Bardavon Presents

Executive Director


The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc. (“Bardavon”) owns and operates the 944-seat historic theater in Poughkeepsie, the oldest continuously operating theater in the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC), Kingston’s premier performing arts venue featuring the largest proscenium theater between Manhattan and Albany with a 1510-seat capacity.

Bardavon offers affordable, world-class arts education programs, music, dance, theater, live in HD broadcasts, and classic films for the diverse audiences of the Hudson Valley. More than 100,000 residents and visitors enjoy renowned and emerging performers each year in productions that inspire, entertain, and educate people of all ages, ethnicities, and incomes. Diverse events attract audiences from the state’s nine-county Hudson Valley Region that lies between Albany and New York City. Many patrons travel regularly from NYC, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and beyond. Some of the extraordinary actors and musicians to have performed at the Bardavon include Al Pacino, Norah Jones, Lou Reed, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Lily Tomlin, Yo-Yo Ma, and Tony Bennett.

Bardavon’s education program brings 20,000 young people to its venues each year to experience world-class theater, music, and dance performances by international companies. Residencies provide an additional 3,300 regional students with workshops and assemblies in their schools. Through education programs, Bardavon partners with regional schools to offer unique arts-based learning experiences for students and innovative teaching tools for educators. Among the high-quality education programs for students in kindergarten through grade 12 over the last 20 years have been the Young Playwrights Festival, Night of the Big Bands, IABAS Traditional Brazilian Band, Circus Goes Green, Arm of the Sea Theatre, and Hip-Hop Theater. In addition to Bardavon’s programming, audiences also enjoy many events hosted by outside community groups in the venues.

Bardavon is governed by a 29-person Board of Directors led by President, Stacey Renner, with a full-time staff of approximately 21 currently led by Executive Director Chris Silva. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024, Bardavon estimates $4.75 million in revenues, with $875,000 in ticket sales, $1.1 million in contributed revenue, $2.8 million in investment income, fees, rentals, and fundraising events, and expenses of $4.8 million.


Poughkeepsie, located in the Hudson River Valley, has been called "The Queen City of the Hudson".  It was settled midway between the New York metropolitan area and the now state capital of Albany in the 17th century by the Dutch and became New York State's second capital shortly after the American Revolution. The City of Poughkeepsie and the neighboring Town of Poughkeepsie are commonly referred to collectively with a combined population of 77,048 in 2020. Poughkeepsie reflects a blend of cultures, ages, and backgrounds, contributing to its dynamic atmosphere. The city boasts a mix of urban and suburban lifestyles, attracting young professionals, families, and retirees alike.

Economically, Poughkeepsie thrives on a variety of industries. Historically, it has been a center for manufacturing, particularly in the areas of IBM computers and textiles. However, in recent years, it has diversified its economic base to include healthcare, education, and technology. The presence of Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Vassar College, and Marist College, along with a burgeoning tech sector, provides ample employment opportunities and stability. Poughkeepsie's education system is highly regarded, with quality public schools supplemented by esteemed private institutions. Marist College, renowned for its business and liberal arts programs, contributes to the city's intellectual landscape. The city also hosts branches of Duchess Community College and the Culinary Institute of America, further enriching educational options.

Beyond academics, Poughkeepsie offers an array of amenities that enhance its appeal as a place to live. The scenic beauty of the Hudson River Valley provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, and boating. Poughkeepsie is also home to the Walkway Over the Hudson; the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.

Poughkeepsie boasts a rich array of art and cultural amenities that contribute to its vibrant community fabric. For art enthusiasts, the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center celebrates the region's history and culture through exhibits, events, educational programs, and The Art Effect, where youth can explore, experience, and excel in the arts.  Poughkeepsie's cultural scene extends beyond traditional venues, with numerous public art installations scattered throughout the city. From murals adorning building facades to sculptures in public parks, these artistic expressions enhance the cityscape. The city's commitment to the arts is further exemplified by its annual events, such as the Poughkeepsie Open Studios weekend, where local artists open their studios to the public, providing an opportunity for interaction and appreciation of their work. First Friday Poughkeepsie Art Walk invites visitors to explore galleries, shops, and restaurants while enjoying live music and art demonstrations. Cultural diversity is celebrated through events like the Poughkeepsie Latino Festival and the Middle Main Initiative's multicultural programming, which highlight the contributions of various ethnic communities to the city's cultural tapestry.

