Producing Artistic Director

The Coterie Theatre / Kansas City, MO


$85,000 - $95,000

The Coterie Theatre seeks a collaborative and dynamic Producing Artistic Director to help usher in a vibrant new era of theatre for young audiences that builds upon The Coterie’s four decades of success and continues to reimagine what is possible onstage and within the Kansas City community.

Who is The Coterie Theatre?
Our Mission & Values
The Coterie is a non-profit professional equity theatre, established in 1979, with the mission of providing professional classic and contemporary theatre which challenges audience and artist and provides educational, dramatic community learning programs. We seek to open lines of communication between races, genders, and generations by redefining children’s theatre to include families and diverse audiences.

By embracing the following values, The Coterie LIVS Justice:

  • LOVE: We believe that a commitment to equity is an expression of love.
  • IMAGINATION: We share stories that stretch the imagination and open new perspectives of our local and global communities.
  • VOICES:  We are committed to opening the minds of young people, as well as creating opportunities to hear and share the voices of young people as well as the voices that speak to them.
  • STORYTELLING: We celebrate diversity through storytelling, on-stage performances, and education, always striving to uplift and amplify the voices of young people.
  • JUSTICE: We embrace the arts as an essential force in promoting justice for all.

About Us
“The Coterie Theatre was so instrumental in helping me hone my craft as a writer.”
– Janelle Monáe, award winning singer, rapper, & actor from Kansas City

Judith Yeckel and Vicky Lee, two graduate students in theatre from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, founded The Coterie in 1979. Over the past 40 years, The Coterie has given over 13,000 performances of 285 productions on its mainstage, playing to approximately 2.2 million people. In 2017, The Coterie celebrated the milestone of serving over 100,000 students and families in a single season with its mainstage productions, acting classes, in-school workshops, and community partnership programs. The Coterie is among the top theatres serving families and young audiences in the United States.

Since its founding, The Coterie has produced nearly 70 world and American premieres, many of them commissioned by The Coterie. Recent premieres include Only One Day a Year (2023), Alice’s Wonderland (2022), and Spongebob: The Musical (2021). Kansas City native playwright Christina Anderson produced her first play through the Young Playwrights Round Table; whose work such as the ripple, the wave that carried me home has been produced across the country at top regional theatres, and Paradise Square which was nominated for the Tony for Outstanding Book of the Broadway musical. Amplifying works and playwrights that explore social justice is a major component of The Coterie’s commitment to premiering new productions. The Coterie’s educational programs such as Project Daylight, classroom immersions, Reaching the Write Minds/Young Playwrights, Project Pride, and the Theatre School are integral to the artistic programming and curation of the season.

Who is in Leadership?
Jonathan Thomas (he/him) is the Managing Director of The Coterie. He began his path as a professional opera and musical theatre performer out of college, working locally with many area performing arts organizations including the Kansas City Symphony, New Theatre & Restaurant, Kansas City Chorale, Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, ArtsKC as the Senior Development Manager, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as the Senior Manager for Individual Giving & Partnerships. After seven years building a successful insurance and financial advising agency, he moved to San Francisco to follow his passion in arts administration. Before returning to Kansas City in 2018, he served as the development manager for The Walden School for three years. Jonathan received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Kansas. He continues his commitment to educating and advocating for the arts by serving on the Orpheus KC board, the Johnson County Park and Recreation Artist Selection Committee, and by chairing the Theatre in the Park advisory council. He is a frequent guest speaker about the economic impact of the arts in Kansas City, appearing at the NAAAP Leadership Conference, Arts Day for Centurions, and at the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Theresa Stoker (she/her) is the President of The Coterie Board of Directors. She grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration. She worked for KPMG in both the audit and tax groups and is currently a self-employed CPA offering bookkeeping and tax services to nonprofits, small businesses, and individuals. She also serves on the Board of Directors for several youth focused nonprofits including Girls Scouts of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri, Olathe Public Schools Foundation, and Kindcraft, Inc. She joined The Coterie Board of Directors in 2017, after co-chairing The Coterie’s annual Gala in 2016. She currently resides in Olathe, KS.

