Studio East Training for the Performing Arts is seeking an Artistic Director to envision, develop and direct best-in-class programming that inspires young students and audiences through theater. Our thriving Mainstage theater production program, school enrichment programs, and after-school class and summer camp programs, as well as our touring performing company for the youngest audiences, were the brainchild of our founding Artistic Director of 30 years. You will take the helm from her and own the artistic direction of the future, along with the respect, love and appreciation she and the Studio East community have cultivated over these 30 years.
We will begin interviews June 15 and are targeting September 1 to have a new person on board for the beginning of our 23-24 season and fiscal year. Compensation starts at $76,000 DOE, plus a benefits package. Please email resume and cover letter to Mary Beth Binns, President of the Board of Directors, with “Artistic Director Search” in the subject line. Please, no calls. Feel free to email us at the same address with questions. For a full job description, click here.
Who You Are
- You are unyieldingly passionate about the performing arts as a tool to help young people become and achieve. You love students, and love to mentor them to grow and mature.
- You have “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging” at your core, and know that it’s not just about policies and procedures, but a way of thinking and becoming. You have a clear vision of how Studio East can do what theater does best: raise the conversation without preaching; engage without mandating; and question without condescending. You’re eager to select curriculum and content that challenges young artists to reach their highest potential and embrace our common humanity.
- You embrace the classics, but also place a high value on embracing and developing new works by new artists that showcase new voices.
- You’ve spent at least 5 years setting the creative direction, overseeing theater educational programming & Mainstage show selection for a $1million+ youth theater and you’re now eager to stretch yourself to take the reins of a $2mil+ program.
- You have a keen understanding of the genius that sustains performing arts excellence, and specifically non-profit arts education, combining inspired creativity with fiscal wisdom. You are a highly organized artist who understands equally the power of art, and the art of business in a performing arts organization.
Who We Are
Studio East is one of the largest children’s theater education programs in Washington State, serving the Eastside Seattle community for over 30 years. Studio East annually offers over 3,500 youth, ages 4-19, a variety of opportunities within which to explore theater arts. Studio East provides best-in-class performing arts education and audience opportunities to inspire, train and entertain young people through engagement in the art and craft of theater. Our touring company, StoryBook Theater, performing to an audience of over 70,000 annually, introduces young children throughout the greater Puget Sound area to live musical theater imbued with positive life lessons.
We believe theater is a transformative, cultural force that develops valuable skills children can use throughout their lives – discipline, resilience, dependability, creative problem solving, teamwork — regardless of their eventual chosen vocation.
Our “DEIAB” Statement
We define inclusivity with two words: welcome home. The entire Studio East organization creates and supports an environment that embraces individuals from any background, culture, identity, orientation, or ability, and strives to foster a sense of real belonging. Our staff training, human resource policies and practices, shows, programming and educational messaging are evolving rapidly to embrace and amplify the changing needs and desires of our community.
This year we are celebrating 30 years of program excellence and growth. And we believe we’re just getting started. We are one of the largest children’s theater programs in Washington, serving the greater Seattle/Puget Sound community. Each year the Studio challenges over 5000 children, ages 4-19, through a comprehensive program of year-round theater classes, home school classes, day & summer theater camps, student main stage productions, advanced curriculum intensives, and after school enrichment programs at local schools, giving youth tools they need to create and to succeed. We believe in every young person’s ability to embrace the highest-quality and socially relevant theater, believing they can find inside themselves the desire to make a meaningful contribution and achieve their personal best.
Our Executive Team
The Executive Team of Studio East reports directly to the Board of Directors, and is comprised of the Managing Director (MD) and the Artistic Director (AD). This combined executive team leads a highly collaborative organizational culture. We’ve already secured for you an outstanding team-player Managing Director, who embraces the jill-of-all-trades aspects of managing a multi-branch non-profit theater arts organization, and who embraces the respect and collaboration it takes to build a right-sized budget to ensure we are living out our mission for our students, families, and patrons. You will be involved in a lot of things yourself; the breadth and depth of this job is its most exciting aspect.
Our Vision for Our Future
Studio East not only found a way through the pandemic, today our programs are thriving. We are emerging from the pandemic impact with increased student enrollment, consistent program growth, fiscal strength and a heart that beats to reach more students with the light and joy of the performing arts. We currently rent Kirkland Teen Union Building in downtown Kirkland, WA, and are proactively seeking the right opportunity, and potential capital campaign, to secure a permanent forever home.
Position Artistic Director
Position Status Full-time Exempt
Reports to Board of Directors
Start Date September 1, 2023
Compensation $76,000+ DOE
Studio East Programs:
- Year-round after-school and homeschool classes
- School break camps
- Summer theater camps
- 6 Mainstage student productions
- An offsite summer teen musical
- A six-week professional summer training program for teens
- After-school programs and productions at local schools.
