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16 May 2019

Full-Time Executive Artistic Director

Playwrights Foundation  San Francisco, California, United States

Playwrights Foundation - jobs

Job Description

Playwrights Foundation is conducting a national search for a talented and strategic individual who can lead all facets of the artistic direction, administration and management of an acclaimed nonprofit arts organization. With a 42-year legacy of innovation and service, Playwrights Foundation is a small-but-impactful organization dedicated to discovering and supporting diverse playwrights in the creation of new works for the American Theater. It is recognized for developing new plays by Sam Shepard, Anna Deveare Smith, Nilo Cruz, Paula Vogel, and David Henry Hwang, among many others.

The opportunity:
Playwrights Foundation is looking for our next executive and artistic leader to inspire the organization and lead it into the future. The Executive Artistic Director will work with and report to an engaged Board of Directors to clarify Playwright Foundation’s strategic plan and enter a new chapter of growing impacts, building on an acclaimed 42-year legacy.

The Executive Artistic Director will lead all organizational activities as Playwrights Foundation’s chief executive, setting and fulfilling the artistic and operational vision, serving as its primary fundraiser, and representing and promoting it to external stakeholders at all levels.

The position is suited for an entrepreneurial arts leader with excellent interpersonal skills, intimate knowledge of the new play field, and proven management and fundraising experience. We’re looking for an energetic individual with a passion for writers and the performing arts who has successfully managed staff and budgets. Playwrights Foundation is small – the annual budget is $350K – but has a large impact and engages with many, varied stakeholders in the Bay Area and around the country.

The Executive Artistic Director will manage a part-time staff, which includes a Literary Manager, Operations Manager, Marketing Manager, Bookkeeper and Development Consultants, as well as seasonal production contractors. They will be responsible for artistic leadership of Playwrights Foundation’s three program pillars, which include the annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival (in its 42nd season), the Resident Playwrights Initiative (with two four-year cohorts of Bay Area playwrights), and Producing Partnerships (with local and national theatres).


• Curate, manage, and execute the vision and mission of Playwrights Foundation.
• Manage and develop the organization’s resources in an effective, financially prudent manner.
• Work with Board to develop and implement strategic and tactical plans, activities and benchmarks to achieve organizational goals.
• Serve as the ambassador of Playwrights Foundation to the community and the field, and actively participate in community, donor, and audience engagement.
• Cultivate relationships with organizations and artists and seek innovative opportunities.

• Initiate, develop, plan and produce each season of play development, producing partnerships, and programs; serve as mentor and advocate for Resident Playwrights.
• Engage culturally diverse and gender representative artistic and production teams.
• Lead and inspire artistic and production teams to high artistic standards in a professional, nurturing, and respectful manner.
• Develop extensive local and national relationships with existing and emerging theater artists and playwrights and strategic partnerships with ally organizations.

• Cultivate a working environment that promotes the development and retention of the highest quality Board, staff and artistic talent.
• Supervise and manage staff, contractors, consultants, interns and volunteers.
• Oversee and manage business operations, including finances, human resources, IT, and vendor relationships, abiding by current laws and guidelines.
• Oversee and manage marketing and public relations.
• Develop and monitor annual operating budgets.
• Negotiate and execute contracts and agreements.

Development and Board
• Serve as PF’s primary fundraiser by cultivating individual, government, foundation and corporate philanthropy; maintain strong relationships with funders.
• Ensure successful fundraising through timely proposal and report submissions, annual appeals, marketing and collateral pieces.
• Lead Playwrights Foundation fundraising events, working with staff and Board.
• Provide support to the Board, participate in governance meetings, keep policies and procedures up to date, report on artistic programs and help recruit new members.
• Coordinate and participate in strategic planning.


Playwrights Foundation plays a significant role in the national new play ecosystem, identifies and helps launch the careers of talented and diverse playwrights, and enhances a thriving Bay Area cultural community. As our new Executive Artistic Director and organizational leader, you will bring demonstrable skills, vision and relationships to the position.

• You will have a minimum of three years of experience leading an organization or significant program, delivering outcomes within budget.

• You will have knowledge of and passion for the arts and experience identifying and developing new talent and new works.

• You will have a successful record of building and sustaining strong relationships with a range of stakeholders, including artists, staff and professionals, community-members, and organizational leaders.

• You will have demonstrable success engaging in fundraising and/or business development activities.

• You will have a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and to nurturing community and collaboration.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
• Able to thrive in a fast-paced environment where multi-tasking and confidentiality are key.
• Excellent communication skills; the ability to speak and write persuasively; mature and diplomatic interpersonal skills.
• Able and committed to development activities as an eloquent advocate for the organization.
• Strong strategic and analytical skills.
• Excellent time management and executive functions.
• Financial and budgeting skills.
• Demonstrated ability to create effective teams and to act as a member of a team.
• A commitment to honesty, transparency, and personal accountability.
• Open, collaborative, flexible and respectful leadership style.
• Knowledge of the regional and national theater community and unions is a strong plus.
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office software and QuickBooks is a plus.

This is a full-time, exempt role with flexible daytime hours and night and weekend hours during the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and other initiatives as required. Salary will be competitive with organizations of comparable size. The search committee expects to name a final candidate by the end of August 2019 and ideally that person will begin by October 1, 2019. The current and long-term Artistic  Director will be stepping down at the end of August 2019.


Please submit your resume and a cover letter telling us why this position and organization are of interest to you to by June 14, 2019.

Please do not call. We will carefully review all applications and contact those candidates we wish to interview. We deeply appreciate your application. All applications will remain in confidence. The search will remain open until a sufficiently diverse and qualified group of candidates is found.

Playwrights Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to the diversity of its staff and strongly encourages all qualified candidates to apply.


Playwrights Foundation supports and champions diverse contemporary playwrights in the creation of new works to sustain theater as a vital, dynamic art form.

Founded in 1976 by visionary director Robert Woodruff, Playwrights Foundation is widely recognized as one of the top organizations in the nation dedicated to the creative development and career acceleration of contemporary playwrights. As the only non-producing playwright service organization on the West Coast, Playwrights Foundation serves emerging and mid-career writers from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

Programs include the acclaimed Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Resident Playwrights Initiative, and producing partnerships and commissions. Distinguished alumni include Sam Shepard, David Henry Hwang, Paula Vogel, Anna Deavere Smith, Philip Kan Gotanda, Rajiv Joseph, Marcus Gardley, Katori Hall, and Peter Nachtrieb – to name just a few.

For more information about the organization, please visit

Job Categories: Arts and Culture. Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: director, executive director, fund-raising, and management. States: California.

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