Director of Production- Guthrie Theater
Arts Consulting Group
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Founded in 1963, the Guthrie Theater (Guthrie) is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights, and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. Under the artistic leadership of Joseph Haj, the Guthrie produces a mix of classic and contemporary plays on three stages and continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. What began as a summer season of four productions supported by a minimal staff is now a complex organization that serves nearly 350,000 patrons and the Twin Cities community year-round.
The Guthrie Theater’s mission is to engage exceptional theater artists in the exploration of both classic and contemporary plays connecting the community to one another and to the world. Through its extraordinary artists, staff, and facility, the Guthrie is committed to the people of Minnesota, and from its place, rooted deeply in the Twin Cities, influences the field as a twenty-first century arts organization. The Guthrie strives to create transformative theater experiences that ignite the imagination, stir the heart, open the mind, and build community through the illumination of common humanity. Every year more than 500 people, both on stage and off, help ensure the Guthrie’s success in creating and supporting the highest level of theater. As an organization, the Guthrie is committed to the values of Artistic Excellence, Community, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Fiscal Responsibility.
Described as “a twenty-first century dream factory” by Time Magazine, the Guthrie’s building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and is renowned as an architectural marvel. Open to the public year-round, the Guthrie houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms, full-service restaurants, and dramatic public lobbies. The 1,100-seat Wurtele Thrust Stage was designed to reach out into the audience and place patrons at the center of the action. Actors can enter and exit from backstage, through the audience, or via an intricate collection of trap doors and elevators. The 700-seat McGuire Proscenium Stage complements the staging and design possibilities of the Thrust. The 199-seat Dowling Studio is a well-equipped flexible, black box space ideal for presenting new works and hosting innovative theater companies from the Twin Cities and beyond.
The Guthrie’s Community Engagement program builds mutually beneficial relationships with diverse groups across the Twin Cities. By investing in local partners and collaborating with them to create relevant programs and events, the Guthrie strives to bring the community and the theater together both on and off the stage. The Guthrie collaborates with external community advisors including the Native Advisory Council, a group of seven Minnesota-based Native artists, which meets regularly to advise the Guthrie on a variety of projects, initiatives, and philosophical questions as they work to be in better relationship with the people whose land the theater occupies and to help the theater grow into an organization that supports the visibility and access of Native people. Upcoming work in community artmaking includes offering free classes and fellowships for emerging Native artists and community trainings about decolonizing/indigenizing professional spaces and processes.
The Guthrie partners with institutions of higher education to offer professional training to the next generation of theater makers and offers learning opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Education programs include Student Matinees, which were attended by over 30,000 students from 215 schools in the full pre-pandemic 2018-19 season, Classes and Workshops for Adults, Educator Workshops, and the Guthrie Experience, a professional training program for M.F.A. actors designed to cultivate future leaders of the American Theater. The seven-week summer intensive includes voice, movement and acting intensives, professional mentorship, cultural immersion in the vibrant Twin Cities theater scene, and an opportunity to develop a bold, new work in the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio.
The Guthrie Theater has asserted its commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization and maintains a working list of anti-racism policies and actions on their website. Areas of focus include Artistic; Audience, Patrons, and Front of House; Board Miand Governance; Production, Development; Budgets; Hiring and Retention; Community Engagement and Education; Marketing; Facilities; and the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program. The staff and board regularly participate in mandatory anti-racism training.
The Guthrie Theater is governed by a 56-member board of directors, led by President John Junek. Joseph Haj has served as Artistic Director since 2015. For the fiscal year ending August 31, 2019, The Guthrie Theater reported revenue of $27.5 million, with approximately $9.9 million from contributions and grants and $15.7 million from program services. Total expenses were $27.5 million. Due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, the fiscal year ending August 31, 2021, had total revenues of $15.1 million, with approximately $15 million from contributions and grants. Total expenses were $12.3 million. The Guthrie Theater’s current investment portfolio stands at approximately $69.2 million.
Situated on the traditional land of the Dakota People, the Guthrie Theater is located in the historic Mill District along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, the largest city in Minnesota. Combined with neighboring state capitol Saint Paul, the metro area is known as Minneapolis-Saint Paul, or the Twin Cities, and is home to an increasingly diverse population of approximately 3.2 million residents. The Guthrie honors with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations, including the Ojibwe and other Indigenous nations.
