The Guthrie Theater invites applicants and nominations for this important leadership position at one of the country’s leading regional theaters. The Managing Director is the number two administrator, reporting to the Artistic Director, guiding all administrative functions in execution of the Guthrie’s vision and strategy. Interested applicants should submit materials as requested in the profile document to the consulting firm retained for this search:
The Guthrie Theater opened in 1963 to perform classics in rotating repertory with a company, although Sir Tyrone Guthrie always envisioned the development of new work as well. Five years later, the Guthrie added a broader range of productions, and that tradition mostly continued over the ensuing decades. Subsequent artistic leadership included such luminaries as Michael Langham, Liviu Ciulei, Garland Wright, and Joe Dowling. In 2015 Joseph Haj became the Guthrie’s Artistic Director. And as has been true for over 30 years, he is expected to identify a Managing Director who, while reporting to him, will share the professional leadership in important ways.
Since the opening in 2006 of a major complex of three theaters on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Guthrie has experienced growth in audiences, visiting international theater companies, productions of the classics as well as contemporary work, and brand-new plays. The 2017-18 season has been a high point, both artistically and in attendance. The Guthrie’s importance to and engagement with its communities was demonstrated by the campaign to build this complex and, ever since, by its residents’ ongoing support of the work there. Each year, up to fifteen productions are mounted in these theaters. These include Guthrie produced plays as well as presentations and co-productions with US and international companies. Many of the world’s great artists have made work for the Guthrie. Additionally, there is a commitment to presenting the work of theater companies within the Twin Cities. The building also hosts special events on a regular basis.
Each leadership team has envisioned the Guthrie in ways to fulfill its mission, which today reads as follows:
The Guthrie Theater engages exceptional theater artists in the exploration of both classic and contemporary plays connecting the community we serve to one another and to the world. Through its extraordinary artists, staff and facility, the Guthrie is committed to the people of Minnesota, and from its place, rooted deeply in the Twin Cities, influences the field as a leading 21st century arts organization.
It is not an accident that the broad scope of the Guthrie emanates from its home in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul with a reach to the entire upper Midwest. This region is renowned for the excellence and breadth of its cultural and educational institutions and its quality of life, anchored by the headquarters of about 20 Fortune 500 companies and a long history of civic and community involvement. Since the Guthrie’s founding, the people of Minnesota have responded enthusiastically to the theater with their support and applause. Additional information may be found on the Guthrie’s website:https://www.guthrietheater.
The Guthrie houses three stages, a signature restaurant (Sea Change), pre-show dining on the 5th floor, numerous bars, and some of the best views of the river and city to be found. The Wurtele Thrust Stage is an 1100-seat theater; the McGuire Proscenium Stage has 700 seats; and the Dowling Studio seats 200. The complex includes other public areas, offices, rehearsal studios, and multiple education spaces. Of particular note are the extraordinary theater shops where productions are built by top-tier artisans who staff them.
The Guthrie’s resources run deep – audiences averaging 410,000 annually since the new theater opened; 143 full-time and 142 part-time employees plus hundreds of artists and artisans; a governing Board of Directors currently with 51 members; more than 500 active volunteers; an annual operating budget of about $29 million; and one of the largest endowments of an American non-profit theater. The new Managing Director can have confidence that a very knowledgeable, experienced and sophisticated group of artists, artisans, administrators, and Board members are in place.
Education has always been important to the Guthrie. The education programs encompass a broad range of offerings—a significant collaboration with the University of Minnesota in the training of BFA students, a summer initiative for MFA actors enrolled in top training programs around the country, programs in the public schools, training in continuing legal education for attorneys, camps, classes, business training, and internships.
The Managing Director will work in concert with the Artistic Director to execute its strategic goals within the core values of…
- Artistic Excellence;
- Equity Diversity, and Inclusion; Fiscal Responsibility.
As the important “last person in the room,” the Managing Director will have a key internal focus on the execution of the Guthrie’s current strategic goals:
- Artistic Excellence by engaging outstanding artists to create “must see” theater;
- Strengthening Relevance and Impact in individuals and community;
- Integrate Learning and Inquiry throughout the Guthrie’s programs and culture;
- Maximizing Long-term Results of its work.
Included among the opportunities are these:
- How does the Guthrie ensure that its reach is as broad as possible and that its artists, staff, trustees, and audience encompass the diversity of its multiple communities? With the stories that it tells, the voices telling those stories, and the programs it offers, how does the Guthrie most effectively adhere to diversity and inclusion?
- In what ways does the Guthrie choose to work in collaboration with other American and overseas theaters and, for that matter, other arts organizations?
