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It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes effort to bring quality entertainment to Columbus. Working at CAPA is a great opportunity to go beyond the stage and learn about the arts from the inside out.

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Artistic Director - CATCO

OPPORTUNITY

CATCO, Columbus, Ohio’s leading professional theatre company, is seeking its next artistic director, a driven and ambitious leader to set the vision for an exciting new future. Steven C. Anderson, CATCO’s current Producing Director, has announced that he will step down from his role at the end of the 2019-2020 season. At that point, CATCO will move to a co-leadership model of artistic and executive leadership; the search for an Executive Director is underway and is anticipated to be completed soon.

The next artistic director will guide CATCO into the next phase of the company’s rich artistic life in partnership with CATCO’s new Executive Director. A commitment to excellence, a spirit of joy and discovery, and a deep love of and knowledge of contemporary theatre will guide the new Artistic Director in clarifying the voice, brand, and style of CATCO’s season of plays for adult and young audiences. The new artistic director will concentrate efforts on CATCO’s mainstage season of plays and musicals for adult audiences while embracing and supporting a successful program of performances and educational opportunities for young people. That intersection of live theatre production and education has been an important definition of the CATCO experience, and the next Artistic Director will be expected to explore ways that enhance the intersection of production and education. This is an organization with established resources, offering an opportunity to set a new path intended to capture the attention and enthusiastic support of a broader base of patrons.

BACKGROUND

Since CATCO was founded in 1985, it has evolved into a theatre with a dual focus of presenting contemporary theatre for adult audiences as well as youth theatre productions and instruction. CATCO’s over 250 productions include world premieres, contemporary comedies and dramas, musicals, and international productions.

Geoffrey Nelson was CATCO’s founding Artistic Director and served in that role for two and a half decades. In its early years, CATCO established a producing home in a leased warehouse space in Columbus’ Short North District. After producing four shows in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts’ Studio One theatre in the 1996-97 Season, CATCO moved its mainstage season for adults to the Center in 1997, becoming its resident company. That timing also coincided with Steven C. Anderson, current Producing Director, taking on his first guest directing assignment for the company with a production of Terrence McNally’s LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!

CATCO originated as a theatre focused on presenting plays for adult audiences with a limited commitment to education. In the summer of 2009, CATCO and Phoenix Theatre for Children – where Steven C. Anderson was the Founding Artistic Director – began discussions around joining the two companies, and in July 2010, the organizations merged, with Anderson serving as Producing Director of the new entity. With the goal of providing theatrical activity, on and off the stage, for all ages from pre-school to senior citizens, Steven brought his desire to use theatre as a means to have positive community impact into his leadership philosophy. Shortly after the merger, the company branded its adult audience season as CATCO and the productions and classes for youth as CATCO is Kids. CATCO is Kids activities operate out of the Columbus Performing Arts Center (CPAC), a city-owned building that CATCO manages.

While it had a longstanding commitment to paying actors in its productions, CATCO established a relationship with Actors Equity Association in 1995 which it maintains through an SPT 3+ agreement for its mainstage performances. CATCO primarily operates its young audience season in the manner of a community theatre, offering performance opportunities to Columbus youth with the addition of paid non-Equity talent in some productions.

CATCO benefits from a longstanding shared services agreement with the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA). This relationship accounts for CATCO staff being responsible for artistic, production, community outreach and education initiatives, while CAPA staff provide administrative services, finance, marketing, ticketing, development, and human resources under an annual service agreement paid by CATCO. CATCO and CAPA are both individual not-for-profit organizations maintaining separate and distinct visions and missions with their own boards and governing principles. More about CATCO can be found at https://www.catco.org/.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

The next Artistic Director will join an organization with a strong foundation and credibility based on its hard-earned work in the Columbus community. Among the opportunities are:

  • Aligning and strengthening its main stage adult programming;
  • Building on the leadership position that CATCO currently holds within Columbus and Central Ohio;
  • Exploring the possibilities of collaborations and producing partnerships with other arts organizations locally and nationally; and
  • Diversifying its audiences while bringing long-time dedicated patrons into all future programmatic activities.

