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Associate Executive Director

Shaw Festival Theatre, Canada

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  • Position Type: Full Time
  • Posted Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Closing Date: February 29, 2024
  • Salary: 130,000/year

Company Overview

As one of the world’s leading theatre companies and Niagara’s 20 largest employers, The Shaw is dedicated to an ongoing process of increasing diversity and inclusion in our audiences, our programs, and in all of our hiring for staff, artists, and in the recruiting of board members. The Shaw is committed to a future when our theatres joyously draw on and include all peoples, fully reflective of the world around us. As such, the Shaw Festival is an equal opportunity employer committed to a barrier-free recruitment and selection process. We encourage and invite applications from applicants who identify as Indigenous, Black or as persons of colour (IBPOC), the LGBTQ2+ communities and those identifying as gender female. In accordance with Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and in keeping with our wish to ensure a fully inclusive environment, please advise Human Resources if you require an accommodation throughout the recruitment process. We will be happy to assist.

We acknowledge and honour the land upon which we gather as the historic and traditional territory of First Nations peoples. In particular, we recognize and thank the Neutral Nation, the Mississauga and the Haudenosaunee for their stewardship of these lands over millennia.

The Shaw festival is among the 5 largest producing theatres in North America, working with an annual budget of approximately $40million and supporting a full-time staff and artist compliment of approximately 600 workers, including ensemble stage artists, with the majority proudly working under 7 collective bargaining agreements (IATSE [x3], CAEA, PGC, ADC, UFofM). 

The company works in daily rotational repertory across 5 stages (3-4 indoor and 1-2 outdoor) from April-October and then in stock through the Holidays. In 2024 we will produce 14 separate productions (800+ performances), plus concerts and other performance events, and deliver 4,000 educational and outreach activities, to an audience of over 300,000. The 2024 season runs April through December.

We are inspired by the civic, social, and artistic provocations of polymath and playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), and our artistic focus is on text-based theatre of earlier eras, including an ever-widening range of global classical texts and artists examining these texts. We believe that theatre, and live arts, are and serve a range of basic human needs, and we prioritize live performance and in person interaction over digital (or other) at distance delivery options in order to prioritize live gathering, shared empathy and in person dialogue.

Shaw operates in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – a small town of approximately 18,000 on the Canada/US border and located in the heart of Niagara’s remarkable tourism ecology. Niagara-on-the-Lake is the original capital of Upper Canada, and a well know wine and food destination at the mouth of the Niagara River. The Shaw serves both Canada (65%) and US/International (35%) arts and culture tourists, with most attendees coming from father than 100km and enjoying long, repeated stays locally. We are incorporated as a cultural charity in both Canada and the USA and a major driver for the Niagara economy, driving more than $238 Million in tourism activity each year.

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Job Description

Position: Associate Executive Director
Compensation: Salary - $130k per year plus benefits, as defined by grant.
Duration: Three Year Term Appointment

The Position

This grant initiated position is created as a mid-to-late career development program with funding provided by The James A. Burton & Family Foundation, this new position and program, the Associate Executive Director, is designed as a three-year, fixed-term role that will enable a senior arts executive from a mid-size arts organization to receive a unique, full-time, multi-year mentoring and training experience that will equip them with the managerial experience and critical planning skills needed to run North America’s largest charitable arts institutions. The ideal candidate will be driven, committed to the live arts and basic human needs they serve, and is interested in the evolving nature of cultural charities in the 21st century. 

The Associate Executive Director is a leadership position that sits as part of the senior management team, working under the direct guidance and direction of Executive Director/CEO Tim Jennings.

Following a very successful strategic growth and stabilization period between 2016 and 2019, and coming through the pandemic having avoided layoffs and downsizing, The Shaw is now poised for another growth period and to anchor the quickly developing cultural tourism agenda for the wider Niagara region.

As The Shaw grows, and expands, there is an opportunity for this significant new role to work directly with the administrative, business development, fundraising, marketing, and management teams of the company to help guide this growth and to personally develop the key institutional skills necessary to manage a larger cultural institution. A significant capital and strategic expansion plan is already underway, and so the opportunity to involve themself in this campaign work is also inherent to the role, as is working with the community to help foster improvements in the tourism and cultural ecosystems of Niagara, and in combating the significant current issues facing our wider live arts industry.


