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Forward Theater seeks Managing Director

Forward Theater seeks Managing Director

Forward Theater Company (FTC), a professional contemporary theater company based in Madison, Wisconsin, is launching a search for a Managing Director.

FTC was founded in 2009 and is a resident company of Overture Center for the Arts in downtown Madison. FTC’s mission is to “create a home base for Wisconsin’s theater professionals and audiences, that expands the cultural and economic life of the greater Madison area.” A balance of bold artistic programming with shrewd financial management has allowed FTC to finish each of its seasons in the black.

FTC produces three mainstage plays each year, as well as presenting two programs supporting new work in alternating seasons. In addition, FTC allocates significant resources to outreach programming built around the themes of each of our mainstage productions. Per our mission, over 90% of our hires are Wisconsin residents.

FTC’s operations are structured around our unique organizational structure, which balances governance between our Board of Directors and an Advisory Company, consisting of area theater professionals. Open communication and transparency around our artistic and financial needs are at the core of our success.

Mainstage productions run for three weeks each. Our subscriber base is approximately 2,700 patrons, and total 2015-2016 attendance was over 14,000.

Since its founding, FTC has been led by a Producing Artistic Director, with a growing staff that now includes two full-time and four part-time employees. (Over 100 additional contracts go to artists hired to work on our productions each year.) As we move towards our tenth anniversary season in 2018-2019, we are looking to add a full-time Managing Director to start in January 2018.

Candidates for the position must have prior nonprofit leadership experience, preferably with arts organizations. Wisconsin residence (current or past) is a plus, per our mission. Ability to work in a collegial, cooperative environment is a must.


Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume and references to jobs@forwardtheater.combetween February 1 and March 31, 2017.


Managing Director – The Managing Director is the business leader of the company, oversees the general operations of the organization, alongside the Artistic Director is a key participant in program and planning activities and decisions, and is a public face for FTC.

FTC’s Managing Director will be experienced in the areas of fundraising, budget management, staff management, and contract negotiation. They will have an extensive background in using these skills on behalf of nonprofit arts organizations (ideally with significant experience working for theater companies). They will be comfortable engaging with our audience members, donors and professional colleagues. They will be service-oriented, open-minded, positive, data-based and collegial. Applicants for this position must have prior nonprofit leadership experience.

Like all members of FTC’s staff, the Managing Director is expected to adhere to the values stated in the company’s “Bill of Rights” (attached) and to contribute to the supportive, collaborative and communication-oriented interactions amongst the staff and with the Advisory Company (AC), Board, FTC patrons and the greater community.

• Work closely with Artistic Director and report directly to the Board of Directors.
• Interact regularly with the AC and Board of Directors (attending meetings, etc), ensure they are kept well-informed as to the company’s fiscal health, and consult with them as needed.
• Build/strengthen FTC’s relationships with area businesses, community organizations, festivals, thought leaders, etc. to increase FTC’s impact and long-term prospects.

• Develop and presents to the Board for the Board’s consideration and action an annual operating plan and budget. Manages the approved plan and budget and regularly informs the Board of progress toward achievement of the annual plan.
• With special attention to and guidance from the Artistic Director and Production Manager, control and track administrative and production spending.
• Implement sound financial and human resources processes, procedures, and practices.
• Create, execute, and administer contracts for actors, production staff and show crews (with Production Manager and Artistic Director) and assist in the recruitment process as needed.
• Develop rapport with directors, designers, venue personnel, etc. as necessary to facilitate efficiently-run productions and events.
• Ensure the Company Manager has sufficient resources to arrange travel and accommodations for guest artists and staff.
• At Artistic Director’s request, secure rights for all productions.
• In partnership with the Artistic Director, oversee performance and review of all permanent staff members.

• Verify accuracy of monthly financial statements.
• Ensure Business Manager has resources needed to process donations.
• Oversee the completion of a successful annual financial audit.
• Provide for office space, furnishings, supplies and equipment as needed.

• Manage FTC’s relationship with all unions (AEA, IATSE, USA and SDC).
• Act as FTC’s point person in negotiations with Overture Center for the Arts regarding scheduling and other matters.
• Represent FTC in explorations and negotiations regarding potential office, rehearsal and shop spaces.
• Manage all communications with government agencies (such as the IRS and Department of Workforce Development).

• Manage all aspects of FTC’s corporate development outreach (build relationships with corporate sponsors, manage relationships with sponsors and prospects, create and provide materials for sponsors and prospects).
• Be actively involved in all other aspects of the Company’s fundraising activities, including work on capital campaigns and making fundraising calls to individuals, foundations and corporations as needed.

• Assure success of yearly and individual project marketing and publicity plans and activities by working with and supporting FTC Communications Director.
• Represent FTC in interviews or at public events as opportunities arise.


Forward Theater Company was founded on a model resembling that of the federal government. Our bylaws serve, effectively, as our Constitution – a framework guiding how we will operate structurally. Much as the Founding Fathers realized themselves, we know that further guidance is required for our current decision-making and to guide planning in the future. Therefore, we have adopted our own “Bill of Rights” outlining the truths that we hold to be self-evident. FTC’s Advisory Company and Board members will be responsible for adhering to these principles, while remaining adaptable to changing times (much as the Congress and Judiciary do at the federal level).

1. We value local artists and will prioritize providing work for them (and especially for the members of our Advisory Company) in casting and other hiring decisions.
2. We will present our work at the highest possible standards of excellence, both onstage and behind the scenes.
3. We will strive to pay our artists, staff and crew at the highest level of industry compensation.
4. We will value our subscribers and the critical role they play in sustaining our company through our interactions with them, our customer service, and our pricing.
5. When choosing our seasons, we will prioritize work that our audiences would not otherwise have access to – ie, fresh new work available only to professional companies, world-premiere scripts, exciting approaches to older works that are guided by top-caliber artists….
6. We will provide a positive, respectful and nurturing work environment for all employees and guest artists that allows everyone to work to their full potential, and will conduct ourselves with integrity in all interactions representing Forward Theater Company.
7. We will be a community-wide leader in forging collaborative partnerships.
8. We will invest our time and resources in educational and complementary programming that enhances the experience of our current audiences and grows the pool of new audience members.
9. We will, in all things, be respectful of the financial implications of our decisions, and will be a leader in the arts community’s contributions to the local economy.
10. Most importantly, we will maintain the high standards of community involvement and responsiveness we have established in our formative years, remembering always that FTC exists to serve that most important component of any theatrical endeavor – the audience.

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