Just a 30-minute drive from Poughkeepsie, Kingston, New York, boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. As the first capital of New York State, its historic district showcases beautifully preserved architecture, charming cafes, and artisanal shops. The Rondout waterfront area offers scenic views of the Hudson River and hosts vibrant events like the Kingston Farmers Market and the Maritime Museum. Nature enthusiasts can explore the nearby Catskill Mountains or take a stroll along the scenic trails of the nearby Ashokan Reservoir. For art aficionados, Kingston is home to numerous galleries and studios. Bardavon/UPAC co-founded the Midtown Arts District (MAD) over 10 years ago to highlight the arts-based business in midtown. With its blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Kingston offers its roughly 23,000 residents, and many visitors, a dynamic and enriching experience.

Sources: edited from,,,;

Position Summary

The Executive Director will be the Chief Executive Officer of the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc. (“Bardavon”) with a particular focus on contributed revenue growth, financial management, and general administration. They will provide leadership and vision to fulfill the organization’s mission and ensure that the Bardavon achieves its goals for artistic excellence, financial stability, and community engagement. Reporting to the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, the Executive Director will provide oversight for all aspects of the organization, facilitating the work of the board, staff, and volunteers, while building a culture of communication, trust, and transparency. As a presence in the community and an advocate for the organization, they will engage the local and wider communities served by both venues.

Roles and Responsibilities

Financial and Programmatic Leadership

  • Collaborate on the development and implementation of the organization’s artistic objectives.
  • Oversee the preparation and submit for board approval the annual operating budget in conjunction with the finance committee and staff.
  • Monitor and authorize expenditures and accounts receivable and payable, in accordance with the approved budget.
  • Manage the preparation of monthly financial statements, including the preparation of updated projections based on actual income and expense activity and cash flow projections.
  • Oversee the finance director’s work, ensuring that accurate books of accounts and bank records are maintained and that the annual audit is completed with the outside auditors.
  • Embrace other financial and programmatic leadership duties, as needed.

Board Governance

  • Advise the board on matters within the Executive Director's scope of responsibilities to promote the efficient operation of the theatres and the delivery to the public of the services the Bardavon was chartered to provide.
  • Serve as an ex officio member of all board committees, attending all meetings of standing committees, the board, and the executive committee.
  • Oversee the preparation of and present reports for all meetings as necessary, including monthly reports for the executive committee and board of directors’ meetings.
  • Support the governance committee in identifying and recruiting qualified candidates for board membership and assist with new member orientation as well as education in the Bardavon By-Laws and Policies.
  • Facilitate regular meetings with board leadership, including the board president, and prepare the agenda for those meetings.
  • Embrace other board governance duties, as needed.

Revenue Generation and Marketing

  • Act as the chief fundraiser for the organization, ensuring through the combined efforts of all involved that Bardavon meets or exceeds its goals for contributed income.
  • Lead the fundraising efforts of the board of directors, providing direction and support.
  • Guide fundraising and advocacy efforts with individual donors, corporations, foundations, and government agencies, collaborating with the board, grants writer, and staff in the identification and cultivation of donors.
  • Partner with the grants writer, staff, and board in fundraising activities, including membership meetings, corporate sponsorships, special events, campaigns, and planned giving programs.
  • Direct the grants writer and the director of finance in all aspects of grant applications and management, including use, acknowledgments, reporting, and relevant recordkeeping.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of marketing plans for up to 100 events annually working in collaboration with the Director of Marketing.
  • Build and maintain good relationships with local media contacts.
  • Ensure the maintenance and regular updates of the website.
  • Deal with ongoing capital fundraising issues for the two historic century old + venues.
  • Embrace other revenue generation and marketing duties, as needed.

