BACKGROUND AND LEADERSHIP
Pioneer Theatre Company is Utah’s premiere professional theatre company; the theatre in residence at The University of Utah since its origin in 1962. Steadily and with an understated profile that belies its extraordinary record of top-notch theatrical offerings, PTC has established itself as a financially stable, significant regional institution brimming with ambition for further artistic excellence and achievement.
With tremendous backing from the state and local community, construction of the Pioneer Memorial Theatre was completed in October of 1962. Upon opening, PTC was dubbed the professional “State Theatre of Utah,” the acknowledged successor to the former Salt Lake Theatre founded in 1862 by the pioneers who settled Utah. Dr. C. Lowell Lees served as PTC’s first artistic director and, as a member of the University of Utah faculty, he established the connection between PTC and the local community far beyond the University’s academic circles. In 1964, Keith Engar replaced Dr. Lees as artistic director and established the first University Resident Theatre Association (URTA) contract with Actors’ Equity Association. In the mid-1980s, Charles Morey assumed artistic leadership with a charge to fully professionalize the theatre. PTC soon achieved artistic and day-to-day management independence from the University and became self-supporting financially. PTC further enhanced its reputation and significance within the field by moving to a League of Resident Theatres (LORT) contract with Actors’ Equity.
With a current annual budget of approximately $4.7 million dollars, PTC produces a mainstage season of seven plays and musicals in the 932-seat Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre located on the University of Utah campus. In 2010 PTC acquired and began renovation on a twenty-unit apartment building. Completed in 2011, Meldrum House and its well-appointed apartments for artist housing is a major selling point for PTC’s guest artists and a huge cost saving for the theatre. In recent years, PTC has added a concert musical presentation and a new play development reading series as add-on elements to its regular September-May production calendar.
Throughout its history, PTC has distinguished itself by producing at a consistently high level, offering Utah audiences Broadway caliber performances by the best national and regional professional talents. The greater theatre world-at-large has taken note of PTC’s commitment to excellence and its exceptional production capabilities. Landmark honors include: being the first regional company to be granted performance rights to LES MISERABLES (playing to 82 capacity filled performances in its initial 2007 run, and triumphing again in revival in 2012); and regional presentations of recent Broadway musicals BRIGHT STAR and THE LAST SHIP (with creator and legendary music icon Sting supporting that effort and attending performances in Salt Lake City).
Karen Azenberg has served as PTC’s Artistic Director since 2012, the fourth person and the first woman to fill that position. Ms. Azenberg has deep roots in the national theatre community as the director and choreographer of over 80 musicals and plays. She is a past president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and is a voter for the annual Tony Awards, parts of her whole fully established network within today’s most significant platforms for theatrical creation.
Chris Lino has served as PTC’s Managing Director since 1991. When Mr. Lino steps down at the end of the 2019 season, he will have served as one of the most successful administrative heads of a regional theatre in the past three decades. Mr. Lino helped secure PTC’s place as Utah’s preeminent professional theatre company but has also been a guiding figure in a larger discussion about the region’s burgeoning cultural scene. His leadership helped establish the Zoo, Arts, & Parks Tax Program (ZAP), a funding program that earmarks a portion of local sales tax dollars to a number of Salt Lake County’s cultural organizations. ZAP has been renewed three times with overwhelming support from the voters and the Salt Lake County Council. Lino’s steady leadership has been grounded in a love of theatre and a strict embrace of PTC’s dedication to bringing local audiences the best professional productions of theatre imaginable.
PTC is governed by 30-member Board of Trustees, including leading figures from Salt Lake City’s business, academic, philanthropic and cultural communities. While PTC’s relationship with the University of Utah has evolved over the years, the company has held its place as a significant part of the University’s commitment to deep social and cultural leadership engagement.
CURRENT ENVIRONMENT AND THE FUTURE
The next Managing Director will join an organization with dynamic artistic leadership, a rich and winning history, and a stable base of operations. At the same time, important opportunities and challenges exist that PTC’s next administrative leader will want to address.
While PTC continues as Salt Lake City’s leading professional theatre company, it is not immune to competition within the market, particularly as the metropolitan area has significantly grown in population. In recent years, the creation of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater (The Eccles) and Hale Centre Theatre (The Hale) have added new entertainment choices for Salt Lake City’s growing population. While different in terms of scope and purpose (The Eccles is a performing arts center showcasing touring musicals and other presentations, and The Hale is a large quasi-community theatre presenting family oriented theatrical presentations), both of these performing arts institutions have presented PTC with interesting opportunities and complications maintaining and attracting audiences.
Salt Lake City itself is also a huge part of the PTC story. Numerous technology, biomedical, and financial companies have incubated or relocated to the Salt Lake Area because the area’s major universities and colleges produce a highly trained workforce. These employers have also discovered that the area attracts employees because it offers a high quality lifestyle with outdoor recreation opportunities available in the nearby mountains and deserts, as well as arts and culture. Because of this growing workforce and population, the local character of the city is becoming more diverse and attuned to new ideas and influences, while continuing to be the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which itself is a major supporter of the arts. Salt Lake City is becoming a highly progressive metropolitan area that fosters eclectic and diverse arts, cultural, and political communities. By way of example the area has, in recent years, elected a number of gay and minority state legislators and Salt Lake City elected its first openly lesbian mayor in 2016. As the personality and culture of Salt Lake City has evolved, PTC is poised to capture this new market share and to further serve as a real and authentic motivator to greater social and cultural engagement for the arts.
