ATC Artistic Director

ATC Artistic Director


Over four decades ago, quality professional theatre for the people of Arizona was just a dream. Today, ATC is recognized as the State Theatre of Arizona, serving a statewide audience in Tucson, Phoenix and through its touring educational programs in smaller communities across the state.  

Founded in Tucson in 1967 as the Arizona Civic Theatre, ATC achieved professional status in 1972, when it began hiring Actors’ Equity performers on a modified League of Resident Theaters (LORT) contract. The Arizona Civic Theatre began presenting a portion of its season in Phoenix in 1978, and a year later the name was changed to the Arizona Theatre Company.

As the professional resident theatre of Arizona, ATC has been performing full seasons in both Phoenix and Tucson since 1983, and now has a yearly combined audience of more than 100,000. ATC has been cited as a national model for professional performing arts institutions in consideration of how it has managed and produced full performance seasons in two cities and how it has built audience support in both communities.

ATC now attracts theatre professionals from throughout the country. Most visible are the actors, who can be seen not only in ATC performances but also on television, in films, and on the stages of Broadway and other regional theatres.

ATC is also renowned for the quality of its productions’ technical elements. The scene and properties shop, and the costume department build virtually all the production elements used in ATC productions with a unique guiding directive that everything is designed to be adaptable to different stage dimensions, and built for easy and fast load out, transportation and subsequent load in. Behind the scenes, the ATC operation is kept moving by an administrative staff of box office, accounting, fundraising, marketing and management specialists.

In over five decades, ATC has produced more than 250 plays and musicals, from the classics of Shakespeare, Shaw and Moliere to the works of contemporary writers such as Shepard, Stoppard, Wilson and Fugard. ATC has also committed itself to the development and presentation of new works, both on the main stage and through special programs. This wide-ranging repertoire presents an exciting challenge to all departments at ATC – a challenge that is consistently met through the high standards that have come to be expected of the company.

ATC is actively involved in efforts to involve both its communities, and recently has increased its commitment with the creation of new community engagement initiatives such as the Arizona Artists Initiative, community partnerships, cross disciplinary collaborations with other arts organizations and others in the works. The elevation of community engagement in the values of the organization has had an immediate impact in increasing community awareness, participation and sense of ownership amongst its stakeholders.  ATC also continues its educational and outreach programs in its various communities in an effort to increase public awareness of ATC and cultivate current and future audience interest and support. ATC performs in Tucson’s historic Temple of Music and Art and at the state-of-the-art Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix.

The Mission

ATC’s mission is, “to create professional theatre that continually strives to reach new levels of artistic excellence; that resonates locally, in the state of Arizona, and throughout the nation.”

For nearly fifty years, ATC has maintained its singular mission to serve Arizonans and others by providing a professional theatre experience of the highest caliber. ATC’s next Artistic Director will be an individual who shares this deep commitment to artistic excellence, community engagement and service to the company’s broad reaching constituency.  S/he will also be an experienced leader who is singularly focused on strengthening the company’s resources and programming in service of that mission.

The Opportunity

The Arizona Theatre Company offers an exceptional artistic and organizational leader the opportunity to work in partnership with Managing Director Billy Russo, and in concert with a committed board and staff in developing a new operating model for ATC that continues to advance its artistic and educational agendas while achieving long-term financial stability and sustainability.

In spite of ATC’s many accomplishments over five decades, ample opportunities remain for new leadership to shape ATC’s next era of service. ATC has suffered from being undercapitalized for a considerable length of time.   In FY 2017 ATC embarked on a concentrated strategy for financial recovery and through a commitment to prioritizing resources to its main programmatic activities (6 Productions a year playing in Tucson and Phoenix) and a responsible increase in production costs coupled with increased earned income and increased stakeholder support, ATC was able to retire over $1m of its accumulated deficit and is expecting to retire the entirety of that deficit by 2021.  ATC’s board is now seeking an adventurous and staunch professional leader who will embrace the challenge of maintaining artistic excellence while working with the board, staff and community to develop and employ strategies to reverse the historic trend of deficit funding.

The theatre’s next Artistic Director will form a truly collaborative partnership with the Managing Director to guide the larger vision of all activity that serves its statewide audiences while maintaining a dynamic environment in keeping with ATC’s mission. S/he will oversee the implementation of ATC’s mission through establishing and/or maintaining relationships with past, current and future artists, donors and audiences, and planning and implementing programming that serves the broad interests of its statewide stakeholders.

