East West Seeks Artistic Leader
East West Players (EWP) seeks its next Artistic Director (AD) to join the celebrated Los Angeles company at a transformative moment in its history. Under Board leadership, the company is building a new organizational structure designed to support an expansive company future through a co-leadership model. The next AD will be joined by a Managing Director (searches are concurrent), both reporting to the Board.With this model, new to East West Players, the AD and Managing Director (MD) will share responsibility for and rely on their partnership for the company’s success, while bringing the complementary skills and experiences that will allow each to focus more fully on their unique areasof operations.
East West Players is recognized nationally not only as a leader in centering Asian American artists and stories, but also for, as American Theatre magazine noted, “the theatre’s simultaneous dedication to social justice and to the highest level of artistry.”
A successful Artistic Director will play a pivotal role in the new structure, ensuring that commitment to the highest level of artistry and stewarding the company’s artistic vision, community artistic partnerships and social activism, while also partnering with the Managing Director and Board of Directors to facilitate financial growth and stability. As the regional theater world faces challenges that are both outcomes of the recent pandemic and those that result from historically damaging systemic issues around equity and structure, the Artistic Director at EWPis in a unique positionto serve as a thought leader for the field.
About the Company
As the nation’s longest-running theatre of color founded in 1965, East West Players (EWP), is the nation’s premier Asian American theatre. EWP’smission is to raise the visibility of the Asian American experience by presenting inventive world-class theatrical productions, developing artists of color, and providing impactful youth education programs. The organization’s objectives are to promote positive images of Asian Americans,increase access, inclusion, and representation for Asian American artists in Los Angeles’ creative economy, and lead the Asian American theatermovement toward greater cultural diversity and artistic expansion.
EWP’s activities include producing three to five theatrical works each season, with at least one premiere, on their mainstage at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles. They also offer an artistic development program called Counter-
Culture, consisting of community conversations, readings, and workshops of new works that explore current societal issues. In addition to their mainstage productions and artistic development initiatives, EWPprovides educational programs that supplement arts education in schools. EWP provides services to over 11,000 youth annually through two signature programs: Theatre for Youth is a touring production that travels to schools and community centers in Los Angeles each year and Partners in Education and Arts Collaboration is a free after-school education program for upper-elementary and middle school students hosted at Title I schools. EWP partners with other arts organizations in Los Angeles County to expand its audience base and collaborate on shared artistic programming such as Pasadena Playhouse, Robey Theatre, Fountain Theatre, and Center Theatre Group.
East West Players also serves the community with classes and opportunities for artists’ professional development through professionalenrichment programs.
EWP received the distinguished Ford Foundation America’s Cultural Treasures grant (20 grant recipients in the Nation). The America’s Cultural Treasures initiative, funded by a network ofl6 donors and foundations, provides multiyear, operational, and general support grants to Black, Latino,Asian and Indigenous organizations as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the arts. EWP was also a nominee in the 64th GrammyAwards for Best Global Music Album East West Players Presents: Daniel Ho and Friends LNE.
East West Players is committed to raising the visibility of the Asian American experience by presenting inventive world-class theatrical productions, developing artists of color, and providing impactful youth education programs.
Vision & Values
East West Players’ v1s10n is to inspire and advocate for a world free of racism and discrimination through transformative artistic works.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Artistic Excellence -To aspire to the highest level of artistry.
Social Consciousness – To raise visibility and dialogue around the issues that affect our times.
Community- To create an open and inclusive space for diverse constituencies.
Visionary Leadership – To lead the Asian American and theatrical communities with ground-breaking artistic works.
The Union Center for the Arts
East West Players’ current home is in the upper three levels of the Union Center for the Arts in the northwestern end of the Little Tokyo HistoricDistrict. The company has had several
homes in the 32 years since its founding, including most recently in a 99-seat theatre in Silver Lake, before moving to the new David Henry HwangTheater in the Union Center for the Arts in 1998.
The building located on Judge John Aiso Street was damaged during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, leaving it unusable. The Little Tokyo ServiceCenter Community Development Corporation completed a multi-million dollar renovation of the building in 1998 to house three arts organizations- the East West Players, Visual Communications and LAArtcore.
Learn more about EWP on the East West Players website.
Read more about Little Tokyo here.
Reporting to the Board of Directors and co-leading with the Managing Director, EWP’s next Artistic Director will be a visionary theatre leader with a proven track record of artistic excellence, equitable practices and values, and skillful administration; a deep cultural understanding of andconnection to Asian American communities and artists; and a national perspective on the powerful role EWP can take as the field engages in a time of profound change.
