Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has established itself as a critical player in St. Louis’ vital cultural scene by creating highly regarded theatrical artistic offerings that connect deeply within St. Louis’ diverse population over its rich and storied history.
The mission of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is to produce professional Shakespeare theatre, culminating in a free production in Forest Park, and to celebrate both Shakespeare’s language and the artists he has inspired. Performances in Forest Park, one of the nation’s largest civic parks, are the flagship of the Festival’s rich programming. With the company’s steady stream of new and dynamic programming, those important performances are increasingly only the tip of the iceberg of creative output generated by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis.
The idea of a free Shakespeare festival that offered access to all St. Louis citizens regardless of economic means traces back to 1997. With broad civic support Shakespeare Festival St. Louis received 501(c)3 status in December 1999, and in 2001 produced its first annual free Shakespeare festival in Forest Park. Since that initial 10-performance run of ROMEO AND JULIET which attracted an audience of 33,000, the Festival has grown into a year-round operation that annually produces over 250 highly praised public performances for nearly 100,000 patrons of all ages in a variety of venues and situations intended to continually and intentionally expand access.
The Festival signed a long-term lease with the City of St. Louis in 2007 giving permanence to its performance home in Forest Park. In 2008 they completed a successful $1 million capital campaign and upgraded their performance site with permanent electricity, drainage, and grading. Rick Dildine became the Festival’s Artistic and Executive Director in 2009 and oversaw tremendous growth and artistic excellence for the company. Looking beyond the Park, Dildine’s tenure is significant for more than doubling the Festival’s programming, increasing attendance by more than 55 percent, and creating programming in the schools and streets of St. Louis that has shown a light on the company nationally for its innovation and active approach to building and in many cases healing communities in need. Dildine assumed the role of Artistic Director for Alabama Shakespeare Festival in the summer of 2017 opening up the opportunity for Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ new leader to emerge.
The signature programs of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis fall into three distinct focus areas. They are:
In the Schools: These programs make direct connections to students throughout the St. Louis area led by professional teaching artists. Specific programs include:
Education Tours that bring 50-minute adapted performances of Shakespeare’s work and interactive workshops to students through over 100 academic partnerships.
Shakespeare Squadron, which offers advanced acting and Shakespeare training for students ages 11-18.
Summer Camps open to students throughout St. Louis at various locations throughout the city.
In the Streets: These programs break down any real or perceived barriers, making direct connections with citizens in their own neighborhoods throughout St. Louis. Programming under this umbrella includes:
Shakespeare in the Streets (SITS), a grassroots theatrical experience that invites St. Louis neighborhoods to tell their stories. A professional creative team from the Festival develops an original play based on one of Shakespeare’s works—a play with themes that reflect the community’s character, and then residents of each year’s selected neighborhood contribute to all aspects of the production, from story development to live performance. The result is a weekend-long celebration of their collective effort, with three free-of-charge live, outdoor performances in a public space that unite the neighborhood and introduce each selected area as a creative force to the greater St. Louis area.
Shake 38, a fun week-long celebration which ties the community together in making and celebrating Shakespeare’s work. The charge of Shake 38 is to “Make the play happen any way you see fit.” The result is a dazzling array of events across the St. Louis area created by a myriad of participants from all walks of life, designed for a variety of audiences to enjoy.
Community Partnerships such as programs with Lifelong Learning Institute at Washington University and Shakespeare Festival Reads which allow participants the opportunity to learn about Shakespeare’s works in a dedicated and personal approach.
In the Park: The Shakespeare Festival’s flagship program now attracts up to 50,000 patrons for free-of-charge performances of an annual production of one of Shakespeare’s plays performed and created by professional artists in St. Louis’ Forest Park.
More information on Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ history and programming can be found on its website at https://www.sfstl.com/.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is at a moment in its evolution where it sees a real opportunity for measured growth that is spurred on by a company-wide belief in innovation. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is recognized as a leader in the arts and culture community and is the only free, professional theater in the St. Louis area employing renowned national and regional artists all for the benefit of the community. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is somewhat unique it that it depends almost entirely on the contributions of individuals, foundations, corporations, and public institutions for support with 90% of its nearly $1.5 Million budget coming from contributed revenue. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis operates from a leased office space in The Hill area of St. Louis and performs at a variety of sites around St. Louis. The Festival has a year-round staff of approximately 10 (a mix of full and part-time employees) that is complemented by contracted staff who address the needs of all its programs. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is a member of Theatre Communications Group and the Shakespeare Theatre Association and offers employment opportunities to members of the creative industry unions AEA, SSDC, USA, and IATSE. With its highly-engaged Board of Directors, the Festival operates debt-free and is ready to further its reach and impact throughout St. Louis and be known as a national leader in civic engagement through innovative artistic work.
The Executive Producer will provide the artistic vision, entrepreneurial talent, organizational management skills, and inspired drive towards innovation that is essential for the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ continued growth. Reporting directly to the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Board of Directors, the Executive Producer will set all programming in collaboration with a forward-thinking staff, inspire Board and staff to reach for and realize ambitious goals, ensure that the artistic and administrative output of the organization is stronger than ever, and expand and continue to define the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ reach to the community in new ways as yet unrealized. This dedicated leader will be excited by the opportunity to bring new funding sources to the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis through well-coordinated fundraising and previously untapped sources of revenue that ensure that the company stays true to its mission of offering high quality professional productions of Shakespeare’s work and inspired language based presentations available to the public regardless of economic means. As the key public figure of the organization, the Executive Producer will work with dignity, charisma, and boundless energy to ensure that a brighter light is shined on Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ entire body of work.
