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Executive Brief
Managing Director
Great Canadian Theatre Company
March 2014
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 2
Table of Contents
Organization Profile
Essence of the Opportunity
About the Great Canadian Theatre Company
Governance & Leadership
Strategic Priorities
Position Description
Candidate Profile
Overview of Search
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 3
Organization Profile
1.0 Essence of the Opportunity
The Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) has successfully produced professional
contemporary English-language theatre in Ottawa since 1975. It has been a leader in
innovative, professional theatre in the nation's capital and is a well-respected company with
a solid reputation with donors, government funders, subscribers and artists. Our mandate, to
produce theatre that examines “Canadian life and our place in the world,” provides a
different perspective and makes us unique in our city. With over 85 world premieres, GCTC
has made a strong commitment to advancing Canadian theatre and the creation of Canadian
plays. GCTC is one of the key theatre companies in Canada, presenting new and established
work to over 25,000 theatre patrons annually.
The current General Manager, working in partnership with the Artistic Director, has managed
this organization since 2005, and with her planned departure, an opportunity exists to take
GCTC to the next phase of its evolution. Our new Managing Director will bring a consistent
and clear track record of progressive and visionary leadership, and will have demonstrated
their ability to monitor trends, implement change and stay abreast of what is happening in
the cultural and philanthropic landscape. They will manage staff in a collaborative fashion to
meet objectives and produce results. They will strengthen the organization in terms of its
finances, sustainability, community impact, and artistic reputation, so it can continue to
produce professional Canadian theatre for the future. Continuing to nurture and build what
is a very solid reputation, while enhancing public awareness of the organization and the
brand, will be critical. Adept at employee, donor, board and community engagement, this
individual inspires others to action through their passion and commitment to making the arts
Competitive Entertainment Market:
The charitable sector in general and the arts sector in particular have been facing increasing
pressure to do more with less. Constantly changing technology, a more fragmented
entertainment market, new tax laws and regulations, a competitive fundraising climate, and
shifting demographics, all have added to the burden that organizations face to fulfill their
mission. While the Ottawa theatre scene is a vibrant one with dozens of small companies,
GCTC is the city's only English professional theatre with its own season and building, except
for the National Arts Centre, which has a national mandate rather than a regional or local
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 4
This brings both competitive advantages and added burdens. It means we are free to
program what our audience wants, and mount it on our own stage. It also means we have a
higher cost structure than smaller companies, so sometimes it can be difficult to compete.
Being in the nation's capital we are also sometimes in the shadow of major national cultural
institutions that attract significant federal funding and national corporate sponsors who then
overlook a strong local player like GCTC.
Building on 40 Years:
Despite these competitive challenges, GCTC has managed to be extremely successful for 40
years, providing audiences with compelling Canadian theatre, and offering professional
stages and unparalleled mentoring for the local theatre community. One of our donors calls
us the Mothership of Ottawa theatre. The new Managing Director has an opportunity to
build on that reputation and history, to take GCTC to the next level, to a strong and
financially stable future with theatrical excellence at centre stage.
2.0 Organization Overview
GCTC’s legal name is Great Canadian Theatre Corporation and it is a federally incorporated
not-for-profit corporation set up to deliver programs for the benefit of the public good. Its
members are the theatre’s subscribers. It is also a registered charity which allows the
company to issue tax receipts for donations.
GCTC’s business operating model requires that it achieve its revenue from three streams:
earned (ticket sales, rentals, café, services such as coat check), private (individual and
corporate donations, sponsorship and special events) and public (operating and project
grants from three levels of government and foundations). For GCTC, like most non-profit
professional theatres of its size, approximately 40% of its total income is achieved from
earned revenues, about 40% from public funding, and 20% from donations and sponsorships.
Its annual budget is $2 million and the fiscal year end is June 30.
The staffing model is quite lean with two senior managers, Managing Director and Artistic
Director, who report directly to the Board and manage a group of 18 full- and part-time
employees in departments such as marketing, development, production, box office, and arts
education. GCTC also manages a volunteer core of 150 Ottawa residents assisting the box
office on show nights.
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 5
Mandate, Values and Artistic Statement
To foster, produce and promote excellent theatre that provokes examination of Canadian life
and our place in the world.
