The National Theatre (The National) has selected David J. Kitto as Executive Director of The National Theatre Corporation (NTC), following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He began his tenure on July 15, 2019.
A seasoned executive, fundraiser, and marketing professional with more than 30 years of experience in the arts and culture sector, Mr. Kitto most recently served as Interim President at La Jolla Music Society as the organization prepared for the opening of its new home, The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. In this role, he oversaw a $4.7 million budget, restructured the organization’s education programs, exceeded earned and contributed revenue goals, and assisted in the fulfillment of a $78.5 million capital campaign for construction of the new facility. Prior to his time as Interim President, Mr. Kitto served as a consultant to La Jolla Music Society, assisting with the operational plan and organizational structure of its performing arts center. For 16 years, Mr. Kitto held the role of Vice President, Marketing and Sales and later Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. In these roles, he led all marketing, sales, and branding-related departments and initiatives, oversaw an operating budget of more than $200 million, and guided a staff of more than 130 employees. Additionally, he coordinated the Kennedy Center’s rebranding campaign, established a digital department, and managed all ticket operations. Mr. Kitto has also served as Director, Marketing and Ticket Operations for The Carnegie Hall Corporation where he managed a marketing budget of $1.5 million and implemented a website that set a multitude of industry standards, including the capacity for online ticketing.
Mr. Kitto has taught arts marketing courses at Brooklyn College, New York University, and the Devos Institute of Arts Management, where he also held several speaking engagements both domestically and internationally. He has provided arts consulting services to several nonprofit arts and culture organizations, including The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Miami City Ballet, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Kitto holds a bachelor of arts degree in music and a master of arts degree in arts administration, both from the University of Michigan.
In making the announcement, The National Theatre Board Chairman John B. Adams, Jr. said, “David Kitto’s experience is exactly what we need at The National. While his entire career is impressive, it is his most recent work as Interim President at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla, overseeing the opening of the [Kennedy] Center in April of this year, that convinced us that we had found the right person to guide The National through the next phase of its resurgence.”
“I am very excited to become part of this storied place in American theatrical history and to play a role in its restoration and advancement,” said Mr. Kitto. “This institution is important to our cultural heritage and it is an honor to be chosen to lead it. I am particularly impressed by the work that has gone on in recent years, significantly improving the facility, which would not have been possible without essential support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the District of Columbia. I am eager to build upon that success.”
“ACG would like to congratulate The National Theatre and David J. Kitto on his placement as Executive Director,” said ACG Vice President Jenna Deja. “We are confident that his arts management and marketing skills along with his extensive experience in the arts and culture sector will help bring The National Theatre Corporation into a new age of rejuvenated fundraising, enhanced community partnerships, and strengthened branding that celebrates NTC’s historic significance.”