External Relations and Advocacy

  • Serve as the public face of the organization in the local and national arenas.
  • Ensure effective communication with the constituencies: volunteer groups, other arts organizations, public agencies, government agencies, and the public to achieve the public service objectives of the organization.
  • Inspire local, state, and federal governments and agencies to support the Bardavon in its mission through positive advocacy.
  • Monitor legislative activity that affects Bardavon and recommend appropriate action to the Board of Directors.
  • Serve as the main representative for both FairGame and Alive Downtowns and actively pursue opportunities to benefit from other consortiums.
  • Collaborate on all bookings, performances, events, school residencies, etc., with the Program Directors and Education Director and approve all offers and contracts.
  • Attend all of the Bardavon presented concerts and events and address the audience pre-concert to solicit membership, announce shows, funds for designated programs, etc.
  • Embrace other external relations and advocacy duties, as needed.

Organizational Excellence

  • Foster and implement current and long-range administrative and personnel planning (long-range investment plan) to ensure that the Bardavon is effectively structured and staffed competently.
  • Guarantee that all employer responsibilities are met in compliance with local, state, and federal law.
  • Recruit, select, and supervise all staff, including evaluation of staff performance as needed but at least annually in writing.
  • Create and enforce policies covering all aspects of employment in collaboration with the human resources director, ensuring files are maintained and reporting any staffing issues to the executive committee.
  • Develop, execute, and monitor compensation and benefits programs.
  • Determine that all documents and payroll records are properly maintained according to legal requirements and board policies and procedures.
  • Support the preparation and revision of job descriptions, the employee handbook, and employment policies as needed, and present such to the board for approval.
  • Ensure that equipment, supplies, etc., are purchased in compliance with the budget and approved procedures.
  • Maintain adequate insurance to protect the organization’s assets and property, reviewing and updating as needed in consultation with the finance department and the board.
  • Maintain a positive relationship with patrons and the public, addressing any suggestions or issues as they arise.
  • Maintain the bottom line of a long-term sustainability plan in order to maintain annual raises.
  • Embrace other organizational excellence duties, as needed.

Traits and Characteristics

The Executive Director (ED) will be a gifted collaborator who can bring the board, staff, and community together around a shared vision. They will lead with a sense of fun and commitment and will be able to easily pivot to manage the complexities of the two presenting venues. Authentic and outgoing, they will enjoy working with the staff and board and in the community to build relationships supporting Bardavon. The ED will practice and expect excellent and transparent communication at all levels.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership and Personal Accountability – The dexterity to inspire and organize people around a shared vision, purpose, and direction, and to acknowledge and take responsibility for personal actions.
  • Diplomacy and Negotiation Skills – The emotional intelligence and sensitivity to communicate effectively, building trust and commitment, while handling difficult issues and addressing sensitive issues with active listening and consensus building.
  • Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork – The capacity to effectively communicate, building rapport and relating well to a wide variety of people, while fostering a culture of collaboration and cooperation.  
  • Planning and Organizing – The ability to collaborate with others in establishing courses of action, ensuring that work is completed successfully.


Demonstrated leadership experience and proven success in arts programming, presenting, and non-profit management are required. Financial and operational acumen, including past success in fundraising and earned revenue enhancement are essential. A track record of community engagement and experience in leading a strong and dedicated team are essential. Past visibility as a primary spokesperson representing an organization to diverse groups of constituents is very helpful. If you do not meet all the qualifications but possess transferable or equivalent skills, experience, or education, we encourage you to apply and highlight those areas.

Compensation and Benefits

The Bardavon provides a competitive and equitable compensation package in the range of $100,000 to $120,000, with benefits that include paid time off and holidays; health insurance; long-term disability and life insurance; and a 401(k) 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 For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Renée Danger-James, Vice President
Flora Stamatiades, Associate Vice President

Arts Consulting Group logo.
1040 First Avenue, Suite 352
New York, NY 10022-2991
Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext. 212 (Renée) Ext. 238 (Flora)
The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc. is an equal employment opportunity organization. The purpose of this policy is to provide diversity and equality to all in employment, irrespective of their gender, race, ethnic origin, disability, age, nationality, national origin, sexuality, religion or belief, marital status and social class. Here at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc., we want all of our employees to feel valued, appreciated, and free to be who they are at work.

Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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