Key Operational Functions

·        Support the Executive team/Co-CEOs in ensuring the overall health of the organization, and support senior management in maintaining the inclusivity, integrity, workplace safety, and efficient operation of the Festival’s physical space and environment, ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations and statutory requirements;

·        Ensure the development and monitoring of sound financial and human resource administration, controls and systems of the Festival and work with the Directors of HR and Finance and Administration to contribute to the budget planning and monitoring process and present necessary financial reports to the Executive Director as required;

·        Carry out long term financial and project analysis and modelling in support of the Festival’s future growth and expansion planning;

·        Provide oversight of ongoing institutional maintenance and capital management projects;

·        Draft, administer and execute special contracts and grant and funding applications;

·        Work with the Executive Director, Director of Development and Development Team to steward existing donor relationships and grow grant and contributed revenue opportunities;

·        Represent the Festival with various stakeholders including governments, agencies, the theatre /arts community, Festival patrons, volunteers and partner organizations and at conferences and gatherings;

·        Ensure the Shaw’s commitment to its values, inclusive practices and workplace policies are fully upheld and regularly examined for improvement.

·        Help to steward community partnerships, and ensure that the Festival maintains a close and positive working relationship with our local constituencies, including providing mentorship and professional development to other local non-profits;

·        Help develop earned revenue strategies in concert with the Directors of Marketing and Communications and Finance and Administration, Education and Outreach and their teams.

·        Assist in ensuring the best possible delivery of our artistic product in concert with the vision of the Artistic Director, Associate Artistic Director and alongside the Creative management and Production teams.

·        Participate in the Festival’s upcoming campus expansion and planning;

·        Ensure that appropriate coaching and mentoring is in place for all employees and transition and/or succession planning is practiced throughout the company;

·        Become fluent with the operations of all aspects of the enterprise and its workers toward increasing efficiencies and a balance between the highest level of program delivery and ensuring worker care.

·        The role may be asked to act as Co-Executive leader of the organization in the absence of the CEO, and will provide onsite coverage of other related department directors as may be needed from time to time (vacation covers, illness, manager on duty rotation, emergencies, etc), in combination with the CEO.

Skills / Knowledge / Experience / Education

A. The ideal candidate would possess most or all of the following or appropriate equivalents:

·        A clear passion for theatre and live arts that helps carry them through the demanding needs of a leadership organization and role.

·        A well-developed understanding and thoughtful study of the financial structure of North Americas not-for-profit and charitable arts ecosystems.

·        A career that has included progressively senior positions in the arts with at least 5 years’ experience in leadership of an arts organization.

·        A University Degree or longer, proven professional experience. An MBA or similar graduate degree is also desirable but not essential.

·         Excellent oral & written communication/presentation skills.

·        Demonstrated financial planning, institutional budgeting and accounting skills.

·        Fundraising, Marketing, Producing and HR management experience.

·        Excellent interpersonal and team building skills.

B. Although not essential, it would be advantageous for candidates to have experience managing or participating in:

·        A capital or endowment campaign; and/or

·        Significant building projects

Essential Considerations

The position is based at the Festival theatre offices in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the successful candidate will be expected to establish a residence within the area or easy driving distance (45 minutes) for the three-year duration of their employment and to work on and from site.

The Associate Executive Director is expected to work occasional evenings and weekends, as needed, including and especially during the performance season, around special functions, openings and the like.

Some regular travel to meet with donors and partners is required and regular meetings of boards and committees occur in both Toronto and Buffalo.

She/He/They must at all times possess a valid Driver’s License and a Passport and/or NEXUS card as the position also requires occasional travel to the US and abroad.


Please Note: All new hires must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status plus booster shot, or a more recent vaccination, prior to start date.

Please submit your cover letter and resume by email prior to 5pm, February 29, 2024, VIA EMAIL ONLY, to:

Shaw Festival Theatre
Att:  Director Human Resources

We thank all applicants in advance for their interest, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

  • Position Type: Full Time
  • Posted Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Closing Date: February 29, 2024
  • Salary: 130,000/year