Applications for this position are now closed. Monday Aug. 13, 2018
As one of the premiere cultural organizations in Washington DC, and the anchor of the historic 14th Street Corridor, Studio Theatre is known for producing rigorous, challenging, and innovative work. As Studio approaches its 40th Anniversary, it remains committed to the contemporary plays and intimate physical spaces that have defined its work for four decades. Studio is committed to bolstering its role as an industry leader in the areas of innovation, engagement, education, and workforce training, as well as the development of significant new work. Studio believes that “theatre at its best involves a fearless interrogation of the human experience, and is a catalyst for compelling, complex stories that celebrate individuality, forge community, and reflect the richly textured world in which we live.”
Studio was founded in 1975 by Joy Zinoman, first as a conservatory and three years later as a producing theatre. What began as a small, one-stage theatre in a former hot dog factory, is now a bustling community hub and theatre complex spanning half a city block, housing four stages, an acting conservatory, and onsite production shops. Every year Studio produces up to 450 performances of eight to ten productions in its four venues, serving nearly 75,000 people. Its commitment to connecting actors and audience is built into its architecture; none of the four performance spaces seats more than 225 patrons. That signature intimacy is arguably the most defining feature of the Studio experience: “We offer excellence, up close.”
Studio presents two series each year: The Main Series and Studio X. The Main Series is the core of its programming, offering a “rich repertoire of new and contemporary writing from around the world and inventive staging of contemporary classics.” As one of many testaments to Studio’s artistic accomplishments, The Washington Post critic Peter Marks noted in a recent article that “Studio Theatre under Artistic Director David Muse seems to be hitting its satisfying stride – and the streak could very well continue with a strong, fresh season it is unveiling for 2018-19.” Studio X complements the Main Series and serves as Studio’s home for immersive productions, inventive work by international artists and ensembles, and bold, new pieces.
Washington DC has a thriving theatre scene that adds to its other world-class arts offerings (music, dance, and a wide spectrum of museums) as befits a major international city. The 14th Street Corridor—where Studio is located—has evolved over the past 30 years from an area of largely burned out and abandoned buildings into a thriving hub of arts organizations, restaurants, shops, and all other attributes of a dynamic urban setting. For more about Studio: https://www.studiotheatre.org.
Studio Theatre is led by Artistic Director David Muse, Managing Director Meridith Burkus, and a 29-member Board of Trustees led by Chair Bobbi Terkowitz. The Board, comprised of community and business leaders, is a highly engaged group of individuals with a deep and unique commitment to Studio Theatre. Along with celebrating Studio’s 40th Anniversary, the upcoming 2018-19 season marks David Muse’s ninth season at Studio, and he generally directs two plays a year. Previously, Muse was Associate Artistic Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company where he directed seven productions. He has also directed at Arena Stage, Theatre Alliance, and New York Summer Play Festival among others. He has been engaged in a variety of new play development programs and projects as well as teaching acting and directing at Georgetown, Yale, and Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy of Classical Acting.
Studio has an annual budget of approximately $6 million. It operates under an Equity SPT level 10 contract and is considering a move to LORT. In the 2016-17 season, it presented 429 performances over 33 weeks. There are 35 fulltime staff members.
Studio owns its 50,000 square foot complex. The facility has been created from three separate buildings over a one-half city block footprint. Included onsite are its full production facilities and offices. The playing areas in three of the theatres—the Metheny, the Mead, and the Milton— have similar thrust stages and audience capacity (187-225), allowing for maximum flexibility including extensions of popular shows. The fourth performance space, Stage 4, is a highly configurable raw space and can seat up to 150. Design work is underway to expand Stage 4, reconfigure the Metheny into an end-stage theatre, and improve public areas, back of house, and shop spaces. Studio also owns six one-bedroom apartments and seven efficiencies for visiting artists, as well as a 14-bedroom group house for the year-long apprentices.
Studio supports new writing from inception to first production, including commissioning new work, giving writers time and resources to develop their work, and hosting them in residence during the rehearsal process. Studio R&D is the incubator program for new plays, new relationships, and new modes of collaboration. Studio produces at least one world premiere per season and also has published all its world premiere plays, broadening the reach of these new works and launching them onto the international stage. Like many regional theatres across the country, Studio has seen its subscription base diminish; however, single ticket sales remain robust.
