Penobscot Theatre Company’s artistic director will earn a comprehensive benefits package and competitive salary commensurate with experience. The successful candidate can expect a formal review after the first six months, and an annual review thereafter.
The board of directors of Penobscot Theatre Company has launched a national search for the company’s next artistic director, a proven leader to advance the organization’s mission of inspiring lifelong passion for the theatrical art form in the heart of Maine and beyond. As the only year-round professional theatre in Northern Maine, the company occupies a vital niche, serving as a cultural cornerstone and significant economic driver. The company’s primary work is the production of its mainstage season, staged at the historic Bangor Opera House. In addition, the Penobscot Theatre Company presents various acts throughout the year, and offers a rich array of educational programs for theatre enthusiasts of all ages.
The artistic director will build on the company’s firm foundation; continue to grow its audience by demonstrating the power of theatre to enrich, illuminate, unite and delight; and solidify Penobscot Theatre Company’s leadership at the forefront of efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusion.
Role and Responsibilities
Reporting to the board of directors and working in partnership with the executive director, the artistic director is responsible for overseeing and directing every aspect of the institution. The artistic director plays a leading role in defining the company’s artistic vision and deepening its community impact, ensuring adherence to the highest standards of the craft, producing wonderfully memorable theatre experiences, delivering outstanding educational programs, and expertly developing artists and audiences.
While not all-inclusive, the following outline lists specific responsibilities of this position.
Selecting each season's titles and developing all programming
Negotiating and signing all contracts for literary properties and other artistic contracts
Casting all mainstage productions; and hiring directors, designers, music directors, and other artistic personnel as needed
Overseeing the production process to ensure that established standards are met
Approving all material budgets (scenic, costume, lighting, sound)
Directing, designing or performing in at least two mainstage productions per season
Attending performances as available and delivering pre-curtain speeches as needed
Overseeing the development and implementation of robust educational programming for all ages
In partnership with the executive director, developing annual budgets for board approval, which reflect sound projections and best financial practices
Overseeing the development of timely financial reports in partnership with the executive director
Tracking budget variances and communicating as appropriate to the board
Ensuring that appropriate financial controls are in place
Human Resources Management
In collaboration with the executive director, hiring all administrative staff, including but not limited to the director of education, production manager/technical director, production stage manager, master electrician, and master carpenter
Approving the hire of resident teaching artists and production apprentices
Directly supervising and supporting the development of the director of creative curriculum and production manager/technical director
Maintaining a rich culture of collaboration, consideration and mutual respect across the organization
Ensuring fidelity to core processes, including safety and security protocols
Ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and adherence to the highest ethical standards
Overseeing the maintenance and renovations of all facilities related to artistic production
Directing production staff as appropriate to support maintenance and renovations
Collaborating with the executive director to develop subscriber communications and audience development initiatives
Responding to complaints/accolades
Serving on community boards and representing the company at civic events as appropriate
Attending local, statewide and national conferences as available
In partnership with the executive director, cultivating relationships with mission-aligned philanthropies, major donors, and the business community
Developing and maintaining effective relationships with mission-aligned nonprofit and community-based organizations to leverage collective strengths
In partnership with the executive director, serving as the company’s chief spokesperson, engaging with TV, radio, print and web-based media to cultivate interest and understanding
Collaborating with the executive director and marketing director to develop multimedia advertisements
Board of Directors
Attending meetings of the full board, providing comprehensive written reports in advance and verbal reports as appropriate
Attending and providing reports at meetings of the finance and executive committees, and supporting other committees as needed
In collaboration with the governance committee, meeting with prospective board members and supporting the onboarding process and ongoing board development efforts
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Penobscot Theatre Company believes that art flourishes when all have equal access, and strives to reflect and promote these values by telling diverse stories through authentic representation. The company understands that equity, diversity, and inclusion are active processes that require continuous work and assessment. It is committed to listening and learning, and expects to be held accountable. To create an equitable space, Penobscot Theatre Company works to promote the overall health of company members, its community, and its environment for both present and future generations in the heart of Maine.
Penobscot Theatre Company does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, national origin, ancestry, public assistance, ethnic background, religion, marital status, economic class, age, disability or handicap (mental or physical), sex, creed, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and any other legally protected characteristics in admission or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment. The company complies with all applicable national, state and local laws pertaining to nondiscrimination and equal opportunity.
Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Starboard Leadership Consulting at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Paper copies may be sent to Jessica Weiner, Starboard Leadership Consulting, 84 Harlow St., Bangor, ME 04401, but electronic submissions of material are preferred. No phone inquiries, please. The application deadline is January 28, 2022, and review of all submissions will begin on that date.
Leading Penobscot Theatre Company in its next chapter of growth will require a broad set of skills and abilities. The board expects that the successful candidate will bring to the role:
Depth and breadth of experience in regional professional theatre and irrepressible passion for the craft
Distinctive vision, clear convictions, voracious curiosity, and broadmindedness
Abiding commitment to quality, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility
A strong track record of assembling and leading robust theatrical production teams, including BIPOC artists in significant number and meaningful roles
Knowledge of the regional and national artistic communities, and eagerness to engage with local artists both established and emerging
Demonstrated ability in creative problem-solving, strategic planning and efficient execution
The capacity to organize around the big picture while maintaining appropriate attention to detail, including importantly in story-telling
Considerable experience in nonprofit financial management and planning
High degree of self-awareness, humility, and authentic ease in working with diverse people in varying circumstances
A management style that prizes inclusion and collaboration, reliably develops individual and team strengths, celebrates success, and promotes community
Experience as an exceptional relationship-builder
Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
Previous experience in working with Actors’ Equity Association and other theatrical unions, and negotiating contracts
Strong dedication to partnering with communities that are traditionally under-resourced and under-represented, and meaningful connections with diverse communities
Unfailing energy, courage, resilience and optimism
Penobscot Theatre Company was incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 1983, but it developed out of Acadia Repertory Theatre, founded a decade earlier. Acadia Rep presented 97 productions in Bangor before moving to Mount Desert Island, where it has continued to operate seasonally as a separate entity, while Penobscot Theatre Company has grown steadily in the scope of its operations and impact on the community.
In the 1990s and early aughts, the company began operating with paid professionals and attendance climbed. The theatre’s activity broadened to include the annual Maine Shakespeare Festival, which performed on the banks of the Penobscot River for seven summers.
In 1997, the company acquired the Bangor Opera House, which now serves as its base of operations. The Opera House is not only the last remaining performance art venue in downtown Bangor, but also one of the last remaining Egyptian art deco-style theatres in the U.S. First designed as a 1,500-seat theatre, it now seats 334, with the original balcony used for administrative office space, storage and rehearsal. The theatre boasts a dramatic plaster proscenium arch; a stage of 40'x 20' x 26' dimensions, to which a thrust is of...ten added for additional space; and a functioning hemp fly system.
Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Scott Levy, from 2005 to 2011, the company toured productions across Maine, created the Northern Writes New Play Festival, and restored the Opera House’s façade. Upon Levy’s departure, the Board instituted a dual leadership structure, and hired a managing director (subsequently titled “executive director”) and Bari Newport as artistic director.
During her nine-year tenure, Newport spearheaded artistic, facility, audience and financial growth. The company added performances and special productions that helped drive annual attendance to 40,000; annual revenue increased to $1.8 million; and its signature Dramatic Academy grew to include robust educational programming for all ages year-round. Between 2015 and 2017, the company increased its assets with the purchases of a scene and costume shop facility and a house for visiting artists; and investments in a new HVAC system, LED theatrical lighting, and seating at the Opera House.
In early 2020, an endowment fund seeded in 2012 achieved full funding with a $1 million donation, further strengthening the long-term future of the company.
In March 2020, the Opera House closed its doors to ensure the safety of staff, artists and audience members; and the company set to work producing a fully digital season for 2020-2021. “Digitus Theatrum” featured unique collaborations with diverse artists in Maine and beyond.
In 2021, Newport left the company and Production Manager Tricia A. Hobbs was hired as acting artistic director to work in partnership with Executive Director Jen Shepard. Penobscot Theatre Company employs 20 people year-round and in a typical season hires 100+ professional artists from the Bangor region and beyond. The company is in the final stage of transitioning onto a Small Professional Theatre contract with Actors' Equity Association.
Penobscot Theatre Company is now celebrating its 48th season. More information can be found at https://www.penobscottheatre.org.