Position and Responsibilities
The Executive Producer will be responsible for planning and executing Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ current slate of programs and events while simultaneously developing viable strategies to create new programming that will excite and engage the greater St. Louis community in an ongoing dialogue about the benefits of authentic creative experiences in the life of a city. The Executive Producer will seek out and employ great artists and administrators to execute an expansive vision. It is not anticipated that the Executive Producer will direct any of the Festival’s plays or outreach programs, but instead will provide guidance, oversight, and mentorship to those charged with these duties. Building the Festival’s base of operations through a dedicated push towards fund development and relationship building will be a premiere focus for the Executive Producer. This leader will fully embrace and act upon the Festival’s belief that theatre is a powerful tool for social change by fostering a spirit of inclusion and access that succeeds as a model for other producing organizations on the national scene.
Provide direction and leadership toward the development and achievement of the organization’s philosophy, mission, vision, strategy and annual goals and objectives.
Establish and nourish a great working relationship built on trust and accountability with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ Board of Directors.
Create applicable and implementable systems of measuring the efficacy of all organizational programming.
Maintain an environment predicated on the assumption that all those working with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis will perform at the highest level throughout all aspects of the organization.
Operate with a team-building approach to instill a culture of mutual respect and trust throughout the organization (artistic, staff, Board, donors, volunteers, and community partners).
Operate Shakespeare Festival St. Louis in a financially prudent and ethical manner so as to achieve the specific revenue and expenditure goals set forth in the annual budget approved by the Board.
Value and recognize contributions (time, wealth, ideas, etc.) made by all stakeholders by encouraging creative problem solving and showing respect for differing opinions and perspectives.
Lead the ongoing strategic thinking process to identify new artistic and resource opportunities.
Keep staff, Board, and community engaged and connected to all of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ activities through a sense of optimism and passion.
Define the artistic vision and direction of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and its education/community programs. The Executive Producer is the chief artistic officer leading a variety of artists to create the annual festival programming.
Develop programs that command significant and expanding interest among audience-goers and the media because of their real impact on community.
Select, hire, develop, motivate and inspire professional actors, directors, designers, teachers and artistic/production staff.
Ensure the artistic excellence of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis offerings through selection of repertoire, performances, and programs for professional and student theatre artists.
Celebrate his or her own love and relationship with the works of Shakespeare both within the St Louis theatre community and the broader regional/national theatre community.
Maintain a robust network of cultural influencers and today’s most talented and emerging theatre artists.
Forge and more fully establish beneficial relationships with universities and colleges in the greater St. Louis area.
Fundraising and Artistic Entrepreneurialism
Develop and achieve balanced annual operating budgets.
Activate and fully participate in institutional fundraising through a clear and focused agenda set forth in collaboration with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ Director of Development and Board of Directors.
Create an infrastructure that delivers a cohesive message and clear intent to achieve annual fundraising, sales, and attendance goals.
Serve as the organization’s main public face directly engaging funders and key influencers.
Forge effective, collaborative, transparent working relationships that can help advance Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ organizational capacity.
Seek out and develop new ways to increase Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ revenue base while never losing perspective on its dedication to provide access to programming unencumbered by economic barriers.
Communication and Marketing
Charismatically act as Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ primary spokesperson.
Create and execute innovative marketing plans that accurately convey Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ spirit of innovation.
Manage all employees, contractors, and specialized firms dedicated to providing marketing support.
Collaborate closely with Kiku Obata & Company on brand and identity cohesion, and cultivate that long-term relationship through demonstrations of appreciation and respect.
Regularly assess sales and marketing programs and plans and revise when needed.
Communicate all messaging and marketing approaches to Board and staff in advance of their implementation and execution.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool. The ideal candidate will have the following:
Deep personal contacts among theatre artists; a sense of artistic gravitas rooted in professional experience.
Substantial artistic and managerial experience in conceiving and producing all aspects of live theatrical events, with a preference towards individuals who understand the unique dynamics of producing outdoor events.
Demonstrated ability to animate the imagination and interests of diverse audiences.
Proven track record in effectively mobilizing funds and support relative to organizational aspiration.
Collaborative, transparent, team-oriented approach to work.
Ability to multi-task and respond swiftly and under pressure in a fast-paced environment.
Ability to write well and to speak articulately and persuasively.
Ability to lead and motivate a team of staff and volunteers with an assured and inclusive sense of purpose.
Excellent skills in communicating opportunities and challenges in a manner that keeps an organization moving forward and constantly focused on opportunity.
The ideal candidate will also possess the following characteristics:
A positive attitude
A strong attention to detail
A keen sense of humor
A strong work ethic and authentic sense of grit
Ability to derive deep satisfaction from facilitating the best work of others
A desire to live and work in St. Louis
Compensation, Application Procedure and Start Date
The salary and benefit package for this position will be competitive with other non-profit organizations of comparable stature and size.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis hopes to make its decision in the first quarter of 2018 with the successful candidate onsite prior to their summer 2018 Season. Interested candidates are invited to send a résumé or CV, cover letter and at least three professional references to the consulting firm retained to facilitate this important search:
Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Subject Line: Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Executive Producer Search
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is working with Management Consultants for the Arts on this very important search.
For over 30 years, Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc. has specialized in working with the cultural field and has had a rich involvement with cultural organizations of all types and sizes throughout the country. We have built our reputation on our deep understanding of the needs... and objectives of America's individual cultural organizations as well as our knowledge of the national context in which they operate.
Our services include consultations in: planning, executive search, organizational analysis, board/staff retreats and seminars, conference and workshop development and facilitation.
We provide these services to a broad range of cultural organizations, including theaters, art museums, dance companies, historical societies, visual arts centers, children's museums, science centers, performing arts centers, orchestras, service organizations, arts councils, foundations and public agencies.