Producing Artistic Director

Playwrights’ Center

Saint Paul, MN 55114


Aug 30, 2023


Aug 01, 2023

Full time / $145,000 annually / Playwrights’ Center / Saint Paul, MN

About the Opportunity

The Playwrights’ Center (PWC), the nation’s premiere organization in supporting playwrights in ways that enable them to thrive as artists and as humans, seeks its next Producing Artistic Director (PAD). The Producing Artistic Director will form a dynamic partnership with the Managing Director (MD), Robert Chelimsky, an engaged board, and a talented staff at an intensely exciting moment as PWC prepares to move into a new home. With an authentic commitment to transparency, accessibility and inclusivity at every level of its programming and operations, the next PAD will join the company as it tackles foundational questions around its best use of resources (space, time, human capital, funding) in order to contribute to a strong local, national and international theater ecology that supports new work by diverse voices and aesthetics, reflective of a theater field that has been profoundly changed by the worldwide events of the past three years.

The Playwrights’ Center’s new home will be located in Saint Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone. Highlights of the new Playwrights’ Center building include:

• a multi-use theater
• a flexible rehearsal studio
• technology-enabled classroom spaces
• community gathering space
• adaptable writing rooms

The exponentially growing demand for Playwrights’ Center’s services and its growing impact on the field (as one of the only organizations still focused full time on supporting playwrights and investing in new work) is driving the plan to build this visionary new art center: a dynamic intersection of artmaking and learning where PWC can help shape and share the stories that will inspire generations of theatermakers, theatergoers, and Twin Cities community members.

In this cultural hub, playwrights from all backgrounds will thrive, surrounded by the talent, support, and tools they need to craft their best work. A place where emerging artists will grow, learning from established writers and rising stars of the field. A place where local communities will come together, engaging with diverse stories of the human experience. An innovative, highly accessible, and internationally renowned art center in the heart of the Twin Cities.

The next Producing Artistic Director will arrive at a time when they can be an active participant in planning building use and creating welcoming space within the design of the new building, centering choices on organizational values and the needs of the art, and with thoughtful focus on how the public will engage with the spaces.

To complete the construction of its new home, Playwrights’ Center is in the midst of a campaign to raise - $19 million, of which over $13.5 million has been secured, including $9 million in public investment.

About The Playwrights’ Center

Founded in 1971 by five writers seeking artistic and professional support, the Playwrights’ Center today serves more playwrights in more ways than any other organization in the country.

One of the nation’s most generous and well-respected theater organizations, the Playwrights’ Center focuses on both supporting playwrights and promoting new plays to production at theaters across the country. The Center has helped launch the careers of numerous nationally recognized artists, notably Daniel Alexander Jones, Lee Blessing, Carlyle Brown, Sheila Callaghan, Karl Gadjusek, Marcus Gardley, Idris Goodwin, Sarah Gubbins, Jordan Harrison, Jeffrey Hatcher, Craig Lucas, Martyna Majok, Melanie Marnich, Qui Nguyen, Kira Obolensky, and August Wilson. Work developed through Center programs has been seen nationwide on such stages as The Guthrie, Lincoln Center Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf, The Public, Woolly Mammoth, and many others, as well as in film and television production.

The Playwrights’ Center’s annual operating budget is $2.75 million; PWC’s human capital includes 12 full-time employees (with four reporting directly to the PAD) and 22 board members. More information about Playwrights’ Center can be found on our website. (

From its homebase in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, PWC serves 2,500+ playwrights and theatermakers across the United States and internationally, representing a vast array of identities, experience levels, aesthetics, and relationships to the professional theater field.

Playwrights’ Center sustains, develops, and advocates for playwrights and their work to realize their full artistic potential.

Through the practice of inclusive theater-making, Playwrights’ Center fosters engagement towards an equitable, empathetic, and boundlessly imaginative world.

Centering Artists
We believe in the crucial role that playwrights and theatermakers play in witnessing the past, illuminating the present, and dreaming us forward. Our work is grounded in the needs, desires, and sustainability of the artists we support, prioritizing long-term artistic relationships.

We recognize that playwriting processes are as diverse as the human beings pursuing them. We evolve our perspectives, practices, resources, and partnerships in order to stay relevant and responsive to artists’ needs.

We continually interrogate our relationship to the word Equity. We support artists across all spectrums, with an emphasis on underrepresented and under-supported voices. We aim to uproot systemic inequities that inhibit creativity and focus on building new systems that center meaningful financial compensation. We understand this work to be intersectional and long-term, grounded in relationships and evolving anti-racist practices.

Inclusivity + Accessibility
We proactively engage and welcome people of all abilities, ages, cultures, ethnicities, genders, incomes, races, religions, and sexual orientations. We intentionally engage artists locally, nationally, and internationally, working across a multitude of processes and aesthetics.

We fight for a theater field in which playwrights and theatermakers not only survive but thrive. We are committed to modeling how institutions can authentically support the art of storytelling and connect artists’ work to audiences around the globe.


