Artistic Director

Oregon Children's Theatre / Portland, OR


Oregon Children’s Theatre (OCT) seeks an Artistic Director who will build upon a 30+ year history of artistic excellence and community service while articulating an inspiring vision for the next stages in the company’s growth and evolution. The Artistic Director will provide leadership and propose transformative strategies that will guide OCT and, together with the Managing Director, create a sustainable operating model for the future. We seek an individual who brings experience and vision, as well as a history of collaboration and inclusiveness.

OCT’s Artistic Director is responsible for the artistic and educational vision of the company. The Artistic Director plans OCT’s seasons of plays, oversees artistic personnel selection, and provides guidance and oversight to ensure the company’s artistic, programmatic, and financial success. The position’s responsibilities include commissioning and producing new works that advance the field of Theatre for Young Audiences both regionally and nationally as an OCT priority goal.

The Artistic Director guides OCT’s educational programs which are an integral part of the organization’s mission, and delivered in the theater, in classrooms, and in the community. The Artistic Director directly participates in and encourages the mentoring and development of young people and the growth of theater artists. The Artistic Director will also build and maintain strong relationships across the theater field that can multiply the connections and opportunities for Oregon Children’s Theatre.


The MISSION of Oregon Children’s Theatre is to create exceptional theater programs that transform lives. Our VISION is that all children, families, and communities have opportunities to learn and grow through theater and the arts.

For over three decades, Oregon Children’s Theatre has served as the Portland region’s flagship provider of performing arts and arts education for young people. Each season, we reach more than 120,000 children and families through:

• Unforgettable theater productions that delight and inspire families and school groups.

• Acting Academy programs that teach the craft of theater while fostering life skills.

• Dynamic performances, classes, workshops, and residencies in schools and in the community that use theater and storytelling to teach and inspire.

OCT’s most visible product is our season of productions that bring great stories to life with plays distinguished by their professional polish and awe-inspiring staging, and which reach an annual audience of over 90,000 children and adults. For many children in our community, attending an OCT production is their first experience with the performing arts, whether on a school field trip, or with family and friends.

The company is driven by the belief that theater and storytelling can educate, inspire, empower, and entertain in remarkable ways. Indeed, OCT’s education programs are as essential to our mission as our stage productions.

• OCT’s Acting Academy offers theater-based classes for children ages three to eighteen, shaped by a deep respect for the intelligence and capacity of all children. Classes offered include acting, directing, writing and theater tech.


• The Young Professionals Company at OCT is comprised of 60 dedicated theater students–ages 14 and up–who receive advanced training through exposure to a wide range of college-level workshops, professional development, resources, and information. Each year the Young Professionals Company selects, produces, and performs three professional plays for a teen audience.

• Through a unique partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the Educational Theatre Program creates original curriculum, productions, residencies, and workshops delivered by skilled teaching artists in schools and in the community in support of shared goals for community health and individual wellbeing.

OCT has a $3.4 million operating budget and 25 full-time staff, as well as many artists and teachers hired seasonally. We are a member of the Theatre Communications Group and of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA. Candidates are encouraged to explore our website ( to learn more.


OCT believes communities are stronger when they are diverse, and we are committed to building a creative and dynamic workplace with that in mind. We are an equal opportunity employer and strive to promote equity in our hiring practices inclusive of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, class, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, and disability status. We recognize that OCT has been historically staffed by predominately white and able-bodied people. We especially encourage applications from those who bring us new perspectives and lived experiences, candidates of traditionally underrepresented identities, and those who will advance our goals of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We welcome requests for accommodations during the application or employment process.


This is a full-time salaried and exempt position, with a competitive salary and benefits for this position, including fully paid health and dental benefits.


Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit their materials in confidence to the Search Committee that will oversee the search. We hope to offer the position no later than mid- February 2020 in order to have the Artistic Director on the job in Spring 2020.

