Director (Artistic Producing)- Soho Rep
New York City, New York, United States
Founded in 1975, Soho Rep provides radical theater makers with productions of the highest caliber and tailor-made development at key junctures in their artistic practice. The organization elevates artists as thought leaders and citizens who change the field and society. Artistic autonomy is paramount at Soho Rep; the organization encourages an unmediated connection between artists and audiences to create a springboard for transformation and rich civic life beyond the walls of its theater.
Soho Rep is committed to the following Core Values:
§We re-center the narratives of people who are underrepresented in our field. We interrogate the history and form of Theater and ask why and for whom Theater exists.
§We prioritize open access to our work. We keep tickets affordable, build two-way coalitions and partnerships across New York City, and continually invite new audiences to our shows.
§The sustainability of Soho Rep is directly tied to the individuals at the heart of our theater. We provide holistic support and fair pay. We are clear-sighted about our organizational capacity, which generates a more reasonable workload for all. We make ambitious and destabilizing theater, which demands even greater diligence to create a nurturing and supportive environment.
In 2019, Soho Rep established a three-way Co-Directorship, shared leadership model that redistributes power, is more collaborative, and gives equal weight to divergent perspectives. In 2023, Soho Rep Directors Sarah Benson and Meropi Peponides will step down, making way for two new artistic leaders. Director Cynthia Flowers will continue to partner with the two new incoming Directors. The 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 seasons have been programmed by the current Co-Director team to help ensure a thorough and thoughtful transition process.
Located in Lower Manhattan, at its intimate 65-seat theater, critics have consistently heralded the Off-Broadway company as a go-to theater destination for new and original works. New York Magazine said of the company, “this indispensable theater offers more excitement per chair than any space in town.” Time Out New York called Soho Rep “the best theater in NYC,“ and The New York Times described Soho Rep as "form-twisting, boundary-breaking, and acclaimed,” adding that, “The downtown powerhouse…regularly outclasses the work done on many of the city’s larger stages.” The Village Voice named Soho Rep the “Best Off-Broadway Theater Company,” and the company was listed in Travel Magazine’s “10 Essential Off-Broadway Theaters.”
Soho Rep has also been honored with a Drama Desk Award for Sustained Achievement. Over the last decade, Soho Rep productions have garnered 21 OBIE Awards; the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical; 13 Drama Desk nominations; two Kesselring Awards; The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award for Dan LeFranc’s Sixty Miles To Silverlake; and a special citation in The New York Drama Critics’ Circle’s 2012-13 awards. Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview, commissioned by Soho Rep and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In recent years, Soho Rep has presented plays by established and emerging theater artists such as David Adjmi, César Alvarez, Zawe Ashton, Annie Baker, Alice Birch, Christopher Chen, Jackie Sibblies Drury, debbie tucker green, Aleshea Harris, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Daniel Alexander Jones, Hansol Jung, Richard Maxwell, Julia Mounsey, Sarah Kane, Young Jean Lee, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Kate Tarker, Mara Vélez Meléndez, and Anne Washburn and directors Saheem Ali, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Will Davis, Leah C. Gardiner, Taibi Magar, David Mendizábal, Rebecca Taichman, Eric Ting, Peter Mills Weiss, Dustin Wills, and Whitney White.
The 2022-23 season includes three world premiere commissions: Kate Tarker’s Montag, Shayok Misha Chowdhury’s Public Obscenities, and Jillian Walker’s The Whitney Album. Additionally, a small cohort of commissioned artists whose work is in development will be in conversation with new leadership. In addition to its season of three productions, Soho Rep’s artistic programs include: The Writer Director Lab, Studio, and Project Number One.
Meaningful relationships with many emerging artists begin in the Writer Director Lab which was first established in 1998. The Lab is currently co-chaired by William Burke and Jackie Sibblies Drury. Under the guidance of these mentors, four collaborative teams meet bi-weekly and generate a new play over a 12-month period. Anyone can apply to the Lab, and the Lab culminates in presentations at Soho Rep that are free and open to the public.