What You Will Do?
The Producing Artistic Director (PAD) will partner with Managing Director (MD) Jonathan Thomas and the dedicated staff of The Coterie Theatre to steer the organization through a challenging time of transition into a meaningful new era of artistic and community programming.

The PAD will be heavily involved in all facets of the production process: from season planning, production budgeting, and commissioning new work and world premieres; to assembling diverse and dynamic teams to lead each production; to ensuring that Coterie production processes unfold with accountability and care; to curating meaningful interactions and events for Coterie audiences and community members. The PAD will have their pulse on the current moment and enjoy envisioning what work onstage might speak to the most pressing current events and issues. The PAD will ensure that Coterie productions include and speak to the vibrant and diverse communities within Kansas City. The PAD will nurture partnerships The Coterie already has with community groups and work to connect with others. The PAD will support education staff in the vital work they do to engage with Kansas City educators and students, providing artistic input on those programs as needed. The PAD will help realize The Coterie’s strategic plan and will embrace The Coterie’s commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, justice (EDIJ) and Anti-Racism. The PAD will join a close-knit staff and actively foster an atmosphere of respect, accountability, and transparency. The PAD will have or commit to cultivating deep relationships within the Kansas City performance art community. The PAD will work closely with and report to The Coterie’s dedicated Board of DIrectors (Board) in achieving these goals.

Artistic Producing & Curation

  • Curate, plan, and lead the season programming of mainstage productions aligned with the mission, vision and values of The Coterie from conception to execution in collaboration with the MD, artistic staff, and resident artists.
  • Create and modify as necessary the schedule for artistic season’s rehearsal, performance, and additional programming in collaboration with production, marketing, and facilities, including production meeting schedules and planning with the technical director and stage manager, and production manager should one be hired.
  • Oversee and develop artistic programming and play development in partnership with the MD and department heads.
  • Identify and develop relationships with playwrights, composers, directors, actors, designers, and other artists. The PAD will create artistic teams for all productions.
  • In collaboration with the MD, participate in the development of production  and artistic budgets, as well as the seasonal calendar.
  • With support and input from the MD, create major agreements with playwrights, co-productions with other non-profit institutions, licensing entities, and other partners of The Coterie.
  • Attend and provide feedback on key components of the production process, including but not limited to: first rehearsal, room runs, design run-throughs, technical rehearsals, and previews of shows.
  • Direct and/or design 1-2 productions per season to highlight artistic leadership and provide budget relief. Have the opportunity to take an artistic role (i.e. act, direct, design, etc.) in at least one production per season if desired.
  • Research and seek out new theatre for young audiences  productions and opportunities to commission or write new work themselves.

Strategic Vision

  • Assume a leadership role in strategic planning and fostering a positive and mission-forward company culture, alongside the MD and Board.
  • Steward and advance the strategic plan of The Coterie with EDIJ strategies as a top priority in every aspect of production and practice.
  • In collaboration with the MD, lead staff in working with the Board on strategic planning and annual reviews.
  • Be involved in fundraising activities, nurturing partnerships with institutions, donors, corporations and foundations.
  • Actively participate in the identification, cultivation and solicitation of corporate, individual, government and foundation donors, both locally and nationally.
  • In collaboration with the MD and Board, create strategies for annual and capital fund development.
  • Work with the MD, Business Manager (outside consulting firm), Finance Committee, and Board to prepare and execute annual budgets and theatre’s plans for financial stabilization.

Relationship & Partner Cultivation

  • Cultivate new and existing relationships with Kansas City’s arts and cultural leaders and institutions.
    Serve as a spokesperson for the organization to press, donors, audiences, and artists.
  • Advance EDIJ goals within the organization that are embedded in every aspect of The Coterie’s production systems, policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Supervise direct reports within the artistic production team and technical director with individual employee goals and organizational objectives in mind.
  • With the support and input of the MD, negotiate, draft, and oversee the execution of employment contracts and agreements with artistic staff, artists, licensing entities, production personnel, and relevant unions.
  • Report to the Board regularly on the company’s activities, progress, and challenges. Aid in recruiting and orienting new Board members.
  • Collaborate with the MD on human resources activities including hiring, setting of salary levels and other employment terms, evaluation, and termination of production and artistic staff.
  • Establish and maintain professional relationships with the national theatre for young audiences field, including organizations such as Theatre for Young Audiences/USA, Kennedy Center TYA, etc.