The next Managing Director will take her or his place in the local arts leadership, with priorities that will include:
- Forging an energized and complementary partnership with PTC’s Artistic Director, Karen Azenberg.
- Attracting new sources of revenue, both through philanthropic funds and all current and yet-untapped earned revenue options.
- Bolstering an already supportive culture to keep and attract the best talent working in the professional theatre field.
- Ensuring that PTC is the leading voice in discussions of the local community’s professional theatre experience and is always a significant player in Salt Lake City’s greater community cultural dialogue.
- Exploring new opportunities for a secondary performance space from both a functional and financial point of discovery.
- Deepening and enriching the partnership with the University of Utah, creatively expanding new opportunities for synergy and cross-pollination.
- Embracing, maintaining, and advancing PTC as a place where a diverse group of staff, board members, and artists feel inspired to work in a safe and nurturing environment.
Pioneer Theatre Company and Salt Lake City have collectively come to a moment of thrilling forward momentum that makes the future ripe with possibility for excitement and growth.
POSITION DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Managing Director will be a supportive and encouraging partner to PTC’s Artistic Director, Karen Azenberg. As a co-partner/leader in PTC’s trajectory of increasing achievement and notoriety, the Managing Director will report directly to University leadership and work in close partnership with PTC’s Board of Directors. Possessing a collaborative outlook on leading the administrative and developmental efforts of the company, the Managing Director will clarify the company’s primary objectives and drive resource alignment and growth for continuing success. The Managing Director will lead all operational functions in the areas of fundraising, finance, audience development, communication, and human resources. Essential responsibilities include:
- Create and maintain a relationship of trust, encouragement, collaboration, and joyful exploration with PTC’s Artistic Director.
- Continue PTC’s strong alliance with the University of Utah community, exploring deeper engagement for a continuing and mutually beneficial relationship while maintaining PTC’s historical artistic and management independence.
- Work to better define PTC’s place as a local, regional, and national force for the highest quality professional theatrical experiences for audiences seeking a diverse palette of plays and musicals.
- Celebrate PTC’s mission and vision in new ways that continue to engage long-time supporters and make room for new constituents.
- Expand PTC’s audience and donor base, looking particularly to younger audience members, suburban dwellers, and minority communities
- Lead fundraising efforts from both a contributed and earned income perspective, taking the time to learn about the philanthropic and patron culture in Salt Lake City.
- Incrementally work towards growing PTC’s base of financial resources and acknowledge employee contributions to PTC’s success through competitive compensation and staffing increases.
- Oversee all administrative and operational functions and look for efficiencies and improvements to protocol.
- Serve as an open resource to staff for ideas, deliberation, and any conflict resolution.
- Promote a culture of transparency, productivity, balance, creativity, and harmony.
- Communicate with Artistic Director on organizational and artistic vision and mission and update strategic plans or messaging to adhere fully to evolving mission and focus.
Ideally, the successful candidate will possess these skills and experience:
- An authentic love of theatre and the ability to compellingly convey that passion to a wide range of audiences.
- The savvy and desire to work within a University administrative setting, keenly understanding how to effectively make this mutually beneficial relationship work even better.
- A demonstrated pattern of success in administrative leadership roles requiring a high level of political and managerial dexterity.
- An active and creative mind.
- Strong project management skills.
- Extensive experience and clear skill in creating and managing budgets and financial tracking models.
- A transparent and open style of staff management and leadership.
- A commitment to creating an expanding culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Experience with and excitement about fundraising.
- Exceptional communication skills—both speaking and writing—and taking satisfaction in serving as a public ambassador for PTC’s work.
- Effective record of accomplishment in working with volunteer boards of directors, volunteer workforce and other support groups.
- At minimum, a bachelor’s degree; and preferably a graduate degree in a relevant discipline.
SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES AND QUALITIES
The following personal attributes are also desirable:
- High emotional intelligence and an ability to build relationships of trust.
- A love of people and the ability to engage those from a variety of backgrounds and experiences with an open heart and mind.
- A proactive attitude combined with an innate sense of strategy.
- Innovative problem-solving skills.
- Discipline, rigor, and an appreciation of the highest level of artistic excellence.
The Managing Director will constantly put “we” before “I” in his or her set of personal and professional values. Through organization and foresight, the Managing Director will anticipate problems and create well-rounded plans for PTC’s continuing reach and impact. The most successful candidate will enhance the vision and ambitions of PTC’s artistic leader while guiding the ship with a steady and measured hand.
COMPENSATION AND START DATE
Salary will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size. As an employee of the University of Utah, the Managing Director will receive the University’s generous benefit package as part of the total compensation package.
Pioneer Theatre Company hopes to make its decision by January of 2019. Ideally, the selected candidate will transition with incumbent Managing Director, Chris Lino in the Spring of 2019 before assuming full position responsibilities in July of 2019.
HOW TO APPLY
Interested and qualified candidates should submit a résumé, cover letter (no more than 1 ½ pages), salary expectation, and three professional references electronically to Management Consultants for the Arts, the firm engaged to lead this important search:
Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
By email: MCAWall2@gmail.com
Attn: Jonathan West
Subject line: Managing Director, Pioneer Theatre Company