Highly regarded for its quality of life, economic vibrancy, and cultural ecosystem, the cost of living in the Twin Cities is just above the national average. Higher education institutions abound with almost 50 colleges and universities within 50 miles.
The Guthrie is a leader within the Twin Cities’ robust theater scene, which includes acclaimed companies of all sizes, including Penumbra Theatre, Jungle Theatre, Playwrights Center, Mixed Blood, Pillsbury House, Theatre Latte Da, Turtle Theatre Collective, Theatre Mu, Teatro Del Pueblo, and dozens more. The cities’ renowned arts and culture organizations include the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Weisman Art Museum, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and myriad museums, choirs, dance troupes, and galleries.
The Twin Cities’ climate is typical of the upper Midwest with four distinct seasons. Winters are cold, with an average of 52 inches of snow per year, yet year-round recreation and leisure activities are plentiful. Minneapolis offers a large variety of parks, great food, festivals, and more.
Known as the “Land of 10,000 lakes” and bordering Lake Superior, the largest lake in North America, Minnesota contains national parks, beaches, waterfalls, and countless hiking trails. Less than 25 miles away is Afton Alps, one of 18 ski areas in Minnesota with 300 skiable acres, 50 trails, 18 lifts, and four terrain parks. Professional sports are popular in the Twin Cities, which is home to the National Hockey League Minnesota Wild, Major League Soccer Minnesota United FC, Major League Baseball Twins, National Basketball Association Timberwolves, Women’s National Basketball Association Lynx, and National Football League Vikings.
Sources: minneapolis.org; census.gov; visit-twincities.com; exploreminnesota.com; open990.org; guthrietheater.org
Reporting to the Artistic Director, the Director of Production serves on the Guthrie’s senior management team and oversees all production department operations. This position directly provides supervision and oversight of the following positions: Technical Director, Head of Props, Costume Director, Head of Sound, Head of Lighting and Projection, Production Manager, and Assistant Production Manager. As a senior team member, the Director of Production works collaboratively with the board and other organizational leaders to determine and optimize strategy and direction for the theater. The Director of Production is responsible for providing overall strategic leadership in the Production department and facilitating the production process, including long-range and season planning and scheduling; budgeting and allocating resources; contracting employees and designers; monitoring progress of all production elements; and maintaining high standards for all productions. All employees are expected to center, model and champion the Guthrie’s core values of Artistic Excellence; Community; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Fiscal Responsibility.
Role and Responsibilities
Oversee the execution of all production requirements to support the Artistic Director’s vision.
Ensure that the resources and support available to production departments are sufficient to achieve the artistic goals of the theater.
Create season performance schedule models in conjunction with other departments.
Establish, communicate, and manage the production schedule; coordinate rehearsals, strikes, concerts, and other events on stage. Consult with all relevant stakeholders.
Facilitate timely communication among all departments, including regular consultation with the Artistic Director and department heads.
Ensure creative teams receive all relevant production information, including design due dates, allocated resources and production schedules, in a timely manner.
Negotiate and coordinate with directors of individual plays their production needs within established budget parameters.
Creative Team Communication
Facilitate timely communication and, in collaboration with the Production Manager, ensure regular design and production meetings are scheduled amongst directors, designers, and production department heads as needed.
Ensure designs are produced while assessing resources, staffing, and scheduling constraints. Work collaboratively with all stakeholders.
Foster positive labor relations and ensure compliance with collective bargaining agreements. Participate in negotiations with IATSE contracts. Ensure that the Theater is in compliance with national collective bargaining agreements (USA, Equity).
Operations and Administration
Create, develop, maintain, and track a variety of complex budgets that contribute to the fiscal health of the theater. Act as a key participant in the season planning process.
Develop and maintain annual production budgets. Oversee all production-related expenditures and establish methods of maintaining budget control.
In collaboration with the senior management team, assist in strategic projects and analysis.
Participate in strategic projects and planning efforts.
Attend full board and executive committee meetings and ad hoc board committees as requested.
Foster and support safety management efforts and collaborate with the Safety Committee.