We commit to:
 Strive towards honest and excellent art in an environment where the contributions
of all participants are recognized.
 Transparency, accountability, fairness and integrity in everything we do.
 Consideration and understanding in our treatment of fellow employees, audience
members, and all other persons with whom we interact.
 Show leadership and encouragement in all our dealings with the artistic community
at large.
 A high level of professionalism in all our tasks.
 GCTC promotes greater knowledge, understanding, acceptance and celebration of
our diversity.
Artistic Statement
GCTC’s artistic practice is driven by its mandate to develop and produce theatre that
“provokes examination of Canadian life and our place in the world.” We produce theatre
that offers a Canadian perspective on the world; and we also produce theatre from other
parts of the world that has relevance for Canadians. GCTC has a long history of creating
theatre that is compassionate, thought provoking and immediately relevant. Our highly
educated audience craves theatre that is emotionally charged, intellectually engaging and
theatrically exciting. Our setting in the nation’s capital lends our work a socio-political
urgency, and we see theatre as a means of civic engagement. We produce theatre that does
not prescribe a point of view, but rather encourages audience members to engage in debate
and discussion.
Our most effective contribution to the development of new Canadian plays is to focus on the
development of new work by writers/creators originally from or based in Ottawa. Our
location in a capital city that sits on the edge of two linguistic communities and is our
nation’s portal to the world is ideal for creative development of new work.
The Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre is a hub for Ottawa’s theatre community. Community
has always been central to GCTC. We are committed to hiring local artists, providing
professional development opportunities to artists in this region, and supporting and
collaborating with local independent theatre companies.
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 6
GCTC History
The Great Canadian Theatre Company was founded in 1975 by a group of professors and
graduate students at Carleton University. Riding a wave of cultural nationalism, founders
Robin Matthews, Larry McDonald, Bill Law, Greg Reid and Lois Shannon envisioned a theatre
company that would produce only Canadian plays, especially those with social and political
For several years, GCTC was entirely volunteer-run, performing first at the University, and
then in the Old Firehall that is now the Ottawa South Community Centre. Even as a young
company, the GCTC founders knew that there was an audience that craved Canadian theatre
that is emotionally charged, intellectually engaging and socially and politically relevant.
In 1982, with a huge outpouring of support from the City of Ottawa, then-Mayor Marion
Dewar, Councillor Toddy Kehoe, the financial backing of 700 people and the technical
assistance of Phil Sharp of the School of Architecture at Carleton University, GCTC claimed its
own permanent home at 910 Gladstone Avenue by transforming a truck repair garage into a
230-seat theatre.
The new theatre opened with the collectively authored Sandinista! a large-scale production
about Nicaragua that went on to tour nationally to critical acclaim.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the company expanded both its staff and audience. It gained
national recognition for producing the work of notable Canadian playwrights, as well as
Ottawa-based writers. The company began to commission and premiere new plays, and also
added the production of contemporary international work to its mandate. GCTC has 85
world premieres to its credit.
By the dawn of the 21st century, GCTC had outgrown its facility at 910 Gladstone and in 2002
the board and staff of GCTC began planning for a capital project. In 2004, GCTC announced
that the family of the late Irving Greenberg would be donating $2.5 million dollars towards
the construction of a new home for GCTC at the corner of Holland and Wellington.
Construction of the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre was completed in the summer of 2007,
launching a new era in the company’s history.
Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre
GCTC is enjoying its “new” home in Wellington West, but our move here has created
financial pressures that have greatly affected our work.
GCTC’s home is the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, located in the heart of a trendy,
vibrant, creative neighbourhood near downtown Ottawa. Our move here in 2007 launched a
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 7
new era in our company’s history. We now perform in a state-of-the-art, 260-seat Mainstage
theatre; we enjoy our flexible Studio space, the Fritzi Gallery, the Domicile Hall, the
Westeinde Family Boardroom and offices. We’re proud of the way we “survived” such a
major move and dealt with myriad challenges adapting to our new environment. We have
been actively inviting the community into our building and establishing ourselves as a
positive presence in the neighbourhood.
