Founded in 1974, People’s Light serves as one of Pennsylvania’s largest professional nonprofit theatres. The company is known for its resident company of artists, an eclectic mix of productions, and innovative work with young people. Each season the company produces eight 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 community it serves regionally and as an important voice in the national theatre community. People’s Light produces both classical and contemporary theatre and has long supported the commission of new work—in their history of over 400 productions, over a third have been world or regional premieres.
People’s Light has always called Chester County, PA its home. In 1979 the company moved into its current location in Malvern on a sprawling and bucolic campus. The location includes two flexibly configurable black box 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. The Farmhouse banquet and catering facility and Bistro restaurant have become increasingly important components of the entire People’s Light experience, serving as both important revenue centers and open doors for new People’s Light audiences and supporters.
People’s Light employs nearly 150 full and part-time employees annually, most of whom reside within 15 miles of the theatre’s Malvern, PA campus. Nearly 200 guest artists from Philadelphia, New York, Washington, DC and other cities primarily on the East Coast work at People’s Light each season.
CURRENT ENVIRONMENT AND THE FUTURE:
People’s Light has taken significant steps to foster an environment of collaborative input as senior leadership sets the agenda for the future. Celebrating its dedicated staff is a priority at this moment in People’s Light’s history, and that has resulted in thorough discussions and evaluation of how to approach creating structures and systems that can allow People’s Light to embrace its highly regarded past and celebrate a future that builds upon its history for artistic innovation combined with organization stability and rigor.
The primary mission-based activities of People’s Light include:
- An annual season of 8-9 theatre productions; a mix of contemporary, classic, and new.
- New play development primarily focused on two initiatives; New Play Frontiers and Harmony Labs.
- New Play Frontiers explores the American Identity by commissioning leading playwrights to create plays influenced by the concerns, history and stories of nearby populations, simultaneously developing audiences who have deep personal stakes in this new work.
- Harmony Labs is a program that brings together teams of composers and playwrights to create new music theatre.
- Surround programming and community engagement activities; discussions, panels, readings, town hall meetings and workshops inspired by the plays People’s Light produces and the plays they develop. These take place on People’s Light’s campus and throughout the region.
- Arts Education programs; Theatre School, Summerstage, the New Voices Ensemble, internships, school residencies, 4th Friday for teens, and a variety of activities that focus on work with children and adults who have cognitive challenges.
Additionally, People’s Light has recently taken steps to more aggressively promote the activities of its already thriving Farmhouse banquet facilities and Bistro Restaurant. Growth in this for-profit venture is seen as full of potential for increasing revenue streams as well as a front-facing entry way for new constituents to the People’s Light experience.
The theatre’s senior leadership is strong and resilient with Abbey Adams serving the role of organizational leader as Artistic Director & CEO. Ms. Adams has been a fixture with People’s Light for over 30 years and is supported by Producing Director Zak Berkman in setting the vision and artistic profile of the company. Current General Manager & CFO Ellen Anderson will soon be transitioning into a newly conceived role overseeing all Farmhouse operations. In this move, People’s Light is taking the opportunity to rethink senior level staffing to provide an optimum level of support to its current staff and actively advance an atmosphere of concierge-level service in all its operations. The result of that inquiry is the creation of stand-alone Director of External Affairs, Director of Finance, and General Manager roles as part of the senior leadership team.
DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS:
The Director of External Affairs is a member of the Senior Management Team reporting directly to the Artistic Director & CEO. This position works closely with the Artistic Director & CEO, Producing Director, General Manager, and Director of Finance to provide operational leadership and vision for revenue growth relating to development and increased audiences through expanded awareness of People’s Light’s work. This individual will also forge a successful working relationship with the Director of People’s Light’s for-profit Farmhouse & Bistro Restaurant operations, helping to be a thought partner on business expansion and growth. The Director of External Affairs will be highly motivated to bring the People’s Light message to new audiences and sources of support, anticipating needs and changes in how all constituencies show their advocacy and patronage for the company’s work.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Key duties and responsibilities for the Director of External Affairs are as follows:
- With the senior leadership of the theatre, establish and execute a strategic and comprehensive development plan that will support the operating needs of the theatre for the present and the long term.