- Is there a sturdier business model that generates the sustainable interplay between the volume of seats to sell, the number of individual productions and presentations, the length of runs, the need for the building to be maintained, the optimal uses of the spaces, and the availability of human and financial resources?
- In support of all the above, the Guthrie is well into a major capital/endowment campaign. With all of the needs of ongoing season production and support, what is the best path forward to complete the campaign?
POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Managing Director will be the number two administrator in the organization and will report to the Artistic Director, as has historically been done over the past three decades. Nonetheless, this leader will have extensive interaction with the Board of Directors. The present reporting structure includes the following departments reporting to the Managing Director: Finance, Marketing/Communications, Human Resources, IT, Visitor Services, Retail/Merchandising, and General Management (including Company Manager, Facilities, Security, and Costume Rental). Although Development reports to the Artistic Director, the Managing Director will likely have a role in contributed revenue efforts, based on previous experience.
- A key role is to effectively align the human and financial resources for the organization set by the Artistic Director and framed by the current strategic plan, as articulated above. The Managing Director will be expected to identify major strategic issues facing the company and how to address them most effectively.
- In collaboration with the Artistic Director, the Managing Director will be expected to create a working environment in which everyone can do their best work and, critically, in which there is ongoing communication within and among the many departments.
- Along with the Artistic Director, the Managing Director will engage with the Board of Trustees in ways that help them feel fulfilled in their work and encourages them to contribute the time, wisdom, networks, and resources that are critical to the Guthrie’s success.
- Work with the Artistic Director to plan all programming in a way that moves the organization in the desired direction and is aligned with organizational capacity.
- Forecast and monitor the financial resources needed to support ongoing programs as well as new initiatives. Early warning systems, clear story-telling through the numbers, and rigor in applying them, are all important roles; of course, aspects of these can and will be delegated.
- As a leader of the Guthrie, the Managing Director will hold a valued position as a well-known and important citizen of the Twin Cities community and the region, as well as on the national level as the Guthrie’s principal delegate to LORT.
- Related to that visibility is a (desired) and important role in major donor cultivation and solicitation.
While no one person will have all of the requisite qualifications fully developed, the Artistic Director, with input from lead trustees and senior staff, will be looking for the degree of each candidate’s expertise and experience in the following areas:
- This is predominantly a leadership post, not a management one. Most major decisions in which the Managing Director is engaged will be at the level of direction, strategy, mission/core values fulfillment, and organizational culture.
- However, oversight of execution is required, so prior experience in managing a skilled group of people, demonstrated by delegation and motivational abilities, is necessary. As such, a proven capacity for strategic thinking is critical, especially during times of change, and equally the ability to think at the level of execution by staff and trustees as they align around the current strategic plan.
- Prior successful engagement with boards of trustees will be important for success in this position.
- The next Managing Director will have a natural ability to become one of the theater’s representatives within a wide spectrum of the community.
- Possess a strong understanding of the interplay between programming choices and human and financial resources, including the ability to create and/or refine processes for financial forecasting, controls, and the inevitable adjustments required.
- Given the position of the Guthrie in the American regional theater field, the chosen candidate will most likely have an active and impactful career in professional theater. However, it is possible that someone from another arts discipline may fulfill the Guthrie’s needs.
- A high emotional intelligence that serves to build relationships of trust with staff, trustees, community members, and others.
The candidate should have the following characteristics:
- Real pleasure and commitment in helping to guide the Guthrie toward Joseph Haj’s artistic vision.
- Integrity demonstrated by a career of ethical practice.
- Ideally, a demonstrated capacity to engage major donors in conversation about the needs and value of the organization.
- A personal interest in becoming an active citizen within the Guthrie’s diverse communities.
- Satisfaction in achieving the best work in others.
COMPENSATION AND START DATE
The senior staff under Joseph Haj’s direction is currently guiding the organization. Ideally, the new hire will be determined by the end of this calendar year and will start work as soon as possible in 2019. That will allow time to engage with a large part of the season’s activity for a few months before final decisions about the 2019-20 season must be made. The salary will be competitive with other theater companies of comparable stature and size. Benefits will include the following:
PROCEDURE FOR APPLICATION
Interested and qualified candidates should submit the following items for consideration:
- A current résumé
- Cover letter (no more than 1 ½ pages) describing why this post and theater is attractive to the applicant and what about them and their work makes them a potentially strong contributor as a leader of the Guthrie
- Four professional references
- Salary expectation
Submissions should be made through Management Consultants for the Arts’ website at:
The Guthrie Theater is an employer committed to hiring a breadth of professionals, and therefore will interview a qualified group of diverse candidates; the Guthrie particularly encourages applications from women and people of color.