People’s Light invites applications for a newly created position of Director of Community Programs to join our highly collaborative and continually evolving company.
The Director of Community Programs will report to Producing Artistic Director Zak Berkman, the chief executive of People’s Light, until September 2022. At that time, they will shift to report to our new Associate Artistic Director (to be hired).
This position will be a core member of the Artistic Staff, engaged in all aspects of our season planning process. Their primary (but not exclusive) charge is the advancement and oversight of programs and initiatives, on and off our 7-acre campus, that fulfill our commitment to be “A Cultural & Civic Center with Theatre at our Core.” As a result, this person is adept at working across departments and disciplines to foster opportunities where theatre is at the center of community connection and civic engagement. They will build upon existing programs as well as conceive and construct new efforts that more deeply tether our Theatre to the wide variety of youth and adult populations in our distinctive region. This work is done in concert with efforts led by our Director of Education & Civic Practice and Director of Hospitality & Access.
The Director of Community Programs will be a leader of two core community-centered programs: our New Play Frontiers Commission & Residency Program (NPF) and our longstanding Community Matters series where play readings serve as the centerpiece and catalyst of facilitated town hall type discussions between audience members and a panel of community stakeholders. In close collaboration with our Producing Artistic Director, the Director of Community Programs identifies and supports the needs of our NPF writers and community partners throughout the life cycle of a NPF project. The Director of Community Programs also spotlights the history and concerns of our NPF partners for our larger community, as well as conceives and implements initiatives that sustain reciprocal engagement between People’s Light and these partners beyond any single project or production.
The Director of Community Programs will also be the point person for “Surround Programming” for each of our productions. In collaboration with our Artistic Staff and guest dramaturgs, they will coordinate engagements that range from interactive lobby displays, and pre-show/post-show discussions to a multifaceted, multidisciplinary symposium of happenings that take place at People’s Light, in community partner locations, and in virtual spaces.
The daily work of this position will be in community: to listen, to surface areas of mutual interest, to identify and foster long-term collaborations that support and center works of theatre that engage and serve our constituents. Concurrently, this position must galvanize and organize colleagues around these shared pursuits. The process and culmination of this work may occur in theatre spaces, community spaces, education spaces, and spaces yet to possess an identity, all in ways that center art-making in the civic life of our neighbors. These may be stand-alone experiences or “Surround” events that directly relate to our season of productions. They may be associated with, and in support of, the creation of new plays and musicals, or independent from project development. In all cases, they build upon reciprocal relationships with a diversity of community partners, new and longstanding. In the process, these programs and initiatives will inform/shape what future seasons may look like at People’s Light, who they include and engage.
Strongest candidates will embrace the uniqueness of our location and resources and also have the vision to imagine how the stories and discoveries made in Malvern may impact far beyond our campus. We will prioritize individuals with life experiences and perspectives that are different from those already within our artistic staff. We seek citizen-artists with critical cultural competency and experience who incorporate practices of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within all facets of their work.
Further information regarding responsibilities, qualifications, and competencies are below. It is important to note we do not expect a candidate to have all the skills or experiences listed.
This is a full-time “exempt position” with daily hours that fluctuate due to rehearsal and performance schedules, teaching, touring, and other dynamics. People’s Light prides itself, however, on being a people-first organization. We work closely with each staff member to monitor total workload and to prioritize health and family needs. Working remotely may be possible at certain times, and the company is flexible regarding office hours, but this is a predominantly in-person, on-campus job.
Compensation: $50,000/yr plus full health benefits and paid time off. After one year in the position, People’s Light will begin contributions into our employee pension plan.
ABOUT PEOPLE'S LIGHT
People’s Light, a cultural and civic center with theatre at its core, invites and creates opportunities for diverse communities to discover and celebrate our shared humanity.
We seek new ways and ideas to challenge our vision and deepen our impact in an ever-changing world.
We strive for excellence with passion. Skill, imagination, and trust allow us to risk.
We foster opportunities for self-discovery, a sense of connection with others, and life-long learning.
We embrace a shared accountability to strengthen our communities and contribute to the vitality of our society and culture.