In its Studio program, Soho Rep commissions new plays with an upfront commitment to production. Artists are provided with workshops based on whatever is most vital to them as they bring their shows to production-level readiness. In recent seasons over 80% of Soho Rep productions were commissioned or developed in the Studio, including Wolf Play, Fairview, Is God Is, Futurity, 10 Out of 12, and more. Playwrights currently developing work through the Studio include Garrett Allen, Alice Birch, Becca Blackwell, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Shayok Misha Chowdhury, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins & Carmelita Tropicana, Raja Feather Kelly, Narcissister, Radical Evolution, and Jillian Walker.
Project Number One was initially launched in 2020 as a job creation program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and record unemployment in the theater field. It was also an experiment in prioritizing living wages for artists, even when faced with extraordinary challenges. During this time of cultural and civic recovery, Project Number One is evolving to include: ongoing staff positions for artists, budget transparency, and significant increases to production fees and salaries that are well beyond expected union minimums.
Soho Rep’s staff includes three Directors, a Director of Development and Marketing, a Production Manager, an Associate Producer, a Marketing Manager, a Development Assistant, two Project Number One Artists on staff, a part-time Facilities Manager, and two Writer Director Lab Co-Chairs, along with dozens of part-time, production contract, and commissioned theater makers.
The Soho Rep board has formed a search committee-co-chaired by Board Chair Victoria Meakin and playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, including authors and board members James Gleick and Claudia Rankine, and Soho Rep Director Cynthia Flowers.
Soho Rep is currently led by the three Directors, Sarah Benson, Cynthia Flowers, and Meropi Peponides and governed by a 19-member Board. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, Soho Rep reported revenue of $2.80M, with approximately $2.56M from contributions and grants and $240K from program services. Total expenses were $2.77M.
Sources: sohorep.org; projects.propublica.org
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Director (Artistic Producing) serves as member of Soho Rep’s three-person executive leadership team. Working alongside the Director (Organizational Strategy and Advancement) and the Director (Curation and Artistic Programs), the Director (Artistic Producing) collaborates with the board and other organizational leaders to determine the strategy and direction for the theater. The Director (Artistic Producing) provides overall leadership in the producing of plays and Studio workshops—creative team selection, budget creation and management, casting, design, and all other producing demands of each project from inception through final performance. While maintaining the lead responsibility for artistic producing, the Director (Artistic Producing) will share ownership of the work of season planning with the Director (Curation and Artistic Programs). Together, the three Directors will devise a transparent, consensus-driven decision-making model that ensures collaboration across all areas of Soho Rep’s artistic programs, productions, organizational strategy, and advancement.
Note: Descriptors listed in the position description (“Curation and Artistic Programs,” “Artistic Producing,” and “Organizational Strategy and Advancement”) are included solely for the purpose clarifying roles and responsibilities during the search process. Soho Rep’s next leadership team will all hold the title of “Director.”
Role and Responsibilities
Share the leadership responsibilities of season planning (productions and Studio commissions) in close collaboration with Director (Curation and Artistic Programs).
Collaborate with artists to clarify their artistic vision, including understanding both the form and content of the work, the process by which it is made, and advocating for it, even when (especially when) it is unusual or difficult to achieve or to communicate to others.
Lead the artistic producing process from the moment a show is programmed, including overseeing the casting process in collaboration with a Casting Director, forming a creative team, hiring designers, overseeing the design process for the physical production, and working with lead artists to strategically allocate resources according to their vision.
Set the culture and tone of each production process and ensure the process remains aligned with Soho Rep’s anti-oppressive values.
Guide the development/ conceptualization and execution of productions and Studio workshops.
Provide artistic feedback to lead artists who are working on productions, commissions, Studio workshops, and other artistic programs.
