Oregon Shakespeare Festival invites applicants and nominations for this leadership position at one of nation’s leading regional theatres.
The Executive Director will join Artistic Director Nataki Garrett in a co-leadership role to guide OSF’s vision and strategy. OSF has engaged Management Consultants for the Arts to lead this search, and interested candidates may apply for this position by visiting this link: https://tinyurl.com/OSF-ED-Profile
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is one of the nation’s most important theatres and one of the few remaining large-scale theatres offering rotating repertory and a resident company. Over its 84-year history, it has achieved what is arguably one of the great dreams of not-for-profit theatre: an accomplished resident company of artists performing plays in rotating repertory to a large, intelligent and appreciative audience. Still grounded in its founding impulses toward the classic theatre, OSF has built a body of work that includes not only the traditional classics, but also the canon from Europe and the United States. Further, OSF has commissioned and produced an extraordinary and growing number of new plays; and the organization’s dramatic growth has been mirrored by audiences of over 125,000 patrons each season. The artists and staff of OSF reveal the rich diversity of America; audience diversity is slowly but steadily growing; and the institution has been in the vanguard nationally with respect to its commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
OSF is truly a destination theatre. The majority of its audiences make a pilgrimage to Ashland from outside Oregon’s borders; they seek and obtain an immersive theatre-going experience in Ashland where the town and the region around it are also stars in providing a wonderful experience. It is safe to say that this theatre has moved into the very center of the national dialogue about the art form and a theatre organization’s responsibility to sustain it.
MISSION AND VISION
OSF has achieved its significant stature in pursuit of the following mission and vision statements:
Mission Statement: Inspired by Shakespeare’s work and the cultural richness of the United States, we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays, deepened by the kaleidoscope of rotating repertory.
Vision Statement: OSF will balance its roles as a major arts organization, national leader, and preeminent resource for the theatre field, with being nimbly responsive to challenges and opportunities, both artistic and economic. Anchored by an inspired company creating exceptional art, we will be guided by thoughtful resource stewardship and a deep commitment to education and audience engagement.
OSF is driven as much by its values as its mission. These four core values imbue the OSF culture:
- Excellence: We bring the best possible version of ourselves to our work onstage and to the organization, holding ourselves to high artistic, professional and personal standards.
- Inclusion: We include a diversity of people, ideas and cultures in our work, enriching our art, our relationships with each other, our audiences and our community.
- Company: We sustain a safe and supportive workplace where we rely on our fellow company members to work toward excellence with trust, respect, compassion and accountability.
- Stewardship: We make wise, efficient and responsible use of all the resources entrusted to us, sustaining our long-standing financial stability, the legacy of our organization’s 8O-year history, and the health of our planet.
The incoming Executive Director will join the OSF team on a platform of substantial strength on which to collaboratively plan the future:
- Excellence in production quality with the art always considered central to OSF impact;
- Well run operation by staff and artists;
- A caring and committed Board;
- A deeply engaged, committed audience;
- Strong brand;
- The unique “Ashland experience” as a critical component of the theatre-going pilgrimage;
- Diversity in its resident company, Board, staff, and audience;
- Deep ties with multiple communities throughout the West;
- High level of goodwill throughout the American theatre community.
Additional information can be accessed on OSF’s website: https://www.osfashland.org/
Nataki Garrett, Artistic Director
On August 1 of this year, Nataki Garrett became the sixth Artistic Director of OSF (following Bill Rauch, and before him, Libby Appel, Henry Woronicz, Jerry Turner, and Founder Angus L. Bowmer). Ms. Garrett’s directing debut at OSF also occurred this season, with How to Catch Creation. Her bio may be found here: https://tinyurl.com/Nataki-Garrett-Bio
Board of Directors
OSF is governed by a 33-member Board, populated by business leaders, educators, physicians, attorneys, and philanthropists – all of whom are theatre lovers. Reflective of OSF’s audience, many trustees live outside of the Ashland area.
OSF currently operates on an annual budget of over $40 million, with an earned / contributed ratio of approximately 66/34%. The endowment currently stands at approximately $38 million.
The theaters and support facilities occupy a four-acre campus in the heart of Ashland and adjacent to Lithia Park. Each year, up to eleven productions are presented on its three primary stages in rotating repertory over an eight-month period:
- Allen Elizabethan (1190 seats), with three annual productions;
- Bowmer (up to 601 seats), with four to five annual productions;
- Thomas (270-360 seats), with three annual productions.
The Green Show Stage – centrally located between the three venues in an open courtyard known as “The Bricks” – offers free outdoor performances prior to selected shows. In addition, OSF owns an impressive 72,000’ production facility in nearby Talent, OR, where sets and props are created, and costumes are stored. OSF operates under collective bargaining agreements with AEA , IATSE and SDC. There are 184 fulltime, 269 fulltime seasonal, and 147 part-time employees, as well as 700 volunteers. There are 90 artists in the Resident Acting Company.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
The next Executive Director will join OSF at an important time in its organizational life. Operating at its current size and scale offers both opportunities and challenges. Among the opportunities are these:
- Forging a productive partnership with OSF’s new Artistic Director.
- Facilitating a multi-year strategic plan within that partnership with the AD in concert with the Board.
- Defining and launching a major capital campaign to revitalize and redefine the infrastructure, including the three theatres.
- Taking a leadership role in continuing to establish and maintain the highest standards of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
- Building an even more active touring and co-production network and distribution for its productions (past venues for OSF work have, to name several, included the Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Center Theatre Group, Denver Center Theatre, Kennedy Center, La Jolla Playhouse, and Seattle Repertory).
