The Ensemble Theatre (The Ensemble) was founded in 1976 with a mission, “to preserve African American artistic expression and enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community”. Founded by George Hawkins, The Ensemble was originally a touring company, and is now one of Houston’s most renowned cultural institutions. Reaching a multi-cultural audience with a season of six contemporary and classical works each year, by both local and national playwrights, The Ensemble is one of the only professional theaters in the region dedicated to producing works portraying the African American experience. It is also the oldest and largest African American professional theater company that owns its facility which includes a mainstage auditorium that seats 200, an arena stage that seats 80, and a grand performance hall that seats 400. The Ensemble is located in the heart of Houston and is served by a MetroRail station that bears its name (Ensemble/HCC station); an honor shared by the nearby Houston Community College.
In addition to its productions, The Ensemble Theatre has two major educational programs: the Performing Arts Education Program and the Young Performers Program. The Performing Arts Education Program provides workshops, artists-in-residence, and performances for young audiences, both at the theater and for touring. Touring productions for young people include: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; P.Nokio: A Hip Hop Musical; I, Barbara Jordan; Uncle Remus’ Br’er Rabbit; and Rhythm & Wreaths: A Holiday Extravaganza. The Young Performers Program offers local youths ages 6 to 17 instruction in all disciplines of the theater arts during the spring and summer. Since its inception in 1985, it has served over 4,000 young people. Through all its programs, The Ensemble Theatre had served over 65,000 people annually pre-COVID-19. The 2022-2023 mainstage season includes Love & Southern Discomfort; A Motown Christmas; Paradise Blue; Clyde’s; Brother Toad; and Phenomenal Woman.
The Ensemble Theatre has a 34-member board of directors led by President Jesse Tyson, and Eileen J. Morris serves as Artistic Director. For the fiscal year ending August 31, 2022, The Ensemble Theatre reported a total revenue of $4.5 million, with $3.8 million in contributions and grants and $710,692 from program services. Total expenses were $2.3 million.
The fourth largest city in the United States, with a population estimated at 2.3 million, Houston, Texas is known as a cosmopolitan destination featuring not only fine dining, world-class arts organizations, shopping, and nightlife, but also the Space Center Houston, the coastal visitor center at NASA’s astronaut training and flight control complex. Houston is known for its vibrant arts scene and its wide range of cultural organizations and venues. The Menil Collection houses one of the most significant private collections of the 20th century, with exhibits ranging from the Paleolithic Era to the modern day. Houston’s museums also include the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, which houses more than 70,000 exhibits; the Children’s Museum of Houston; and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, home to the Foucault Pendulum among other permanent exhibits. The thriving, 17-block Theater District includes the Houston Symphony, the Houston Ballet, and many other resident performance companies including The Ensemble.
Opportunities for outdoor activities include the 132-acre Houston Botanic Garden, a few miles from downtown. The nearby Anahauc National Wildlife Refuge includes over 34,000 acres with outdoor educational programming for children, birding, canoeing, and ample opportunities to observe and photograph local wildlife.
Houston is home to seven professional sports teams, including football, baseball, soccer, basketball, softball, and rugby. Both their baseball and basketball teams play in stadiums located downtown, contributing to the city as a day-and-night destination. They have won championships in baseball, soccer, basketball, and softball. A wide variety of minor league and club sports are also played locally, ranging from the traditional sports to dodgeball, roller derby, and women’s football, among others.
The median annual household income in Houston is approximately $70,000, and almost 43% of the city’s population own their homes. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States; its residents are 41.8% white, 35.1% Hispanic/Latino, 17.7% African American, and 5% Asian American Pacific Islander.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Managing Director will be responsible for the operations and will implement a vision that will move The Ensemble Theatre into its next chapter of growth. The Ensemble Theatre is seeking an experienced, self-driven person to lead the organization towards favorable growth and sustainability, and to develop and direct strategies that support and enhance the institution. The ideal candidate must possess a strong entrepreneurial drive, outstanding communication skills and strong leadership qualities to develop and manage the budget of the organization. The candidate must also demonstrate a personal commitment to a collaborative work environment and form effective partnerships with The Ensemble Theatre’s Board of Directors, Artistic Director, staff, and other stakeholders.
Role and Responsibilities
Strategic Leadership and Board Governance
Share The Ensemble’s vision by developing relationships and engaging with a wide variety of constituents, including business owners, schools, colleges, elected city officials, and the media, while enhancing the organization’s brand and reputation.
Serve as a change agent and committed visionary leader, guiding The Ensemble into the future and clarifying strategic needs that support future expansion, program development partnerships, and revenue opportunities.
Partner with the board and Artistic Director to implement the organization’s strategic vision, collaborating effectively to ensure that all operational, artistic, and financial decisions are mission-aligned to advance short- and long-range institutional goals.
Maintain transparent and frequent communication with the Board of Directors, the Artistic Director, the staff, organizational partners, and artists, establishing a clear delineation between board and staff responsibilities focused on the growth and survival of the theatre.
Manage board relations through regular and effective communication to ensure that board members are engaged according to their skills and interests.
Operational Management and Staff Development, Leadership, and Supervision
Plan and develop the business functions, policies, and organizational infrastructure of the company to ensure that earned revenue, fundraising, human resources, finance, marketing, and overall operations are guided by best practices and adhere to board guidelines and procedures.
Oversee the hiring, supervision, and mentoring of key staff positions and fellows, providing professional development and growth that attracts, retains, and empowers engaged and highly qualified staff members and volunteers.