Studio actively engages with the community through a network of multi-year, mutually beneficial partnerships with six core organizations: Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Howard University, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, N Street Village, Us Helping Us/DENIM, and Whitman-Walker Health. Through these partnerships, Studio offers access to its productions, hosts senior showcases, provides workshops, and offers free event space.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
The next Managing Director will join an organization with a sturdy foundation and a strong leadership position in the Washington theatre community. Among the opportunities and challenges are these:
- Creating an effective partnership with Artistic Director David Muse to lead one of Washington’s most innovative theatres.
- Determining the best strategies for increasing revenue, both earned and contributed.
- Working with the Artistic Director to reshape staff culture and stem turnover.
- Establishing operational procedures and systems to ensure effective work flow and creating a learning organization which engages, supports, and retains employees.
- Continuing the critical Capital Campaign that is currently in its quiet phase.
- Managing the significant renovation of Studio’s complex.
- Finding new ways to partner with Studio’s various communities, including its own neighborhood.
- Continuing the important work of staff, Board, and artist diversification.
POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Managing Director and Artistic Director are expected to form a co-equal, productive working relationship, in which both report to the Board through its Chair. The co-leaders of Studio Theatre, in partnership with the Board, will identify the company’s most important goals and objectives and align resources appropriately to achieve them. The Managing Director will lead all administrative functions in the areas of finance, fundraising, audience development, communication, and human resources.
- Develop a collaborative, open, and supportive relationship with the Artistic Director.
- Understand, embrace, and help articulate Studio’s artistic mission and to communicate that vision to staff, Board, patrons, and the Washington and national theatre communities.
- Lead the development of new/expanded income streams, both contributed and earned income, with a focus on ticket sales. The Managing Director will devote a significant portion of time to this effort.
- Develop a comprehensive equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy and lead the implementation of that strategy.
- Oversee the administrative and operational functions of Studio, including creating new, efficient policies and procedures.
- Build a culture of productivity, collaboration, creativity, transparency, and innovation.
- Collaborate with the Board and AD to complete the work of updating the strategic plan to carry out Studio’s mission and vision.
Ideally, the successful candidate for this role will possess these skills and experience:
- A deep commitment to the performing arts evidenced by prior roles; although a theatre background is preferred, the Search Committee is open to evaluating candidates from other disciplines.
- The skills to develop a rich, collaborative partnership with the Artistic Director.
- Strong project management skills.
- A successful track-record in staff leadership and management including both establishing policies and procedures, and managing staff with a transparent, collaborative, and confident leadership style.
- Skills in developing and executing effective budgets aligned with strategic objectives.
- A demonstrable record of success in achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- A background and understanding of both fundraising and marketing.
- Exceptional communication skills—both speaking and writing—and taking satisfaction in serving as an ambassador to all of Studio’s various communities.
- Leadership skills to work effectively with the Board officers to engage and develop trustees individually and collectively.
- A Bachelor’s degree.
The following personal attributes will also be considered important:
- High emotional intelligence and an ability to build relationships of trust.
- A love of theatre and the people who make it.
- Strategic, positive, energetic, and forward-looking.
- Innovative problem-solver.
- Disciplined, effective leadership and management of people and resources.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
Salary will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size. Benefits will include the following (a non-comprehensive list):
- Medical insurance (funded largely by employer);
- Dental and vision insurance (funded by employee);
- Short-term and long-term disability, life insurance (funded by employer);
- Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), and Dependent Care Accounts (DCAP);
- 401(k), including employer match;
- Paid vacation, holidays, sick leave.
The Search Committee, comprised of trustees and staff, hopes to make its final decision by late summer or early fall of 2018 with the new Managing Director starting as soon thereafter as possible.
HOW TO APPLY
Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit in complete confidence a cover letter, resume, and four professional references to the consulting firm retained to conduct the search. The letter of no more than 1½ pages should describe why this post and theatre is attractive to the applicant and what about them and their work makes them a potentially strong contributor as a leader of Studio Theatre. Application materials should be sent electronically—Word or .pdf only, please—with the applicant’s name included as part of each file name:
Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
By email: MCAWall2@gmail.com
Attn: David Mallette or Stephen Richard
Subject line: Studio Theatre
Studio Theatre very much encourages applications from women and from people of color.