Launchpad Residency is an incubator for early career playwrights, offering a broad range of opportunities over three years, including two $15,000 commissions, a full production and a full workshop production, guided mentorship, a week-long writing retreat outside of New York City, and access to private workspace at Signature.
Signature is deeply committed to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) and is continually building toward a more just, open, and democratic theatre to celebrate playwrights and welcome all to its artistic home. In 2018 Signature established an EDIA Staff Committee. Comprised of volunteer staff, this committee meets regularly to discuss issues related to EDIA work with the intention of transforming Signature in a place of cultural equity. There is also a Board EDIA Committee, which works closely with the EDIA Staff Committee to ensure that people at all levels of the organization are dedicated to advancing EDIA work throughout the institution. EDIA initiatives include supporting emerging writers from historically underrepresented communities, committing to hiring diverse artistic teams, and lowering barriers to access by offering Choose What You Pay pricing options for shows. The Signature Ticket Initiative is a ticket subsidy program that makes seats for every performance affordable.
Signature has a Board of Trustees led by Chairman Edward Norton. Paige Evans has served as Artistic Director since 2016. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, Signature reported a total revenue of $10.7 million, with $5.6 million from contributions and grants and $3.2 million from program services. Total expenses were $14.9 million.
Reporting to the Board of Trustees and partnering with the Artistic Director, the Executive Director will provide strategic leadership, champion a positive culture, support Signature’s exemplary programs, and oversee services and operations. The Executive Director will monitor and manage the organization’s financial health as well as oversee all contracts with artists, unions, vendors, and other entities. This individual will execute critical and proactive decision making, reinvigorate marketing initiatives with an emphasis on brand awareness, and fortify fundraising strategies to build contributed revenue. The position will define, develop, and implement priorities that advance the organization’s mission and strategic goals while ensuring board engagement and management team alignment with those priorities. The Executive Director will invigorate fund development and earned revenue strategies while providing overall operational and fiscal oversight. The successful candidate will build an organizational culture of teamwork, accountability, and collegiality characterized open communication and strategic fiscal management.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Vision and Leadership
- Establish the organization’s strategic direction and maintain financial accountability and responsibility in partnership with the Artistic Director.
- Demonstrate a collaborative leadership style with the Artistic Director that encourages artistic innovation and fiscal responsibility.
- Prioritize EDIA and anti-racism work in every aspect of all management decisions to ensure an organizational culture that respects different perspectives and nurtures an environment of empowerment at all levels.
- Support ongoing relationships and manage contract negotiations with significant partners, including but not limited to Actors' Equity Association, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, United Scenic Artists, League of Resident Theatres.
- Ensure Signature Theater offers a welcoming and inviting environment for the New York City theatre community
Fiscal Responsibility and Oversight
- Demonstrate solid fiscal and business acumen and ensure the highest levels of financial accountability.
- Control expenditures, in collaboration with the Director of Finance, while maintaining the quality of the work, achievement of the mission, and reputation of Signature.
- Manage financial reporting systems to ensure that all staff have the data they need to manage individual budgets.
- Provide analysis, develop earned and contributed revenue forecasting models and scenario plans, and make recommendations to support decision making about Signature’s finances.
- Lead the development and management of organizational budgets and implement internal controls to ensure Signature's operational and fiscal integrity.
Contributed and Earned Revenue Enhancement
- Lead the development, implementation, and management of new revenue streams to maximize income, with a specific focus on utilizing the facility.
- Creatively find ways to monetize the space, increasing rentals to meet financial goals and support Signature’s brand.
- Cultivate and nurture relationships with individual donors, potential corporate sponsors, foundations, trustees, and other funders, in collaboration with the Artistic Director and Development Department, to support increased contributed revenue.
- Enhance and guide a marketing and communication strategy that highlights Signature’s unique mission and maximizes earned revenue opportunities.
Administrative and Organizational Management
- Continue to grow a positive culture and work environment that supports cohesive, creative, and inclusive work, where all departments are equally valued and staff of all genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds are appreciated.
- Continue and deepen Signature’s commitment to EDIA by building a spirit of inclusion for audiences of all backgrounds.
- Communicate effectively with all staff and board in full transparency.
- Mentor staff by providing opportunities for professional development and growth.
- Collaborate with the board to grow and diversify board participation.
- Provide organization-wide opportunities for staff to access the tools, resources, and training to create and sustain a culture of equity, inclusion, and justice.
- Improve maintenance of the space, amplifying its use as a community hub.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a decisive and self-confident leader, able to communicate clearly and effectively with all people internally and externally. This individual will think strategically and innovatively in approaching problem solving. With a collaborative and approachable demeanor, the Executive Director will create a culture of enthusiasm and trust throughout the organization. The Executive Director will be committed to the values of EDIA and strive to make Signature a welcoming space for all people through empathetic leadership and effective conflict resolution.
Other key competencies include:
- Personal Accountability – The ability to self-evaluate and take responsibility for actions and results while recognizing mistakes and accepting feedback.
- Teamwork and Diplomacy – The capability to cooperate with others in working towards building consensus, respect team members and their perspectives, and effectively and tactfully handle difficult situations.
- Planning, Organizing, and Time and Priority Management – The dexterity to prioritize and complete tasks within specified time frames, using logical and practical approaches to establish courses of action and ensure work is completed effectively.
- Leadership and Resiliency – The capacity to inspire people and create a sense of purpose, quickly recovering from challenges and remaining optimistic in light of adversity.
No specific educational credentials or years of experience is required. Qualified candidates will demonstrate solid experience in fiscal accountability, developing new revenue sources, and building and strengthening strategic partnerships. A track record of nonprofit fundraising success is highly desired, as is experience with facilities maintenance and development. Performing arts sector experience is not essential, although a deep passion for theatre is expected. Exceptional communication skills are critical.
Compensation and Benefits
Signature provides a competitive and equitable compensation package with a salary range of $280,000 to $320,000. Benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, personal days, and holidays; health, long-term disability, and life insurance; and a voluntary 403(b) retirement plan.
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:
Geoff Chang, Vice President
1040 First Avenue, Suite 352
New York, NY 10022-2991
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 218
Click here for the downloadable PDF.