Qualities and Qualifications

The Search Committee is focused on identifying an accomplished artistic leader whose organizational leadership skills have been in evidence over a significant period of time.  To that end, ATC is seeking an Artistic Director who has:

  • Demonstrated leadership skills and the ability to guide the larger vision of activity in Tucson, Phoenix and throughout communities across the state;
  • The ability and commitment to establish a collaborative partnership with the Managing Director in order to provide unified organizational leadership and direction;
  • Demonstrated experience cultivating donors;
  • The collaborative skills and desire to successfully work with board, staff and key stakeholders to secure ATC’s long-term artistic and financial health;
  • Extensive experience working to establish sound financial outcomes while continuing to program dynamic work on stage;
  • A passion for advancing diversity throughout the organization and for alleviating barriers for those who might not otherwise be able to regularly access theatre;
  • A dynamic public presence in both Tucson and Phoenix that will enable her/him to function as a compelling public spokesperson who inspires growing support of ATC’s mission and goals;
  • A commitment to the highest levels of artistic excellence;
  • A passion and commitment to engage ATC’s constituents by producing work that reflects and is relevant to the communities it serves;
  • An existing network of distinguished artists and collaborators;
  • The ability to consistently analyze the theatre’s operational status in order to develop strategies in support of continuous organizational success and sustainability;
  • Demonstrated the ability to motivate staff and form an effective team that is committed to a collaborative approach to both organizational and artistic initiatives;
  • Demonstrated experience as an administrative leader managing staff and visiting artists, including experience and/or training in conflict resolution and other human relations issues;
  • The capability and commitment to take a leadership role in long-term strategic planning, major donor cultivation and solicitation and, board development;
  • The interest to develop a clear understanding of ATC’s relationship to the community and a passion to continuously strengthen that relationship over time;
  • Strong skills as a community leader with the demonstrated ability to create a “sense of community” within and outside the theatre;
  • A desire to participate in all aspects of institutional advancement, including active participation in fund raising strategies and solicitations;

A commitment to balance artistic initiatives and risks with responsible fiscal management while maintaining the centrality of ATC’s mission, vision and core values.

Core Responsibilities

Among other responsibilities that may be assigned by the board as appropriate, the successful candidate will:

  • Set and supervise ATC’s artistic direction and overall aesthetic within an annual budget established with the Managing Director and approved by the Board;
  • Define annual season planning assumptions and lead the planning process with principal responsibility for artistic programming;
  • In conjunction with the Managing Director, develop annual budgets with direct responsibility for the determination of artistic and programmatic functional expenses;
  • Actively engage in ongoing long-range planning processes with initial emphasis on refining ATC’s operating model to be financially sustainable over the long-term;
  • Participate in fundraising activities, including the cultivation and stewardship of major donors;
  • Select and supervise artistic personnel, both staff and visiting artists;
  • Direct plays as appropriate, the number of which will be determined season-by-season.
  • Partner successfully with the Managing Director to provide unified executive leadership;
  • Serve as a principal spokesperson throughout the profession and the communities of Phoenix and Tucson at large;
  • Collaborate/assist in developing annual fundraising goals and overall marketing strategies;
  • Attract/inspire financial and community support for the mission;
  • Develop and maintain programs to increase audience growth, diversity and engagement;
  • Participate in board development and recruitment activities;
  • Nurture and refine the long-term artistic vision for the organization that is financially viable and energizes the staff, board, artists and audiences.

The Board is seeking candidates with vision, passion and commitment. The committee will look for evidence of professional relationships with a broad and diverse network of established and emerging artists and the ability to attract and retain talented individuals to serve ATC’s mission and future goals.

The successful candidate will embrace the opportunity to share her/his vision for ATC’s future and be an effective representative of both the art of theatre and most particularly, the art of the Arizona Theatre Company.

Learn more about ATC’s programs and activities at www.arizonatheatre.org.


Compensation and benefits will be commensurate with the experience of the candidate, as well as the leadership role that this position represents for the Arizona Theatre Company and within the national theatre community.

To Apply

ATC is committed to fostering a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all areas of its operation. Applicants from populations underrepresented in the theatre field are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply, send letter of interest, resume, compensation history and references electronically to:

Search Committee

Arizona Theatre Company