Artistic Director

Puppet Showplace Theater / Brookline, MA

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Puppet Showplace Theater seeks an Artistic Director (AD) to co-lead the organization. In partnership with the Managing Director, the AD carries out the theater’s mission to present outstanding professional puppetry to diverse audiences through performances, workshops, and community outreach activities.

The Artistic Director conceives, develops, and implements all programming at Puppet Showplace Theater.  The Artistic Director is responsible for organizing a year-round schedule of high quality puppetry programming including performances, classes, workshops, tours, exhibitions, displays, and co-presentations with other organizations. In collaboration with the Board and Managing Director, the Artistic Director recruits donors and supporters to sustain the theater’s artistic mission.

Now in its 47th year, Puppet Showplace Theater is nationally renowned as New England’s home for puppetry arts. Puppet Showplace is currently operating remotely with a reduced staff, and with some affiliated artists streaming programs from the theater. In the wake of pandemic closures and a recent theft that threatened the organization’s future, the theater is seeking an Artistic Director to help rebuild our vibrant, welcoming, and culturally responsive puppetry center as we re-launch in-person programs and work towards our 50th anniversary vision.

Puppet Showplace Theater is deeply committed to advancing the values of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts. The theater designs programs to engage audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, and runs programs specifically designed to increase diversity and representation in the puppetry field. The theater also partners with local organizations and emerging artists to develop innovative new work. We seek applicants from all backgrounds to ensure we get the best, most creative and diverse talent on our team. We especially welcome applicants from groups underrepresented in arts administration.

Responsibilities:

Programming   (60%)

  • Select and schedule a year-round season of puppetry performances to be presented on site or virtually at Puppet Showplace.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of educational programming, including puppetry classes, workshops, and school residencies for students of all ages.
  • Select puppetry content (performances and workshops) that Puppet Showplace will offer on tour. Determine and oversee procedures for presentation at off-site venues.
  • Supervise the Resident Artists. In partnership with the Managing Director, allocate resources (time, venue use, funding) to the Resident Artists’ production and development process.
  • Develop new programming by engaging community members and puppeteers in creative collaboration. Evaluate proposed opportunities based on quality, feasibility, mission, and community impact.
  • Manage all administrative aspects of booking performers and visiting artists including scheduling, contracting, acquisition of PR materials, load-in procedures, and hospitality arrangements.
  • Collaborate with the Managing Director to develop an annual organizational budget, and recommend pricing for all puppetry programming. Monitor expenses related to programming, and provide quantitative and qualitative cost/benefit analysis for any new or revised programming.
  • In collaboration with the Managing Director and the Board, oversee the development and implementation of strategic organizational goals including  marketing and financial targets.
  • Provide detailed reports on programming and artistic activities to staff and Board of Trustees.

Fundraising and Development (25%)

  • In partnership with the Managing Director, create and implement the theater’s annual development and fundraising plan.
  • Collaboratively plan donor events and initiatives, recruit artists for fundraising events, collaborate on the writing and reporting of grants, and meet with donors.
  • Help develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Trustees. Serve as an ex-officio trustee.  With the
  • Managing Director, engage the Board in activities to support the Theater’s mission and fundraising.
  • Build ongoing relationships with individual donors and philanthropists.
  • Plan member events and support efforts to promote membership.

Community Relations (10%)

  • Serve as a public spokesperson for the organization. Establish strategic relationships with area schools, business leaders, community and government organizations.
  • Engage regularly with audience members, patrons, and community members.
  • Attend local and regional community events to promote Puppet Showplace programs.
  • Develop a presence in the local and national puppetry community by attending performances and festivals.
  • Maintain Puppet Showplace Theater’s relationship with the Boston Area Guild of Puppetry and other local, regional, and national organizations devoted to the art of puppetry.
  • Foster relationships with performers and help develop the talents of emerging artists.
  • Represent Puppet Showplace Theater at arts advocacy events at the local, state, and national level.

Facility (5%)

  • Maintain the aesthetic value of Puppet Showplace Theater’s facility.  Design and oversee the installation of displays in the windows, lobby, and theater.
  • Maintain and display Puppet Showplace’s collection of archival puppets and puppetry-related media.
  • Together with the Managing Director, ensure that the technical aspects of the performance space, such as lighting and sound equipment, provide performers with adequate means to present high quality performances.

Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of and experience with live puppetry arts, and high standards of professional excellence in the field.
    5 years or equivalent professional work experience, preferably in performing arts, live event production, non-profit leadership, education, or other related field.
  • Flexibility and creativity in delivering programs and connecting to audiences across multiple formats (in-person, virtual, hybrid, outdoor).
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience creating and managing program budgets.
  • An ability to manage and motivate teams.
  • Experience serving diverse constituents including children and families as well as people of all backgrounds and abilities.
  • Enthusiasm for expanding puppetry to new populations.
  • An ability to interact with patrons and donors, and to serve as a spokesperson for Puppet Showplace.
  • Familiarity with web-based communication tools, databases, and analytical software.
  • Kindness, flexibility, and a good sense of humor.

Applicants who may not exactly meet these qualifications are encouraged to describe in their cover letter why they would nonetheless contribute to Puppet Showplace and how they would  carry out the requirements of this important role. 

Reports to:

Board of Trustees

Puppet Showplace Theater highly values diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds and abilities to apply. Puppet Showplace Theater provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity, and encourages a diverse and inclusive workplace. 

Time Commitment: 

Full-time exempt; 40 hours per week.
Additional hours as necessary for special events, including some evenings and weekends.

Application Process:

Send resume and cover letter to jobs@puppetshowplace.org with the subject line “2021 Artistic Director Position – First and Last Name.” No phone calls, please. If you progress through our initial stage, we will request 3-4 references.  Finalists will be required to pass a CORI check.

Apply By:

April 12, 2021

Start Date:

Flexible, with a target start of June 1.

Salary:

$50-55,000, commensurate with experience.