- Oversee development, marketing, and audience services staff (and maintain an active relationship with all company departments).
- Aggressively lead and direct the organization and implementation of the theatre’s fundraising from individual, foundation, corporate and government sources. (Key initiatives to include increasing identification and cultivation of individual and corporate donors, with particular focus on accessing new constituencies and major gift development; growth of the endowment; development of a planned giving program; and an increasing emphasis on the effective stewardship of donors).
- Develop a fully integrated approach to marketing and communications that directly aligns with fund development efforts.
- Establish an atmosphere of holistic revenue enhancement where approaches to development and earned revenue growth are intentionally approached as integrated, interconnected, and equally rich with potential.
- Create new ways to speak to People’s Light constituents utilizing the newest technologies and always thinking “ahead of the curve.”
- Work with the theatre’s senior leadership to motivate and strengthen the Board in its role in development; expand, manage and coordinate the trustees’ and other volunteers’ involvement in fundraising activities; and take an active role in serving and supporting the Board and Board committees.
- Work closely with staff, trustees, and other volunteers to maximize the effectiveness of the theatre’s diverse special events, which range from small cultivation dinners and opening night parties to larger gala-type events, in order to help develop, attract, and retain donors.
- Foster ongoing, collegial relations among the development department and other departments of the organization and work to better integrate fundraising into the culture of People’s Light.
- Build, train, mentor, and supervise an effective, professional development team and support staff, and recruit and replace as necessary.
- Supervise and manage the research and preparation of all foundation, corporate and government grant proposals, and oversee grant administration and reporting.
- Manage and oversee the formation and maintenance of necessary development reports and records; help prepare and manage the department's financial reports and budget; monitor budget and control expenditures.
Successful candidates will:
- Have a background in the cultivation and solicitation of individual, corporate, foundation, and government donors, and a proven track record in the management of successful development programs, including staff and volunteer management.
- Be a strong manager and administrator, with solid experience in leading, mentoring and motivating staff, and the ability to inspire those working with him/her toward accomplishing common objectives.
- Be very well-organized, able to plan and manage strategically, set priorities and focus on details while not losing sight of the big picture, with the flexibility to welcome and embrace change, and the ability to balance the many challenges inherent in an active and lively theatre environment.
- Be a personable, mature, and diplomatic individual, who works effectively with trustees, donors, volunteers and inside staff and is comfortable dealing with people of wealth, and who relishes taking an active, public role in the cultivation and solicitation of donors, and as a representative of People’s Light.
- Possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, good business sense, and computer literacy.
- Experience with Tessitura a plus.
- Be someone with initiative, creativity, and energy, who enjoys working as a team player but also has the capability to work independently and as a self-starter.
- Have a genuine interest in theatre and the arts in general, understand and support the theatre’s mission and appreciate the important role cultural institutions play in the life of a vibrant community, and have the ability to articulate this mission and role to others.
- A least seven to 10 years of development experience with a demonstration of increasing responsibility throughout her or his career.
Special Job Characteristics:
A real desire to make important, long-term connections for People’s Light that will have significant impact on the fiscal and organizational health of the company. An outgoing spirit; someone excited about forging new relationships and being a passionate advocate for the intrinsic social impact of People’s Light’s work as a leading cultural force in Chester County, PA and beyond.
COMPENSATION, APPLICATION PROCEDURE AND START DATE:
The Director of External Affairs salary will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size. Benefits will include the following:
- Medical/dental/life/disability insurance plans (largely employer funded);
- Defined Contribution Plan through TIAA-CREF
- Paid vacation, holidays and sick leave
People’s Light is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Candidates for employment are considered without regard to race, color, sex creed, religion, national origin, sexual preference, age, non-job-related disability, or marital status.
People’s Light hopes to make its decision by Fall of 2018, with the successful candidate onsite as soon as possible thereafter. Applicants should submit a résumé, cover letter, salary expectation, and three professional references electronically to the consulting firm retained to facilitate this important search:
Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Attn: Louise Kane or Jonathan West
Email only: MgtConArts@gmail.com
Subject Line: People's Light, Director of External Affairs