We commit to diversity, equity, and collaboration within all levels of our interpersonal, artistic, and civic engagement. A warm welcome, hospitality, and a generous spirit provide the foundation of our work.
We create meaningful and enduring relationships to cultivate trust and embolden discovery.
We respect our resources. We live within our financial means, and honor the people with whom we work, the buildings and grounds we inhabit, and the communities we serve.
Founded in 1974, People’s Light serves as one of Pennsylvania’s largest professional nonprofit theatres. The company is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT D) and Theatre Communications Group (TCG). We employ nearly 150 full and part-time employees annually, most of whom reside within 15 miles of our Malvern, PA campus. Nearly 200 artists from the Philadelphia region, New York, Washington, DC and other locations work at People’s Light each season. Among these are a Resident Company of Artists who possess a longstanding relationship with the theatre. They are not promised contracted employment, but are front of mind as part of season planning and a core component of the Theatre’s identity.
At the intersection of suburban, rural, and exurban communities, People’s Light has always called Chester County, PA home. In 1979 the company moved to our current 7-acre campus in Malvern. This location includes two flexibly configurable theatres (340 and 160 seats), administrative offices, scenic and production shops, rehearsal halls, and a restored 18th Century Farmhouse which serves as a place for guest artist housing and as a banquet facility and restaurant. With an expansion in 2018, the Farmhouse catering facility and restaurant have become increasingly important to the entire People’s Light experience.
Each season we produce seven to nine productions for nearly 77,000 patrons, presenting stories drawn from ancient times through tomorrow that have direct relevance to the thoughts and concerns of the communities we serve regionally and nationally. People’s Light produces both classical and contemporary theatre and has long supported the development and production of new work—in our history of over 400 productions, over a third have been world or regional premieres. This investment in new work has significantly increased in the past decade due in large part to the nationally renowned New Play Frontiers Commission & Residency program. We have also expanded programming in our Farmhouse Pavilion and green spaces. This has included performances by singer-songwriters as well as Jazz Brunches. In the future, we expect to host cabaret, comedy nights, TED-style talks, and other one-night only events in this space.
People’s Light has long been a leader in the realm of arts education and youth development, serving thousands of young people and their families with in-school residencies, school matinee performances, weekend theatre classes, summer theatre programs, and additional after-school programming. In addition to and interwoven with these offerings is New Voices, the company’s ongoing year-long program with young people from the City of Chester now entering its 30th year. As People’s Light expands our community-based play development and civic engagement initiatives, we seek to further integrate these efforts with a wide array of new youth development opportunities. We have secured funding for this and it is a priority for a post-pandemic future.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, People’s Light ceased indoor productions as of March 12, 2020. The company prioritized the health, safety, and employment of staff and artists. We retained 70-80% of full-time employees and provided health insurance to all who were temporarily furloughed. Our staff provided food and masks for community partners in need and local hospitals. We pivoted quickly to a mix of online and outdoor programming, including multi-camera films of two productions, a series of rapid commissions for short films by BIPOC artists, a drive-in concert series, and "Family Folktales" in the green space between our main buildings, which we renamed “The Glen”. We launched a Winter/Spring Digital Season and followed up with a more expansive summer outdoor season. We returned to indoor new play development at the end of August, 2021, and started rehearsals for our first in-door production (a new version of Christmas Carol) in mid-October. (see our 21-22 season here: LINK TO https://www.peopleslight.org/whats-on/20212022-season/
During our 46-year history, People’s Light has had periods of major reckoning and growth as we sought to foster an environment of inclusion. Culturally and economically privileged by complicity in white male supremacist systems and structures, People’s Light deepened our organization-wide investment in EDI training and practices in 2016. We joined the second cohort of TCG’s EDI Institute led by artEquity, and in Fall 2017, Carmen Morgan and Lydia Garcia of artEquity led a series of full-staff and full-Board retreats to further advance the organization’s EDI efforts. This resulted in Board and staff-level EDI Committees that guided the composition of a new EDI Statement that now lives on our website and in key institutional documents, such as our strategic plan and Employee Handbook. In addition, seven cross-departmental working groups focused on everything from hiring and human resources, to vendors and data analysis. For our EDI Statement and a recent update of our EDI work, click here.