But the move also resulted in heavy financial pressures. The Company successfully raised $10
million to build the new theatre, but by the time we moved in, the final cost was $11.6
million. Raising that last $1.6 million, stalled with the financial crisis in 2008/09, was a
Herculean task, but we expect to cover the remaining $160,000 in 2014. We expect it will be
all done in 2014. In the meantime, we have done a good job of controlling costs on all fronts
but we need to strengthen our revenue-building capacity to alleviate the ongoing financial
challenges that influence so greatly what we can do and how we can do it. While we know
we are a positive influence in our community, we also know we have work to do to build our
brand and to reach deeper into our community for connections, partners, and audiences. We
are eager to be indelibly identified as THE artistic hub in Ottawa.
We are excited to have a new Artistic Director, Eric Coates, who took the helm in 2012. He
was Artistic Director of the Blyth Festival for more than 10 years, and is an accomplished
director, actor and dramaturge, well known across the country, also having spent four years
on the stages at Stratford. His skill, passion, energy and enthusiasm ensure our artistic
integrity is at the heart of all we do, and he is positioning GCTC as a theatre where it is not
just audiences but also artists who are excited by our company’s work. His vision will provide
the artistic roadmap that guides us on the next phase of GCTC’s evolving journey.
Quick Facts
GCTC Track Record and Accomplishments
The Ottawa region is rich in arts organizations, yet none is quite like the Great Canadian
Theatre Company. With its focus on producing thought-provoking Canadian plays, GCTC is
unique. GCTC also plays a vital role as a catalyst promoting theatre and cultural activities in
Ottawa’s oldest English professional independent theatre company.
Produces an annual six play subscription season.
Produced 85 world premieres making a significant contribution to the development
of new Canadian plays and playwrights in Canada.
Translates French plays for first time production in English speaking Canada.
Supports a student matinee program that goes beyond entertainment with artist
talkbacks and teaching guides to support each play. We are incubating creative
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 8
talent in our youth, particularly disadvantaged youth, who would not otherwise be
able to see live theatre.
Provides mentorship, training and support to dozens of other emerging theatre
companies in Ottawa to help them grow theatrical talent and remain in Ottawa.
Over 25,000 annual audience members.
An additional, 5,000+ City of Ottawa and surrounding area residents attend our
Acoustic Waves concert series, take in the Lorraine Fritz Yale Art Gallery, rent the
facility for personal and professional functions, enjoy a coffee in the Café in the main
Awarded numerous Capital Critics and Rideau Awards for its productions.
Receives annual operating and project funding from Canada Council, Ontario Arts
Council and City of Ottawa and private sector, individual donor and foundation
Raised $10.3 million in the Making it Greater Capital Campaign, including the largest
private donation to an Ottawa arts organization from the Greenberg family of $2.5
Taking Care of Business campaign has reduced the $1.6 million debt from
construction of the new theatre to $160,000 with a solid plan to eliminate it
completely by the end of 2014.
4.0 Governance & Leadership
As a not-for-profit, GCTC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of 18
community leaders from Ottawa. The fundamental role of the board members is to ensure
the artistic excellence and economic viability of GCTC is protected and promoted.
2013 – 2014 Great Canadian Theatre Company Board of Directors
Nhanci Wright, Chair
Brian Toller, Vice Chair
Jennifer Ouimet, Treasurer
Samira Rose, Secretary
Lewis Auerbach
Karen Balcome
Laurie Champagne
Mitch Charness
Beverly Cogan-Gluzman
Honourable Sheila Copps
Zachary Counsil
Paul Gaffney
Stephanie Hébert
Jeanne Inch
Bernice Marien
Margaret Torrance
Rob Woyzbun
(one vacancy)
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 9
Organizational Structure
Board of
Box Office
Finance and
Marketing and
Head of
Head of
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
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5.0 Strategic Priorities 2013 to 2016
 To build a creative environment that sustains artistic excellence.
 To support GCTC’s success in the community through branding and marketing.
 To build GCTC audiences by deepening existing relationships and developing new
 To increase operating revenue by maximizing all revenue streams.
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
6.0 Financials
6.1 2013 Audited Financial Statements
Page 11
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
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Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
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Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
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Position Description
General Accountability
The Managing Director is accountable to the Board of Directors, acting as a body, for the
leadership, planning, staffing, financial and effective operation of the Great Canadian
Theatre Company (GCTC). The Managing Director works in close partnership with the Artistic
Director. The Board provides guidance to, and expects accountability and reporting from,
both the Managing Director and the Artistic Director but it is essentially a governance board
rather than an operating one, leaving the Managing Director to manage the company as
required and according to the strategic plan.