Create and codify systems for Soho Rep’s productions and workshops, while intentionally remaining open to different pathways for realizing the work and embracing each artist’s unique process, ways of thinking and needs.
Maintain awareness of labor practices and union agreements, including at other theaters to inform future strategic decisions for the theater, artistically, managerially, and financially.
Sustain relationships with strategic partners such as potential transfer partners, co-producers, commercial producers, etc.
Synthesize internal and external organizational learning (show-to-show, season-to-season) to evaluate, in dialogue with the other Directors and artistic community, how Soho Rep is fulfilling its mission with a specific and distinctive vision.
Operations, Administration, and Board Relations
Oversee artistic-related expenditures and establish methods of maintaining budget control, including developing overall artistic budget and managing production and Studio workshop budgets in collaboration with other Soho Rep Directors.
Manage and work closely with the Production Manager and Associate Producer to guide the production process and resolve larger production issues as they arise in pre-production, tech, and previews.
Problem-solve significant creative or personal conflicts that arise on productions, programs, or among staff.
Attend all Executive and full board meetings as member of the leadership team, including Board Committee meetings as may sometimes be required.
Artistic Community and Audience Engagement
Communicate with a range of stakeholders, artists, staff, donors, board members, press, and audiences about Soho Rep’s work.
Brainstorm and provide feedback, with other Directors, on the design and tone of communications, marketing materials, and website to ensure Soho Rep artistic aesthetic is accurately and consistently represented and Soho Rep’s core value of “unmediated connection between artists and audiences to create a springboard for transformation and rich civic life beyond the walls of the theater” is maintained.
Establish, with other Soho Rep Directors, positive and productive relationships with board members and donors, educating patrons about the work, and fostering curiosity, rigor, and generosity.
Participate in grant writing, ask meetings, and cultivation events.
Determine mid- and long-term facilities needs and participate in the development of imminent capital campaign strategy and fundraising in collaboration with the board and other Soho Rep Directors.
Traits and Characteristics
The Director (Artistic Producing) will be a values-driven, creative problem-solver and a strong listener/observer of people and systems. They will be an organizer/synthesizer of information and proactive communicator who is skilled at advanced planning and delegating. This person is able to inspire and galvanize others to realize the artistic vision of each production. This is a leader who cares deeply about other artists, the conditions in which they make work, and how their work meets an audience. They will have transparent conversations at every step of the process with artists and the full production team so that organizational capacity is vivid to everyone. The Director (Artistic Producing) will not be a people pleaser, but rather someone who is trying to create genuine artistic freedom through intense imagination and fierce honesty. This peer artist-leader will welcome being challenged by other artists and will be open to evolving their own artistic and producing practice. The Director (Artistic Producing) will have the ability, experience, and commitment to collaborate with individuals and teams that are mixed across lines of difference such as race, gender-identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, class, and immigrant status.
Qualified candidates must have a significant body of work as a professional producer and/or production manager, possess extensive project management experience, and demonstrate a knowledge of radical theater makers expanding form and genre. Experience producing in New York City and working with six figure budgets or higher is preferred. A network of existing relationships with artists in New York’s downtown theater community, nationally, and internationally is preferred. The Director (Artistic Producing) must live in commuting-distance of New York City and must make Soho Rep their primary professional focus, even if they pursue an independent artistic or producing practice. Experience creating and maintaining budgets is required. Experience in championing and implementing inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, anti-bias, anti-racism, and anti-oppressive collaboration methodologies is required. Experience in fundraising is preferred (if not, the willingness to learn and engage with donors and funding organizations). The position requires flexible work hours and days reflective of the dynamic schedule of a theater. Producers of all types with relevant experience are strongly encouraged to apply. A commitment to and belief in the value of the shared leadership model is essential.
Compensation and Benefits
The Soho Rep provides a competitive compensation package with a salary range between $110,000 and $125,000 and offers a generous benefits package including employer-paid health insurance; dental and vision; life insurance; and paid time off.