Who We Are Looking For
The Producing Artistic Director (PAD) role is ideal for an experienced director and producer of theatre for young audiences who is passionate about The Coterie’s mission and ready to commit themselves to the organization’s next chapter.  The ideal candidate is someone with a deep love for the craft of theatre for young audiences and a vision for what kinds of new work will speak to the moment and the communities The Coterie serves. This person will be a team player, eager to partner with a Managing Director and join a staff that functions as an ensemble. The new PAD should have a track record of nurturing relationships both within an organization and with diverse community partners and constituents. This person will have a demonstrated commitment to EDIJ and experience putting these values into practice with staff and in production processes.

Essential Skills and Attributes

  • Collaborative spirit and ability to deepen, nurture, and expand relationships with Kansas City artists, audiences, and community partners.
  • Extensive experience directing and producing theatre for young audiences and a history of innovative productions.
  • Background and track record of EDIJ & Anti-Racism leadership in arts institutions.
  • Familiarity with and knowledge of the national theatre for young audiences networks and programs.
  • Experience in theatre education and partnering with schools and educators.
  • History of community learning and building relationships with community partners.
  • Knowledge of Kansas City and/or willingness to take the time to really learn about the city and its communities.
  • An interest in mentorship and nurturing staff and artists.
  • A commitment to transparency and familiarity with organizational feedback systems.
  • Keen listening skills and a knack for fostering a healthy workplace atmosphere.

Salary and Benefits
Salary:   $85,000 – $95,000/year. Full-time.

About Kansas City
Over the last 20 years, Kansas City has experienced a renaissance in the arts in both infrastructure and programming.  Local philanthropists and civic leaders have invested over $1 billion in new infrastructure including but not limited to: The Bloch Gallery Expansion at the Nelson Adkins Museum, the construction of the world class Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, new homes for the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Ballet, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, as well a expansions to the UMKC Conservatory, and the Kansas City Arts Institute. The thriving theatre scene includes storefront ensembles and prolific LORT theatres such as the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Unicorn Theatre, the Starlight Theatre Kansas City, The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City, and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.

The “Paris of the Plains” is one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. — KC also offers great neighborhoods for families, attracts singles and young professionals, and has a 2.6% unemployment rate. On an index of 100, Kansas City’s cost of living is 91, coming in 8.9 percent under the national average. Kansas City is ranked 7th for the most affordable homes, according to the ACCRA affordability index. The cost of living is below the national average including groceries, utilities, housing, transportation, and healthcare. Some of the top industries in Kansas City include manufacturing, animal health, technology, and the financial sector. With award winning libraries, family friendly attractions, free city-wide public transportation, and a thriving arts and culture scene, Kansas City is one of the best major U.S. cities to call home (ifamilykc, Extra Space, and Movoto).

Benefits Package 

  • Full health and dental insurance, premiums paid.
  • Self-managed time off.
  • Retirement plan option with a 3% match.

How to Apply 
Click here to submit your application. Application deadline is 5p ET August 25, 2023, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis..

The Coterie Theatre is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants shall be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, sex/gender (including pregnancy and gender identity), disability, military status, veteran status, marital status, familial status, ancestry, genetics, or any other class or characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. Studies have shown that marginalized communities – such as women, LGBTQ+ and people of color – are less likely to apply to jobs unless they meet every single qualification. 

The Coterie Theatre is dedicated to fostering an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible workplace. If your past experience does not align perfectly but you are excited about this opportunity, we encourage you to apply. Candidates from populations underrepresented in the theatre field are strongly encouraged to apply.