General Responsibilities
The Managing Director is accountable to achieve strategic and operational goals in the
following areas:
Strategic Planning
Revenue Generation
Financial Management
Operations Management
Human Resources
Strategic Planning
Lead the development of the multi-year strategic plan with Board and staff.
Ensure the approval of the strategic plan with the board of directors.
Ensure implementation of the multi-year strategic plan and operating plan including
the annual operating budget.
Ensure the artistic, fiscal and operational objectives within the company are
balanced in order to achieve the strategic goals.
Revenue Generation & Marketing
Lead the preparation of a multi-year/annual operating and project grants.
Participate in the preparation of foundation grants.
Oversee the development and implementation of department plans for
Development and Marketing, including fundraising.
Ensure contact with key prospective donors including corporations and public
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 15
Keep abreast of changing needs and emerging opportunities in the Ottawa
community and make recommendations on the ways GCTC can adapt and benefit
from them.
Develop and maintain effective contacts with other not-for-profit organizations and
identify joint funding/partnership opportunities.
Ensure the facility maximizes its revenue potential.
Financial Management
Lead the development and implementation and monitoring of the annual operating
Ensure the successful completion of the annual audit.
Ensure the operations of GCTC conform to CRA and other government regulations.
Provide quarterly reporting to Board of Directors.
Participate on Finance and Audit Board Committee.
Ensure the Finance and the Audit Manual is updated annually and accessible to key
staff members.
Lead negotiation and contracting of guest artists.
Lead negotiation of union and association agreements.
Operations Management
Oversee alignment of the company’s mandate, governing values, operations, artistic
vision, strategic goals, ethics, policies and professional standards.
Working in partnership with the Artistic Director, ensure that the internal operations
are in place to support the artistic vision.
Assume overall responsibility for GCTC operation in all its aspects, providing input
and guidance to senior staff on marketing and fundraising.
Be responsible for facilities management and relations with condo corporation that
owns the building.
Ensure a quality customer experience and positive position of GCTC in the
Human Resources
Ensure best practices in human resources.
Ensure that all employees have the equipment, information and training necessary
to do their jobs.
Ensure staff members understand best practices, are clear on the outcomes they
seek, understand the policies and procedures, share the strategic vision, and know
their accountabilities.
Ensure job descriptions are kept current and annual letters of employment are
Assign tasks, set expectations, and conduct annual performance evaluations.
Ensure the Employee Handbook is updated annually and accessible to all staff
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 16
Ensure all employee and contractors adhere to GCTC’s 10 guiding principles of
Ensure new staff members are effectively inducted and integrated into a
harmonious and effective team.
The Managing Director supports the Board Chair to ensure the Board operates
according to the best practices of governance, including:
o Regular examination of, and adjustments to, GCTC’s mandate and multi-year
strategic plan.
o Orientation of new Board members, ensuring they are well integrated into a
harmonious and effective team.
o Equipping the Board with the knowledge and tools to provide the leadership
needed to achieve the strategic goals.
o Providing the Board and its committees with reports and information necessary
to their areas of responsibility.
Communications & Community Outreach
Increase awareness of GCTC by maintaining effective relationships with local media
and effective external communications materials and mechanisms.
Oversee implementation of all the latest social media, including website, Twitter,
Facebook, and other platforms.
Develop and participate in public speaking opportunities.
Develop and maintain effective relations with other community organizations,
including other not-for-profit organizations.
Represent GCTC with other organizations, including other arts organizations
Support and maintain effective communications with the national network,
Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT).
Reporting Relationships
Reports to:
Board of Directors
Directly manages: Director of Development and Marketing
Finance and Office Manager
Media Relations Coordinator
Shared Management with Artistic Director: Production Manager
Key Relationships: All employees, Board of Directors, Community members and agencies,
Arts Community, Donors & Sponsors, Subscribers, Funders,
Corporate community, National and international partners.
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 17
Candidate Profile – Managing Director
Priority Criteria
The following criteria represent what we are looking for in an ideal candidate. We expect the
next Managing Director will have most of these attributes, if not all.
