The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre (Civic) is one of the country’s preeminent community theatres and has been center stage in the Kalamazoo community for 91 years. One of the nation’s oldest and largest non-Equity community theatres, the Civic serves as a training ground for young performers and theatrical designers. For more than nine decades, the Civic has personified its mission to produce a diverse spectrum of theater of the highest quality and to provide hands-on learning experiences in all aspects of theatre production and management.
Founded in 1929 as The Kalamazoo Civic Players, the organization moved to its current location, known then as the Kalamazoo Civic Auditorium, in 1931. This move established a long history of collaboration between the Players and the Auditorium, culminating in a merger of the two organizations to form the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre in 2000. The historic campus is comprised of three distinct spaces: the 500-seat Civic Auditorium, which was renovated in 1998 and provides office space for administrative staff, property storage, costume facilities, a paint shop, and a rehearsal space; the 175-seat Suzanne D. Parish Theatre, which was completed in 1998 and features a 4,000-square-foot scene shop, facilities for laundry and costume maintenance, and a box office; and the Carver Center, which houses the Civic’s resident designers, technical and education staff, and interns, as well as classrooms, rehearsal space, and the 100-seat Carver Center Studio.
The Civic is committed to being a welcoming and accessible space for all people focused on its core values of Integrity, Diversity, Inclusion, Fairness, Excellence, Accessibility, Accountability, and Growth. The Civic is a proud member of the nationally recognized Penguin Project, which provides youth and young adults with special needs the opportunity to participate in the community theatre experience.
The Civic produces a season of up to 14 productions, including classic Broadway musicals, riotous comedies, thought-provoking dramas, and productions for young audiences through its Civic Youth programs. It also offers educational workshops and classes for all ages through the Academy of Theater Arts. Serving in excess of 30,000 patrons annually, the Civic operates with an annual budget of $2.3 million. The organization employs 35 full- and part-time professional staff members and offers a comprehensive multi-disciplinary internship program. The Civic is governed by a committed and diverse 12-member board of directors led by President Troy Cuvelier.
Nestled into the southwestern corner of Michigan, the City of Kalamazoo is equidistant to Detroit, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. Listed among the top 50 most desirable places to live in 2021 by U.S. News & World Report, Kalamazoo offers a high quality of life, affordable housing, and thriving arts and entertainment culture. As the 17th largest city in Michigan, Kalamazoo’s significant business culture is anchored by numerous healthcare, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing headquarters located in the area. Kalamazoo is home to two nationally recognized healthcare systems, more than 30 parks and public spaces, and three higher learning institutions, including the recent addition of Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.
Kalamazoo places a high value on education and is home to theKalamazoo Promise, a pledge unveiled in 2005 by a group of anonymous donors to pay up to 100 percent of tuition at any of Michigan’s state colleges or universities for graduates of Kalamazoo public high schools. Today, more than 90 percent of Kalamazoo’s graduates go on to higher education. The Kalamazoo Promise is also viewed as an economic development tool for the city. Since the program was announced, enrollment in the school district has grown by 16 percent, test scores have improved, and a greater proportion of high school graduates are attending college. In 2016, Time magazine included the Kalamazoo Promise in its list of 240 Reasons to Celebrate America.
Cultural life in Kalamazoo is robust, with music, art, dance, and theatrical offerings comparable to cities much larger in size than its more than 330,000 residents. Downtown Kalamazoo is home to museums, libraries, art, live music, breweries, restaurants, theatre, festivals, parades, and special events such as Art Hop, a free, fun-filled evening of art exhibits and events held the first Friday of every month. The creative economy is supported by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and a host of individual and foundation funders. The Civic takes its place alongside such esteemed organizations as the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, and the internationally recognized Gilmore Keyboard Festival as one of the cultural cornerstones of the Midwest.
The City of Kalamazoo offers a wide array of housing opportunities, with a median home price of $154,000. Boasting elegant historic homes, modern downtown apartments, and Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes, Kalamazoo’s diverse neighborhoods cater to a wide range of home buyers.
The Executive Director will be a visionary leader with a passion for theatre, exceptional business acumen, and an intimate understanding of the role that the theatre plays in the community. Reporting to the board of directors, the Executive Director will work collaboratively to build on the Civic’s long history of success and enhance its operational and artistic footprint in preparation for its centennial in 2029. This individual will thrive at the intersection of business and art, bringing an experienced executive perspective to financial, human resources, development operations, facility and technical management . Serving as a mentor to Civic staff, the Executive Director will be a consummate relationship-manager and polished ambassador, experienced in engaging philanthropic supporters, stakeholders, elected officials, and community members. This role requires strong fundraising skills, including gift solicitation, donor cultivation, and stewardship. The successful candidate will build an organizational culture of accountability and trust characterized by aspirational but realistic goal setting, proactive decision making, impeccable follow-through, and strategic and transparent fiscal management.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Vision and Leadership
Create a compelling vision for the future of the Civic and build investment in that vision among internal and external stakeholders.