Keys responsibilities include:
Artistic Curation, Producing, and Education
- Create an annual artistic plan that inspires audiences, donors, artists, and staff
- Serve as the lead producer for all EWP productions and ensure artistic quality, production values and work culture are aligned with company values
- Develop programming and production budgets as part of EWP’s annual program budgeting process, a responsibility shared with the Managing Director
- Maintain existing and build new partner relationships that forward the artistic and community goals of EWP
- Identify opportunities for EWP to continue to develop and/or participate in the cultivation of new work, and oversee thecommissioning of playwrights and artists
- Grow, nurture, and maintain a network of directors, designers, playwrights, and other theatre artists, locally and nationally
- Oversee casting for productions and developmental workshops
- Providedirection and vision for the company’s education and professional development activities and the staff and artists who deliver them
Organizational Leadership & Culture
- Share in creating a collaborative leadership model for EWP that will be foundational to the next era of the company’s growth andstability
- Supervise and manage the artistic, education and production teams and functions
- Articulate strategic opportunities and goals of the company, to partner with the board and MD in crafting the roadmap for the next era of EWP
- Co-lead the establishment of productive communications between the staff, leadership team and board
- Co-lead and support operational standards based on the company’s stated values
- Provide leadership investment in the EWPstaff by developing and supporting growth opportunities
- Create an environment that centers justice, diversity, equity and inclusion on and off the stage
- Be a public face of the theater, often serving as the “voice” of theater while ensuring that there is alignment with the board and the organization when taking that role
External Affairs & Resource Development
- Actively and wholeheartedly participate in the cultivation and stewardship of donors
– individuals and institutional – to ensure long term viability
- Serve as an engaging public ambassador in Los Angeles, in particular in the Asian American community and in the theatre’s ownneighborhood
- Participate actively in the Los Angeles arts community as a key artistic leader and advocate for equity, inclusion and access
- Champion EWP’s vision and mission at performances, special events, and industry gatherings, locally and nationally
- Actively participate in the theatre’s ongoing brand evolution, providing artistic clarity and direction in marketing and communications strategies and products
The Search Committee seeks the following qualities in EWP’s next leader:
- A deep cultural understanding of and personal connection to Asian American communities and artists
- A passionate candidate committed to elevating the visibility and voices from the Asian American community, onstage and off
- An artist committed to innovation and risk-taking, to be a leader in pushing the field forward
- An approach to theatre making that achieves artistic excellence while supporting the makers and artists in the process
- A leader with an inspiring long-term artistic vision, combined with a sense of responsibility to long-term organizational health
- An established track record of creating excellent live experiences as a producer, director, or theatre maker, including new plays and musicals
- Experience with or interest in storytelling in the digital space
- Executive-level understanding of revenue generation, both earned and contributed
- Experience or knowledge of navigating the challenges of growth with strategic decision making that maintains fiscal responsibility and staff health
- Well-established network oflocal and national artistic collaborators
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills exhibiting emotional intelligence and success in building strong relationships and community networks
- Meaningful leadership experience in a professional arts organization
- Ability to work variable schedules and hours as demanded by the production and events schedule of the organization
- Willingness to travel, both within California (best accomplished by possessing a driving license) as well as nationally
- Committed to living in the Los Angeles area (this is not a remote position opportunity)
Not sure you meet 100% of our qualifications? Research shows that men apply for jobs when they fulfill an average of 60% of the criteria, while others tend only to apply if they meet every requirement. We are less concerned with you meeting every qualification than we are with assembling a diverse pool of values-aligned candidates who share our vision and mission and are confident that with a strong base of skills and experience, the remainder of the job can be learned. If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply.
We are dedicated to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse workplace experiences and backgrounds. So, whether you’re returning to work after a gap in employment, simply looking to transition, or taking the next step in your career path, we will be glad to have you on our radar.
Please use your cover letter to tell us about what you hope to bring to this role.
Salary range for this position is $125,000-140,000, commensurate with experience. East West Players offers a generous benefits package including health, dental, vision, 403B retirement plan, and competitive paid time off, among other benefits.
The search for the Artistic Director(s) is being conducted on behalf of East West Players by Tom O’Connor Consulting Group (TOCG), a New York-based executive search and consulting firm specializing in the arts and culture industries. The search is being led by Cynthia Fuhrman, Vice President for Executive Search, supported by the search operations team at TOCG.
To apply, visit the online application and submit your materials. Your cover letter should include any training or experience relevant to the jobprofile that you would like to highlight, whyyou consider yourself a good fit for this opportunity, and anything else you’d like us to know about your qualifications that may not be present in your resume. Please submit a production-oriented curriculum vitae with resume and cover letter.
The priority application deadline for this search is August 9, 2023. Applications received by this date will be given priority consideration. While we will still accept and consider applications received after this date, we encourage you to apply as early as possible for the best chanceat being considered for the position. Please note that meeting the priority deadline does not guarantee an interview.