In 2014 People’s Light produced our first Relaxed Performance to provide a welcoming environment that lets all patrons express themselves freely, without judgment or inhibition. These live theatre experiences invite and encourage individuals with autism, ADD, ADHD, dementia and sensory sensitivities to enjoy the performance in our "shush-free" zone. People’s Light is now at the vanguard of accessibility work in the theatre, advising arts organizations from across the country and serving as a cohort leader of a regional consortium of theatres. People’s Light continues to expand its accessibility offerings, recently becoming the first theatre in the United States to offer Smart Caption Glasses (SCG) to its audiences in a partnership with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University and The National Theatre of Great Britain.
RESPONSIBILITIES & QUALIFICATIONS
People’s Light is an artist-run company, composed of leaders with a wide variety of backgrounds and skills in theatremaking, producing, education, and community engagement. Similarly, candidates for the Director of Community Programs position may possess experience in a variety of disciplines. Regardless of background, key is the candidate’s ability to be strategic in their planning, able to uplift and integrate a diversity of perspectives and desires, actively listen, invent and pursue initiatives that build strong creative communities, and lead teams of staff and community partners around shared goals. They must be able to balance passion and practicality in various forums and spaces. Beyond this, we are prepared to shape this position to the strengths and interests of the candidate.
- Design, pilot, build, and sustain on-campus and off-campus programs that center community partnerships as part of theatremaking and live storytelling. This includes our existing New Play Frontiers and Community Matters programs.
- Nurture existing and cultivate new community partner relationships. Identify and oversee methods to more deeply connect these partners with People’s Light staff, artists, and stakeholders. Track and document engagement with these partners.
- Participate as a core member of the Artistic Staff: involved in season planning and oversight of our season of productions
- Lead Surround Programming for all fully staged productions. Conceive and supervise in-person and on-line engagements that provide greater context for and access to our productions. This may include, but are not limited to, lobby displays, pre-show/post-show discussions, community-specific gatherings, etc.
- Identify and connect artists and community partners whose antiracist work and practices advance our organization’s commitment to EDI and accessibility
- Provide key grant writing support for specific projects and programs
- Participate in fundraising activities and patron cultivation events
- Participate in local consortiums regarding community-based theatre making, EDI, antiracist practices, accessibility, and other areas of interest and expertise
- Represent People’s Light at local and national gatherings
Qualifications and Critical Competencies:
- A strong collaborator in a variety of environments and circumstances
- Honest and thoughtful; effectively manages and motivates colleagues and employees
- A generous advocate for the work of others, invested in the value of meaningful and reciprocal relationships
- A patient, discreet listener who is joyfully curious about the people and environments around them
- A strong communicator of personal and institutional vision, purpose, and plans
- Adept in various types of project management: the ability to understand and design both the strategy and operational aspects of a project, to juggle multiple competing priorities, to adapt to changing circumstances and contexts, and to follow through on commitments
- A generator and facilitator of inclusive environments: able to thoughtfully create space for and interact effectively with people of different cultural, socioeconomic, and political backgrounds; a rigorous interest in productively questioning the cultural status quo and engaging in solution-oriented systems-thinking; demonstrated EDI and antiracist analysis and practice
- A strong writer
- Experience with budgets
- Able to embrace and engage with the constant interplay between budgeting and artistic practice
- Comfortable with public speaking and representing organizations at local and national gatherings, or a desire to become comfortable in this arena
Start date between January 1, 2022 and March 1, 2022 depending on the needs of the candidate.
APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND HIRING PROCESS
To submit an application, please provide your resume, a statement about why you are interested in this position, and a brief writing sample. Please provide two preferred references along with their contact information (please note that People’s Light staff may contact references prior to first interviews). All materials can be submitted here.
Applications must be received by December 1, 2021.
Every application will be reviewed by a Hiring Team that consists of the Producing Director, General Manager, and members of the Artistic and Production Staff. Select applicants will receive interviews. First-Round interviews will occur on a rolling basis and will be conducted by at least two members of the Hiring Team over phone or Zoom. A second-round of interviews may take place in-person and involve meeting with numerous members of the company’s leadership and staff.