Along with these opportunities, there are challenges that OSF’s leadership must embrace:
- Develop strategies to adjust to slower organizational growth and achieve a more sustainable business model as OSF transitions out of a period of rapid expansion.
- Evolve the OSF business model in response to climate change, which has caused the region to be increasingly prone to wildfires and the associated smoke that disrupts the operation of the outdoor theatre. This will include coordination with the local business community to ensure a world class destination experience for the Festival’s attendees.
- Lead OSF’s facility planning including the outdoor theatre, housing, and office space.
- Identify key administrative positions that are currently in interim status, including Directors of Development, and Marketing.
- Further deepen the important sense of community among OSF and the city of Ashland and its immediate region.
- Work with the Artistic Director to build a sense of shared purpose, community, trust, and morale.
Nestled between the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges, the Rogue Valley is a leading travel destination for year-round cultural, culinary, and outdoor adventures. Ashland welcomes over 300,000 visitors annually to a town of 20,000, highlighting its charming downtown retail environment, 100 culinary establishments, access to over 100 wineries, and a trail system of 50 miles. Recognized as one of the thirteen most biodiverse regions in the world, Ashland and the Rogue Valley have been named by Wine Enthusiast as one of the “Top Ten Best Wine Travel Destinations in the World” and voted as one of the “Top Trail Towns” by Trail Runner Magazine. There are many benefits that accompany the Rogue Valley’s charm, beauty, and sense of community that have helped make it a destination for work, play and culture. These advantages include nationally recognized medical facilities; strong public and parochial schools, higher education at the community college and university levels; active religious and spiritual communities; a more modest cost of living; no traffic congestion; an abundance of parks and green space; low crime levels; a range of local activities; and an array of theatre, music and other live performing arts. Ashland was recognized as one of the “25 Most Livable Cities in the U.S.” by MSN. The nearby Medford Airport and interstate highway connect the region to major population centers. The following websites offer much information about the city and region:
POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Executive Director and Artistic Director will form a co-equal working relationship, in which both report to the Board through its Chairs. Currently, the Executive Director has five direct reports, including Directors of Marketing & Communication, Development, HR as well as the CFO and General Manager. The Director of Equity is a co-report to the Executive and Artistic Director.
- Forge a productive and deep partnership with the Artistic Director through which they individually and together inspire others by their example of collaboration.
- Provide shared leadership, along with the Artistic Director and Board, to set overall direction; to motivate staff, artists, trustees, and the theatre’s core constituencies in pursuit of that direction; and to create a working culture in which decisions are made most effectively while manifesting OSF’s values.
- Fully embrace an ongoing commitment to OSF’s four primary values of Excellence, Inclusion, Company, and Stewardship.
- Help to drive the evolution of OSF’s development efforts in order to greatly enhance the role of philanthropy in the organization’s success, especially in regard to major gifts.
- Assure the legacy of OSF’s fiscal rigor, growing its revenue streams to support the ongoing artistic and educational programming and impact.
- Oversee all of the administrative functions of OSF, including development, marketing, facilities, operations, HR, and collective bargaining.
- Work jointly with the Board and Artistic Director to forge a new five-year strategic plan.
- Serve as one of the organization’s primary external representatives.
Ideally, the successful candidate for this role will possess many of these skills and experiences:
- A deeply strategic thinker relative to organizational vision and sustainability, with demonstrable achievement in developing and executing strategic plans in organizations of significant size or scope.
- A knowledge of and ability to work in a collective leadership structure, forging a highly productive and collaborative relationship with the Artistic Director and the Board.
- A background in all areas of income generation, including audience development and fundraising, with a demonstrated ability to serve as a key leader of contributed revenue efforts.
- A demonstrated ability to build relationships with major donors and community leaders.
- Strong organizational management, financial management and budgeting skills.
- A Bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Although someone with a theatre background is preferred, the search committee has indicated an openness to candidates from other performing arts disciplines who understand large-scale production.
The following personal attributes are also important to the Committee:
- A deep love of theatre and the people who make it.
- Commitment to EDI, evidenced in the candidate’s professional history.
- Exceptional communication skills in both speaking and writing.
- Taking satisfaction in serving as an ambassador in business and social settings.
- A transparent, collaborative, and confident leadership style, taking satisfaction in achieving the best work in others.
- A desire to be fully part of the City of Ashland and the Rogue Valley.
COMPENSATION, APPLICATION PROCEDURE, AND START DATE
The salary will be competitive with other theatre companies of comparable stature and size. Benefits will include the following:
- Medical/dental/life/disability/vision insurance plans
- A 403b plan available for employee funding and employer match
- Paid vacation, holidays, sick leave, and personal days
- Travel budget
- EDI training
- Employee Assistance Program
OSF has engaged Management Consultants for the Arts to facilitate this search; David Mallette, Partner, and Stephen Richard, Senior Consultant, are the consultant/s leading the process. The Search Committee, comprised of ten trustees and staff members, hopes to make its final decision by early spring, with the new Executive Director onsite as soon thereafter as possible. Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit in complete confidence a cover letter, resumé, and four professional references to the consulting firm retained to conduct the search. The cover letter of no more than two pages should address how each of the four OSF core values shared in this profile intersects with the candidate’s professional background and what about them and their work makes them a potentially strong contributor as a leader of OSF.
Application materials should have the applicant’s name included as
part of each file name and must be submitted electronically through the