1) Leadership:
Experience: A track record of success in a senior executive role with an innovative,
results-oriented organization which could be in the private or public sector.
Experience managing a performing arts organization is an asset.
Dynamic & Passionate: A dynamic and passionate leader with the ability to develop
a shared vision among staff, Board Members and with external interest groups,
community groups and various levels of government. Inspires and empowers people
to look for opportunities to enhance the organization’s ability to deliver on its
mission. Will demonstrate a passionate and publicly engaged style that inspires
confidence with internal and external audiences.
Strategic & Visionary: A strategic thinker with the ability to conceptualize the nature
and long-term evolution of the Great Canadian Theatre Company and to devise a
vision and strategies that will ensure the Company can meet its mandate now and in
the future.
Team Leader: Has a demonstrated track record of successfully leading teams who
are focused on high degrees of success. Works collaboratively with all stakeholders,
values employee empowerment and engagement, and leads through the success of
their team.
Board of Directors: Has demonstrated an ability to work with a board of directors.
Able to be effective in supporting a board in fulfilling its governance responsibilities.
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 18
2) Creative Asset Builder:
Leverage Assets: Able to take all the assets of an organization and leverage them
into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. In GCTC's case, this would
include incubating a creative environment to sustain artistic excellence, building the
GCTC brand in the community, deepening existing audience relationships and
building new ones, and maximizing all revenue streams in the organization.
Technological Acumen: Demonstrated ability to manage the technological needs of
an organization of related size and complexity. Stays informed and comfortable with
new technologies, demonstrates a willingness to innovate.
Financial Expertise: Comfortable with business and financial language that arises in
an organization of this size. Able to allocate and manage resources effectively, pay
attention to detail, and identify and implement strategies to achieve operational
efficiencies and value for money.
Build Relationships: Be in regular contact with donors, funders, governments,
professional associations and other arts organizations in the city and nationally to
encourage collaboration, make deals and nurture partnerships to help GCTC build
audiences and fulfill its mission.
3) Passionate and Articulate Face of GCTC:
Community Reputation: Candidate should be well aware of GCTC's stellar
reputation in the community and be able to protect and build on it. Will behave and
manage with the highest calibre of values and ethics.
Presence & Confidence: Possesses the presence, confidence, maturity, political
savvy, diplomacy, and passion to generate respect and inspire confidence among
donors, the corporate community, governments, the Board, staff and other key
stakeholders. In tandem with the Artistic Centre, must be the face of GCTC in the city
or on the stage and give credibility to the organization when in the spotlight.
Communication Skills: An articulate communicator with highly effective listening
skills. Capable of delivering an appropriate message to any audience in any setting.
Combines excellent oral skills with equally strong written skills.
Passion for the Arts: Has a great passion for the arts, and understands the value the
arts contribute to our city and to our world.
Managing Director, Great Canadian Theatre Company
Executive Brief, March 2014
Page 19
Overview of Search
This search is being conducted by a specially created GCTC Search Committee of the Board of
Directors, including the following members:
Nhanci Wright (Chair)
Brian Toller (Vice Chair)
Jennifer Ouimet (Treasurer)
Jeanne Inch (Governance Committee)
Rob Woyzbun (Chair, Marketing Committee)
Eric Coates, (Artistic Director)
Mitch Charness (Chair, Lawyer Play)
The Committee will also receive advice from, and consult with, Nancy Oakley, General
Manager of GCTC, and other senior staff.
If you have any questions or need clarification, please contact GCTC Board Chair Nhanci
Wright at [email protected]
Estimated Search Timeline
While every search is dynamic and time frames are hard to predict, the following is an
overview of the expected timeline for this search:
Development of the candidate pool: March-April
Deadline for applications: April 30
Selection of candidates for Long List: May 12. These candidates will be asked to
complete a Self-Assessment form prior to being considered for interview.
Selection of Short List candidates: May 27
Interviews with Short List candidates: June 2-4
Second interviews with final candidates: June 10-11
Decision and Announcement: June 23
Expected start of position: Summer
Applications with detailed CV can be emailed in complete confidence to Nhanci Wright, Chair
of the GCTC Board of Directors, at [email protected]