Deadline: Please submit your initial application materials (described below) no later than Monday, December 2, 2019. Our goal is to screen applications and select candidates for interviews by mid- December, with interviews in Portland scheduled in early-January. Candidates who are selected to participate in the interview process may be required to provide additional materials and meet other requirements as part of their application (for example, submitting a list of personal and professional references and successfully completing a thorough check of their background and credentials).

Initial Application Requirements: E-mail your confidential application to with the subject line, “Artistic Director” and your last name. Submit the following material in a SINGLE PDF, including your name in the file name:

• Cover letter of no more than two pages summarizing your experience, interest, and qualifications for this position. Include a paragraph responding to the question, “Why does Theatre for Young Audiences matter?”

• Resume/CV outlining your work history and other experiences and education that have prepared you for this work.


The major roles of the Artistic Director, often performed in partnership with the Managing Director and in collaboration with others, include the following:

1. Shapes and advances OCT’s overall organizational goals and supports an environment in which the members of the organization are engaged, inspired, and can thrive in their work.

2. Leads the creation and expression of an artistic vision of excellence for OCT and ensures that the organization is guided by this vision. Advocates for creativity and innovation on stage and in the classroom.

3. Guides and oversees OCT’s education and youth development programs which use theater as a powerful tool to teach, to inspire, and to empower.

4. Ensures the long-term sustainability of OCT by attending to the organization’s financial health.

5. Identifies and selects plays that that are relevant and exciting to OCT’s audience, with particular attention to meeting the needs and interests of children, and striving to express a wide variety of voices, subject matter and style to be inclusive of the community OCT serves.

6. Builds the artistic and production teams that will work together to bring the OCT season to the stage at the highest possible standard. Recruits experienced theater artists with which to collaborate and supports the development and growth of emerging artists for the field.

7. Advances OCT’s commitment to developing and producing new plays for young audiences by identifying titles, securing rights, commissioning playwrights and composers, and overseeing the play development process, often collaborating with national partners.

8. Informs and inspires OCT’s board of directors to fulfill their critical role in support of OCT’s mission.

9. Serves as an influential citizen in the city and region, and as a national leader in our field, seeking opportunities for OCT to collaborate and use its voice to further the public good, including advocating for the arts and for youth.

10. Builds goodwill within the community and acts as an ambassador of OCT.

11. Travels within Oregon and throughout the United States as necessary to support and further OCT’s mission.


Professional Experience:

The successful candidate will demonstrate substantive experience in roles requiring the exercise of leadership, including having been responsible for articulating a vision and motivating others to pursue that vision. While prior organizational experience in nonprofit theater or the field of Theatre for Young Audiences will be valued, it is not required.

The successful candidate may be a practicing theater director or could have other theater experience that excites the people of this company and our community. Individual must demonstrate a commitment to a rigorous artistic practice.

Personal Qualities and Values:

The following are all important to the success of the next Artistic Director at Oregon Children’s Theatre:

• A deep commitment to treating every child as an intelligent human that deserves to be given full respect and dignity.

• Ability to establish a collaborative working partnership with the Managing Director.

• A person who engenders trust and loyalty through their authenticity.

• A natural collaborator and team builder, a visionary, a thought leader.

• The vision and commitment to be a champion for the field of children’s theater, with an abiding understanding of its value and standing in the performing arts.

• A leader who applies a social justice lens to strategic decision-making.

• The capacity to build strong relationships, which includes internally with the staff and the board, but importantly also includes cultivating community relationships and promoting OCT.

• A desire to personally and institutionally be an active and impactful resident of the Portland metro area, with a demonstrated track record of community involvement.

Successful candidates will demonstrate a deep commitment to, and vision for, advancing equity and inclusion at Oregon Children’s Theatre. This may be shown through lived experience as a member of a group that is underrepresented in the leadership of American theaters and/or through a demonstration of previous successes in advancing racial equity, economic diversity, accessibility for individuals with disabilities and gender inclusivity.

Due to the nature of theater production and the essential functions of this job, the Artistic Director will be required to work in the evening and on weekends, especially during the performance season.

*This Job Description is a summary and is not intended to be all inclusive. It may be modified by OCT in its discretion.