Provide day-to-day management and supervision of the staff, set performance goals and objectives, encourage creative and professional development, and create and support a workplace environment that fosters employee engagement, satisfaction, and a high level of professional performance.
Apply the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion to build a welcoming and safe organizational and artistic culture that invites new perspectives and ideas.
Build and nurture a strong relationship with the Civic’s talented community of volunteers, utilizing their assistance and commitment and recognizing their excellence.
Nurture and develop a culture of exceptional customer service through empathy, resolution, and efficiency.
Establish a strong working relationship with the Board of Directors encouraging all members to participate actively and supporting their full engagement.
Finance, Operations and Facilities
Ensure sound financial management and administrative policies, build and adhere to a comprehensive and accurate budget, and maintain and present accurate financial records and reports for board review.
Negotiate all organizational contracts, including but not limited to facilities usage, performance rights and royalties, and overall purchasing..
Evaluate organizational staff structure and oversee all human resource functions, ensuring staff retention and satisfaction by fostering meaningful opportunities for professional development and growth.
Review and update the Civic’s facilities plan, ensuring an emphasis on safety and security, and proactively address and rectify facilities challenges.
Guide the creation of a comprehensive revenue plan that ensures the growth of earned revenue opportunities and builds contributed revenue across the areas of membership, annual giving, corporate sponsorship, and foundation support.
Community Ambassadorship and Stakeholder Engagement
Represent the Civic throughout the Kalamazoo community and serve as a knowledgeable, expert advocate for issues impacting the Civic as well as the entire arts and culture sector.
Promote the Civic, its productions, and the overall arts in Kalamazoo to the media and support local efforts to build tourism and economic viability across the region.
Cultivate and steward donor prospects and close individual major gifts, corporate sponsorship, and foundation requests in coordination with the board of directors, Foundation Board, and Development Director.
Artistic and Programmatic Oversight
Cultivate and foster a supportive artistic environment driven by integrity, diversity, innovation, and excellence.
Collaborate with the Artistic Director to review and approve an annual production schedule reflective of a diverse community and ensure that all performances are offered at the highest standard.
Assess and enhance artistic training and education offerings, ensuring program quality and participant satisfaction.
Ensure creation of a fair and equitable audition, casting, rehearsal, and performance process as well as effective and efficient rehearsal and technical production schedules.
Elevate the Civic’s reputation regionally and nationally as a training program for young performers.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a strategic leader who is goal oriented and focused on successful outcomes achieved through collaboration and clear project plans. This individual will have exceptional emotional intelligence who builds teamwork, elevates and appreciates others for their accomplishments, inspires collaboration, and supports the ability to address conflict in a healthy, positive manner. A flexible and resilient organizational ambassador, the Executive Director will actively utilize innovative concepts, technologies, and methods to creatively problem solve.
Other key competencies include:
Leadership and Diplomacy – The ability to inspire passion and commitment for the mission, vision, values, and programming of a long-standing institution, to embrace change, and to build investment among a diverse constituency of internal and external stakeholders.
Initiative and Accountability – The capability to be self-starting and self-directed with the drive to initiate and reach the conclusion of projects and to take responsibility for personal actions and decisions.
Interpersonal Skills – The aptitude to build trust and engage people through open-mindedness, active listening, thoughtful and respectful dialogue, and timely, personal responses
Decision Making – The skill to identify and analyze risks, establish and prioritize goals, make consistently sound decisions, hold paid and volunteer teams accountable, and accept responsibility for professional and individual actions.
Organizing and Time and Priority Management – The initiative to thoughtfully and thoroughly evaluate processes, effectively establish and honor timelines, demonstrate commitment to outcomes through strategic decision making, clearly communicate change, and adjust priorities and expectations accordingly.
Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred, or equivalent professional experience in business, arts administration, arts education, or nonprofit management. A minimum of five to seven years of successful administrative leadership in the arts, education, or creative industries is required. Active in the local community and engaged with the national performing arts environment, the successful candidate must have a passion for theatre and a commitment to the role of arts and culture as an essential aspect of life. Leading candidates will also have significant experience in finance, fundraising, contract negotiation, theatrical production, and human resources. The ideal candidate will demonstrate exceptional written and spoken communication skills.
Compensation and Benefits
The Civic offers a competitive salary expected to be in the range of $90,000 to $105,000 and a benefits package that includes generous paid time-off; medical, dental, and vision plans; life insurance; tuition-free participation in all Academy of Theatre Arts programming, and paid parking.
Applications and Inquiries
To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit artsconsulting.com/employment. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:
The Civic promotes an inclusive work environment that protects people on the basis of background, heritage, color, ethnicity, religious beliefs, race, color, national origin (including perceived country of origin), age, sex, height, weight, marital status, veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
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