Along with these opportunities, there are notable challenges that the next AD must embrace:

  • Finding the right balance of adult and TYA programming (size and number of productions) vis-à-vis resources;
  • Developing new and expanded earned revenue streams;
  • Determining the right venues to enhance the audience experience; and
  • Remaining resonant in an increasingly competitive arts landscape.

POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Artistic Director and Executive Director will be expected to form a co-equal working relationship, in which both report to the Board through its President. It is anticipated that the Executive Director will be in place in advance of the Artistic Director and will be involved in the final steps of this search.

PROGRAMMATIC LEADERSHIP

  • To be the company’s artistic guide in choosing plays and other programs it will present; to choose creative teams for the productions; and to assure high standards of excellence;
  • To take an active role as a director of plays within the CATCO season and to oversee productions where outside directors are brought in to work for the company;
  • To guide all educational and youth programming efforts through effective support and oversight;
  • To establish and maintain strong relationships with in the American regional theater;
  • To make choices in content and performance that attract an audience that looks like the increasingly diverse population of the region in which CATCO operates;
  • To consider all ways that will energize even larger audiences to take part in the many aspects of the theater’s work; and
  • To be a leader in ensuring that Columbus’ impact as a highly creative community is strong by offering attractive and challenging opportunities for actors, directors, designers, and production personnel locally and regionally.

ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP

  • To be a deeply committed organizational leader of the artistic and administrative staff, managing the positions that report to the AD and setting a culture of respect and collaboration;
  • To be a leader and resource to the Board of Trustees, assuring that these volunteers have the information and motivation to function effectively as trustees;
  • To embody CATCO’s mission and values, and to inspire others to do the same, enhancing CATCO’s position in the region;
  • To help develop a vision for the theater that recognizes the importance of its mission, and excites the artists, Board, and staff of CATCO;
  • To create with the Executive Director the most efficient and effective way for CATCO to establish programmatic licensing and contracts for produced and/or presented work;
  • To develop artistic budgets in conjunction with the Executive Director, assuring that artistic ambition aligns with available resources;
  • To serve as a primary public face and spokesperson of the institution, including participating in a broad array of fundraising efforts, especially the cultivation of major donors; and
  • To help develop the resources to energize even larger audiences.

QUALIFICATIONS

While no one person will likely meet all these qualifications, the Search Committee will assess the degree to which each individual comes close to their expectations by evaluating the following factors:

Professional Experience

  • Demonstrated capacity to articulate a strong aesthetic and overall vision that inspires others.
  • A known breadth of interests and experience to explore a full range of theater, and especially in the world of exciting contemporary theater.
  • A proven leader who demonstrates a grasp of how artistic choice and the operational, financial, and producing elements of the theater must work together.
  • Artistic achievement as a stage director.
  • Prior experience in an institutional leadership role or at least oversight of important projects, will be strongly preferred (but not absolutely required).
  • A clear commitment to and appreciation of using theater to engage young people through training and performance.

Personal Qualities and Values

  • Delight at the prospect of fulfilling CATCO’s mission and values; this includes a demonstrable belief in theater and its impact on people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • A proven commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion that will be even more compelling if the candidate has had the opportunity to demonstrate this within organizational life.
  • A desire to engage with the breadth of Columbus and its communities.
  • The interest and the capability to build relationships with major donors and community leaders.

COMPENSATION AND START DATE

Salary and benefits will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size. CATCO hopes to make its decision by late spring of 2020 with the chosen candidate taking on the position as negotiated.

HOW TO APPLY

David Mallette and Jonathan West of Management Consultants for the Arts are leading this search. To be considered for this position, you must submit pertinent information including name, contact information, and salary requirement and attach a current résumé, a cover letter (no more than 1 ½ pages), and at least three professional references (name, work relationship, email, phone) using the online application system. Once all materials have been submitted online, the applicant will receive a confirmation of their submission via the email address provided in the application. For clarification on any of this information, please contact Christy Wall at [email protected]

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