The mission is clear: Theatreworks USA develops and delivers professional theatre productions to a national audience of children and families. Since its founding in 1961, Theatreworks has presented more than 90 million children and their families with opportunities to enjoy theatrical productions in 49 states and Canada. Each season, three million children, many of whom have no other access to the performing arts, attend original productions in venues as varied as local elementary school gymnasiums, regional fine arts centers, and major Broadway-sized theatres. Theatreworks tours up to 16 shows each season from its repertoire of 133 plays and musicals. In addition, Theatreworks has an extensive multi-cultural roster of guest artists, including storytellers, puppeteers, poets, and magicians. The overarching goals of Theatreworks' programs are the following:
• Create shows that stimulate reading and discussion on the cultural, historical, and/or social issues and themes represented in each show. These exceptional new plays and musical are often based on popular contemporary literary works.
• Nurture and work with talented emerging writers, directors, and designers as well as established talent.
• Foster a love of theater and reading for young audiences.
• Encourage young people to tap into their own reservoirs of creativity and talent.
• Present role models and encourage positive values through the shows' content.
• Enhance the theatre experience which children share with their friends and classmates, teachers, and families.
• Develop a life-long appreciation for the arts.
• Build the audiences of the future.
Theatreworks USA has a distinguished history of not only providing young audiences with their first taste of the performing arts, but also giving young actors, writers, directors, and designers an early opportunity to work in the field. A list of its alumni is a veritable "who's who" of theatre, including Jerry Zaks (four-time Tony-winning director), Robert Lopez (two-time-Tony winner), F. Murray Abraham (Academy Award Winner for Amadeus), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), Colman Domingo (The Scottsboro Boys), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), and Judy Kuhn (Les Misérables) are among the many writers and actors who got their start with Theatreworks.
Theatreworks USA is first and foremost a professional, producing theater company. Although based in New York City, it has an expansive national reach. Most of its performances are seen in other cities and its tours have traveled to 49 states and Canada. All productions are staffed exclusively by actors and stage managers who are members of Actors’ Equity Association. There are three primary programs under the Theatreworks umbrella:
• Class Trips - Theatreworks manages school-time field trip programs in 73 venues in 71 cities across the country. Teachers call the New York box office to purchase low-cost tickets for their class.
• Touring - Theatreworks USA representatives attend arts conferences and showcases throughout the year to meet with performing arts administrators, school districts, and arts councils who purchase Theatreworks shows for their audiences. Tickets to National Touring productions are sold and/or distributed by the individual presenter.
• Free Summer Theater - By special arrangement with the Lucille Lortel Theatre Foundation, Theatreworks USA invites 15,000 New York City area students, teachers, and families to free performances of an Off-Broadway production during July and August. Most tickets are distributed to over 150 social service agencies and summer school programs, including NYC’s Dept. of Youth and Community Development.
Information on Theatreworks USA may be found on its website: www.theatreworksusa.org
Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director
For over 30 years, Barbara has developed and produced almost 100 original plays and musicals, creating a critically acclaimed, diverse repertoire of family entertainment. Barbara has cultivated artistic relationships with hundreds of new and established writers, directors and performers. An accomplished dramaturge, Ms. Pasternack has optioned, commissioned, and produced musicals and plays based on a variety of well-known literary properties including Little Women, which later was expanded and produced on Broadway, Sarah Plain & Tall, which was selected for the O'Neill Festival and later produced by Dallas Theater Center, The Giver and Red Clay, which were later expanded and further developed by regional theaters.
Board of Directors
Theatreworks USA is governed by a 17-member Board of Directors, including ex officio seats for the Artistic Director and Managing Director. While many trustees have a long history with and commitment to the organization, there are also a number of trustees who have joined the Board in recent years.
Theatreworks USA occupies two floors of a Chelsea building, a total of 25,000 square feet. One floor houses offices and the other has ten studio spaces of varying sizes. There are 18 full-time employees and up to 120 part-time and seasonal employees.
Theatreworks has a significant history of producing new works – both commissioned and previously unproduced works – with as many as four new works created in a single season.