Coordinate production facilities improvements and capital project management.
Develop and monitor, with production department heads, the planned maintenance program and equipment expenditures for the production departments and spaces.
Ensure the safety and efficiency of theater spaces in collaboration with the Guthrie’s Health, Safety and Security Manager.
Complete other duties as assigned.
Leadership and Supervision
Lead, manage, and supervise Production Department Heads.
Actively participate in team building, fostering a work environment that centers the Guthrie’s core values of Artistic Excellence; Community; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and Fiscal Responsibility.
Using the organizational monthly check-in form, complete monthly check-ins with all direct reports.
Hire staff members to ensure quality work.
Run production department head meetings to communicate pertinent information to employees.
Coach and develop staff members by monitoring employee productivity and providing constructive feedback; facilitating conflict resolution among employees; ensuring adherence to legal and organizational policies and procedures and undertaking disciplinary actions if the need arises; and completing annual performance evaluations.
Maintain and approve direct report timesheets, personal time off requests, and other personnel records.
Serve as a member of the senior management team and as a conduit for information between senior management and Guthrie staff.
In collaboration with key stakeholders, establish and execute a comprehensive strategic plan that will support the operating and capital needs of the theater.
Serve as a representative of the Guthrie Theater; take an active role in the community and cultivate key relationships and associations with centers of influence within the city, state, and region.
Contribute to long-range and season planning for the Guthrie Theater production areas.
Establish positive relationships with board members and donors.
Develop and refine the long-range operating budget and long-range staffing plans.
Establish positive relationships with board members and donors.
Traits and Characteristics
The Director of Production will be a compassionate and approachable leader with the ability to identify and oversee resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results. This individual will be a transparent, emotionally intelligent leader with professional maturity as measured by the ability and willingness to exercise professional courtesy and discretion at all times and maintain confidentiality as required. They will have the capacity to say what needs to be said with grace and positivity. The Director of Production 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.
Leading with humility and a sense of humor, coupled with their experience supervising, mentoring, and managing production teams, the Director of Production will have the capacity to coordinate multiple projects, conflicting priorities, and overlapping show schedules while establishing a culture of open communication and collaboration. They must be flexible and easily adapt to change. As both an internally and externally facing representative the Guthrie Theater, this person will have the capacity to skillfully communicate in writing, and at the interpersonal and group level. As a valued member of the leadership team, they will have the professional acumen and aptitude to think strategically in support of organization-wide initiatives.
The Guthrie Theater does not require a specific number of years of experience or minimum educational credentials. Qualified candidates will have prior experience serving in a production leadership capacity at a large-scale producing organization. They must be skilled in creative problem solving to bridge limited financial and material resources with production designs within budget and schedule. They must have the ability to assimilate design information in two dimensions (drawings) into three-dimensional spatial relationships. Knowledge of AEA, AFM and IATSE collective bargaining agreements and the aptitude to craft and oversee budgets is required, as is proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word) and Google Suite. The position requires flexible work hours and days reflective of the dynamic schedule of a theater.
For the safety of guests and staff, the Guthrie Theater requires employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Documentation of vaccination status must be provided if an offer of employment is made.
Compensation and Benefits
The Guthrie Theater provides a competitive compensation package with a salary range between $119,184 and $148,500 and offers a generous benefits package including employer-paid health insurance; health savings account; flexible spending account (medical and dependent care); dental and vision; life insurance and AD&D; long-term disability; short-term disability; Employee Assistance Program; a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match up to 4.5% after one year of employment; and paid time off. Transportation benefits include subsidized passes for Metro Transit buses and trains; discounted pre-tax monthly Ramp parking; discounted bike locker rental; discounted Nice Ride annual membership. Employees receive complimentary tickets to Guthrie productions; discounted tickets to all shows produced by the Guthrie, discounted tickets to some performances hosted by the Guthrie; and discounts to Guthrie classes and camps. Other employee perks include the Wellness Program; Guthrie Store discount; admission to opening night parties; affinity groups; discounted Level Five Café and Express dining; and frequent Sea Change restaurant discounts. The placed candidate, if they are not local, will be reimbursed up to $10,000 (taxable to the employee) for approved relocation expenses.