Job Description

The Producing Artistic Director serves as the co-executive leader of Playwrights’ Center, in partnership with the Managing Director, both reporting to the Board of Directors. Among the responsibilities of the Producing Artistic Director:

Key responsibilities include:

Artistic Curation and Program Support
• Center PWC programming on the company’s articulated mission, vision, and values
• Be available to playwrights and staff to maintain deep connections to the realities of their work and needs
• Co-lead the conversation with the MD on the operational plans for the PWC’s new home through the lens of serving the art, the artists, and the community
• Engage nationally in the work of exploring solutions to the current fieldwide crisis, with a focus on how the crisis impacts playwrights and the future of new work
• Ensure the quality and viability of ongoing and new artistic programs and services
• Work with staff and artists in evaluating program activities on an ongoing and annual basis and make recommendations for adjustments when necessary
• Represent the organization’s membership and programs to theater stakeholders (artistic directors, producers, etc.) both locally and nationally
• Cultivate established and new international outreach opportunities for PWC, and promote cultural exchange of plays and playwrights among an ever greater diversity of artists
• Engage playwright members in the evaluation and development of existing and new program initiatives

Organizational Leadership & Culture
• Invest in the collaborative leadership model at PWC to forge a successful partnership with the MD
• Supervise and manage the artistic, membership, partnership, and engagement teams and functions
• With the MD, ensure that the stated values of the organization are guiding principles for daily operations, with a keen focus on the care and well-being of staff, artists, and community members who engage with PWC programming
• In collaboration with the MD and Board of Directors, articulate the strategic opportunities and goals of the company and craft the roadmap for the next era of PWC, with a special focus on the opportunities offered by the new location of and spaces in the new building
• In partnership with the MD, maintain productive communications among the staff, leadership, and Board for a culture of transparency and collaboration around important company functions and issues
• Engage the board of directors in appropriate opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of the reach and impacts of PWC programs, to aid them in effective ambassadorship for the company

Finance, External Affairs & Resource Development
• Work with the Managing Director to develop and implement PWC financial strategy including, but not limited to, annual budgeting and investment in long-term capital projects
• Actively participate in strategy development and responsibility for activating annual fundraising in collaboration with the Board and Managing Director, including the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of individual and institutional donors
• Actively participate in leadership for the ongoing capital campaign completion, successfully inspiring donors with excitement for the vision for the new space and the growth of impact of PWC on the field
• Partner with the Managing Director on long-term organizational planning efforts and ensure the active participation of the Board of directors, playwright membership, and staff. Ensure that all planning reflects PWC’s mission and values.
• Champion PWC’s vision and mission at public events and industry gatherings, locally and nationally
• In support of the move to the new building, actively participate in the company’s ongoing brand evolution and communications work, providing artistic clarity and direction to the staff and Board
• Actively participate in the Twin Cities arts community as a key artistic leader
• Represent PWC at the national level as an advocate for artists and for the organizations that support them, bringing PWC’s values to the national conversation


Desired skills and experience:
• A passion for the Playwrights’ Center’s mission and the positive impact it has on those it serves; a deep respect for, and commitment to, writers and the complexities of the writing process
• Meaningful experience as a nonprofit arts leader; strong management skills with a human-centric focus
• A deep understanding of new play development and artistic resource development, and the complex challenges playwrights face in our changing theater culture
• A track record of effective collaboration with staffs, boards, and community members; able to successfully lead while sharing authority and responsibility
• A point of view, philosophy, and practical experience with authentic community engagement models
• A long term view of balancing artistic and programming goals with organizational capacity and financial feasibility; experience engaging with strategic road mapping with a team
• Comfort with, and enthusiasm for, engagement with prospective donors, board members, and others whose artistic, financial, or civic support is essential to PWC’s success
• Experience with, or knowledge of, innovative ways to use physical spaces to better serve artists and community
• An inquisitive approach to tackling challenges, with an inherent flexibility and adaptability to take advantage of opportunities, or avoid pitfalls, in a rapidly-changing environment
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. Yet women and other people who are systematically marginalized tend only to apply if they meet every requirement. 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.


Annual salary of $145,000.

Benefits package includes comprehensive health inclusive of medical, dental, and vision; retirement package; generous time off policy including vacation, personal time and sick leave.

The Playwrights’ Center is an “in person” organization, with a focus on being in community with each other at our spaces, while still providing flexibility for some work from home opportunities in support of healthy work/life balance practices.

Application Instructions

The search for the Producing Artistic Director is being conducted on behalf of the Board of Directors of Playwrights’ Center by the Tom O’Connor Consulting Group. Cynthia Fuhrman, Vice President/Executive Search, is leading the search process, reporting to a board-appointed search committee.

Please use your cover letter to tell us about what you hope to bring to this role, and how your background and experience responds to the desired skills and qualities.

The priority application deadline for this search is August 30, 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 chance at being considered for the position. Please note that meeting the priority deadline does not guarantee an interview.

To apply, visit the online application ( and submit your materials. Your cover letter should include relevant experience, including any direct experience you’ve had with similar roles and institutions. No phone calls, please.