The Studio also produces StoryBook Theater (SBT), an adult professional touring troupe that presents original musicals with life-lessons for young children. SBT performs throughout the Puget Sound area for an annual audience of over 70,000.
Pre-pandemic, Studio East operated with a budget of just over $2 million and had a full-time staff of 15. We are rebuilding our programs with some immediate success growing beyond our pre-pandemic levels. We currently rent a temporary space, with plans to establish ourselves in a forever home in 5-7 years.
The Artistic Director is responsible for the artistic vision and programming of the company, and for facilitating the artistic component of management and fundraising activities. The Artistic Director works collaboratively with the Managing Director to form the Executive Team, and reports directly to the Board of Directors.
The Executive Team presents the public face of Studio East and may be called upon to speak to private and public organizations and to the press. Both are expected to embody and be committed to our organizational values.
- Oversees all aspects of artistic programming, curating the annual season for Mainstage, the Summer Teen Musical, and StoryBook Theater, as well as special events such as Jest for Funds and Curtains Up.
- Ensures artistic programs meet the goals of Studio East and respond to “DEIAB” principles.
- Manages and supports the Education Director and Production Manager.
- Vets and hires directors, choreographers and musical directors for all productions, ensuring that all shows meet artistic standards. The Artistic Director is the final say in the casting of all productions.
- Maintains positive ongoing working relationships and effective communication with students, volunteers, staff, parents, guest artists, and board members. Handles any artistic concerns of parents or students (e.g. over-casting, rehearsal issues, or personal concerns).
- Builds the schedule and hires all teachers for the Young Actors Professional Intensive (YAPI), the six-week summer training program for teens who are serious about pursuing a career in the performing arts.
- Directs the Summer Teen Musical and at least one Mainstage production each year. Directs at least one StoryBook production.
- Plays an active leadership role in the local theater community; keeps track of and communicates with other local youth theaters; stays informed of theater trends and activities, locally and nationally.
- As needed, publicly represents Studio East to the media, patrons, other organizations and groups, government bodies, funding agencies, sponsors, and potential sponsors.
- Builds strong and enduring relationships with local arts organizations, schools, educators, industry associations and other potential partners of the Studio; serve on local boards as appropriate.
- Helps to devise and participate in outreach and audience development activities related to the company’s productions.
- Works closely with the Managing Director and Development Director on both short- and long-term strategic planning.
- In conjunction with the Managing Director, prepares the budget for productions; meets or exceeds established program goals to include increased participation and retention of students in the youth programs.
- Works closely with the Board of Directors, including attending Board meetings, sitting on Board committees, and attending strategic planning sessions.
- In collaboration with the Managing Director, serves as a staff lead and liaison for the Board of Directors, ensuring compliance with bylaws and Board handbook policies; develops and executes policy and plans (strategic and annual) that serve the organization’s mission.
- Provides the Board of Directors, board committees, and the Managing Director regular information on issues falling under the jurisdiction of the Artistic Director.
- Willing to jump in and help in all areas as necessary. Not afraid of vacuuming, dusting or taking out the trash.
This position demands strong skills in organizational leadership and a familiarity with the open-ended nature of working in a non-profit or being in an artistic process. A candidate must have clarity of artistic vision with a passion for youth education. Other qualifications include:
- Must love theater and working with children in the arts.
- Strong leadership skills and an understanding of how to work with directors and teaching artists. Must be supportive and trusting, and allow creativity to flourish while working within a limited budget and technical restrictions.
- 5+ years of leadership experience with an arts organization or community environment.
- 5+ years teaching and working with students and their parents.
- Experience creating youth programming and education.
- Significant theater performance and directing experience.
- Working knowledge of production aspects such as costumes, props, sets, and stage makeup/wigs.
- Demonstrated ability to set and stick to budgets, timelines, and due dates.
- Bachelor’s Degree – Master’s Degree preferred.
- Previous experience in fundraising and/or marketing preferred.
- Ability to work with a team to support fundraising efforts; fluency in the performing arts industry and in arts funding.
- Excellent verbal, written, interpersonal communication, and presentation skills.
- The ability to work independently, as well as being a team player.
- Strong knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher. Access a plus, as well as Adobe Suite.
- Ability to stand for long periods of time; regularly lift and move heavy theater and stage objects.
- Frequent evenings and weekends required.
- Local travel required: ability and means to travel as needed.
Benefits include health and dental plan; paid sick, vacation, and holiday; and 401(k) matching contributions.
Successful criminal background check required. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination required.