Lead conversations and encourage open and consistent communication by defining clear lines of responsibilities between the staff and board and empowering those at all levels of the organization.
Foster a positive company culture by providing leadership to, and managing efforts of, the staff, establishing accountability measures of success while ensuring an environment where all staff, fellows, and artists feel safe, supported, valued, and respected.
Supervise the development of operations-based financial modeling, using effective communication strategies for the marketing and development management teams to expand and diversify audiences, subscribers, and donors.
Determine recommendations for maintenance needs of an aging facility and upgrades to equipment to the board, implementing and integrating new technology that will sustain The Ensemble effectively and efficiently.
Financial Stewardship and Earned Revenue Enhancement
Oversee the budget, control expenditures, create forecasting models, and develop timely financial analysis with the Finance Committee to support recommendations on general operations and the real estate portfolio.
Develop and implement consistent controls and accounting policies, procedures, and periodic monthly operational reporting/metrics to ensure the highest levels of financial accountability and compliance with federal, state, and local regulations with the Finance Committee.
Develop reports, in collaboration with the Artistic Director to the Board of Directors, of the organization’s budget and results, preparing and scheduling monthly reports and interim updates to the Board in a timely
Collaborate with various committees on banking, payroll administration and grants, coordinating annual budget reviews, monthly and quarterly financial reviews, and forecasting based on sound financial guidelines and fiscal integrity with the operational staff.
Re-envision new and innovative approaches to earned revenue models, ensuring that patron services and funding relationships meet or exceed strategic financial goals and objectives while maintaining the quality, mission, and reputation of The Ensemble.
Fundraising and Community Engagement
In conjunction with Fund Development Committee, develop an overall fundraising and/or fund development plan and calendar while also preparing accurate and timely analyses that capture and communicate fundraising results, variances, as well as performance trends.
Seek out new and renewed sources of contributed income, particularly focused on the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of individual donors, corporations, and foundations while also motivating board members to leverage their skills and networks.
Sustain and grow partnerships and alliances with mission-compatible arts and cultural organizations locally, regionally, and nationally, to expand programs and access, retain relevance, and build community to draw people back to the theater.
Maintain a consistent presence as a highly engaged member of the Houston community focused on increasing the visibility and reputation of The Ensemble in the arts, culture, public, corporate, government, and philanthropic communities.
Expand The Ensemble’s presence in the broader theater field, interfacing with the community by representing the organization at national convenings, participating in collective lobbying efforts, and fostering relationships with local or national peer organizations.
Traits and Characteristics
The Managing Director will be a decisive, dynamic, and inspirational leader who communicates effectively with all stakeholders and solves problems with a calm and innovative approach. The candidate must have the ability to hit the ground running, have strong interpersonal skills, be self-aware, be goal oriented, honest, accountable, and direct. The Managing Director will be a strategic visionary who is resourceful and can resolve conflict, handle difficult situations, and make tough decisions with compassion and grace. With a transparent, and collaborative approach, the Managing Director will be a thoughtful, patient individual and a hands-on team-builder capable of uniting collective energy and resources to build upon the Ensemble’s legacy and secure a path toward its future.
Key competencies include:
Energizing the Organization: The facility to inspire key stakeholders by communicating a compelling view of the organization's purpose and future direction.
Customer Focus and Diplomacy: The dexterity to anticipate, meet and/or exceed customer needs, wants, and expectations and effectively and tactfully handle difficult or sensitive issues.
Time and Priority Management: The capacity to prioritize and complete tasks in order to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
Leadership and Personal Accountability: The ability to organize and influence people to believe in a vision create a sense of purpose and direction while also being answerable for personal actions.
Teamwork and Project Management: Thecapability to cooperate with others to meet objectives by identifying and overseeing all resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results.
The Ensemble Theatre requires a degree in business, human resources, finance, fine arts management or relevant field (MBA preferable) with 5 or more years of management experience with budgets/operations, preferably with an arts nonprofit organization. Qualified candidates will have proven success working with a Board of Directors and demonstrate a successful track record of leadership and managerial experience within complex and dynamic organizations, as well as skills in financial management, fundraising, and relationship building. The Managing Director will have experience in developing and executing strong public relations in addition to audience development and marketing. Candidates need not come from within the performing arts sector, although a passion for theater and knowledge of the field are expected. Proficiency in MS Office (Excel, Word, Outlook, etc.) and exceptional communication skills are required.
Don’t check off every box in the requirements listed above? Please apply anyway! 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 Ensemble Theater is an Equal Opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce.
Compensation and Benefits
The Ensemble Theatre offers medical, dental and vision insurance, a 401K savings plan with employer match up to 3% after 90 days of employment, paid time off and 10 paid holidays. The anticipated salary range for this position is $100,000 to $115,000.
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:
Delilah Norris, Vice President
Ernest A. Figueroa, Associate Vice President
8581 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 406
Los Angeles, CA, 90069-4120
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 230 (Ms. Norris) or Ext. 226 (Mr. Figueroa)
ACG is the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement, strategic planning & community engagement, and facilities & program planning services for the arts and culture industry. ACG consultants are located in communities throughout North America to best serve the needs of our clients. ACG team members have decades of combined senior leadership experience in every artistic and cultural discipline and area of functional management expertise.
As specialists in the management of arts and cultural institutions who are personally and passionately committed to the creative industries, we are recognized internationally for our expertise, personalized approach, and extraordinary results.