Theatreworks USA operates on an annual budget of just over $8 million. Income from touring shows – either from presentation fees or self-produced class field trip fees – comprises just over 75% of current income. A robust space rental program called “Chelsea Studios” offers shared use of these spaces to other commercial and nonprofit organizations. Rental fees now comprise nearly 10% of Theatreworks’ annual income. Annual contributed income represents just over 6% of Theatreworks’ revenue, including individual, Board, and institutional support.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES:
The next Managing Director of Theatreworks will find a devoted staff and Board. Commitment to the mission – producing affordable, quality theater experiences for young people across the country – is embraced by all. As recent history attests, the number of children’s theater touring companies has diminished significantly. While other theaters tour work for young people, Theatreworks is the sole company devoted to this endeavor. Productions – primarily musicals – are self-contained with five to six actors and a stage manager traveling in two vehicles. An ongoing assessment of the current touring market and how to deliver the highest quality work to those markets is critical to the Theatreworks’ operating model.
Theatreworks’ facility lease ends in August 2018. Efforts are currently underway to identify a new home, as a move will be inevitable in the coming calendar year.
There is a collectively held view that contributed support will take on a larger percentage of the revenue portfolio. Strategies to build these efforts will need to be developed and aligned with the current resource allocation for program delivery.
New work development is a core strength of Theatreworks. Developing new pieces with eye toward a post-Theatreworks run (e.g., in conjunction with other nonprofit or commercial producing partners) is an area of interest for the organization. In the current season, a new piece – The Lightening Thief – was developed and opened in the Lucille Lortel Theatre in late March.
Finally, expanding awareness in New York City of Theatreworks and its work is critical, as this will enhance the organization’s brand, messaging, and fund-raising.
POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
The Managing Director works in a co-CEO relationship with the Artistic Director; both positions report to the Board of Directors through the Chair. It is, of course, critically important that the individuals in these two positions work in a cohesive and productive manner. The central roles of the Managing Director are as follows:
• Forge effective and positive working relationships with the Artistic Director and Board of Directors.
• Align all human and financial resources in a way that can sustainably realize the strategic and artistic vision for the company.
• Lead Theatreworks’ fundraising activities in a strategic and proactive manner.
• Develop communication strategies and guide marketing, external messaging, and branding.
• Assure ongoing fiscal discipline by creating and achieving balanced operating budgets.
• Forge and maintain important external relationships across the country and in New York City.
• Hire, manage and motivate the staff team and set the tone for a positive working environment.
• Act as a primary external voice and advocate of Theatreworks.
The chosen candidate will be someone who is likely to establish strong and productive working partnerships with the Artistic Director and the Board; of course, prior experience with such partnerships would be deemed useful. S/he will also have the following skill sets and experience:
• A successful management career within the professional performing arts community, with preference shown to those who have had such experience in theater and/or touring.
• A clear knowledge of the ramifications of artistic and budgetary decisions and the need to align them strategically, drawn from experience in budget forecasting and controls sufficient to offer analysis to the Board and staff.
• An aptitude and temperament for fund-raising.
• Knowledge of touring.
• Demonstrated ability to motivate and guide a staff team in strategic manner.
• A real appetite for theater produced for young people and, as a result, the desire and ability to be a true advocate for the organization.
• A collaborative style to work within a partnership and engage staff, Board, and key donors.
• Very strong social and interpersonal skills in multiple social and business contexts.
COMPENSATION, APPLICATION PROCEDURE, AND START DATE:
The search for the Managing Director is headed by a seven-member Board committee chaired by Lisa Chanel. The committee’s desire is to identify a candidate by late spring/early summer, with the new Managing Director on site as soon as possible thereafter. The salary will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size. Benefits include the following:
• Health insurance (employee only)
• A 401k plan (no employer match)
• Paid vacation / holidays
• Flexible Spending Account for health and transportation expenses
Applications should include résumé /CV, cover letter, four professional references and salary history/requirements. Interested candidates, and recommenders of qualified individuals, are invited to contact the consulting firm retained to facilitate this important search:
Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Attn: David Mallette or Louise Kane
Subject Line: Theatreworks USA MD Search