This job has expired

Executive Director, American Shakespeare Center

American Shakespeare Center
Virginia, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Jul 8, 2023

American Shakespeare Center - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
See the full position description at


Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Virginia’s Blackfriars Playhouse is at once intimate in scale and epic in imagination—creating vital, sophisticated, and accessible seasons built around a company of versatile actors performing in repertory all year round. We are a center for shared discovery by audiences, scholars, and artists of Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and classics old and new.

The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) began in 1988 when Jim Warren and Ralph Alan Cohen formed the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, a traveling troupe that used Shakespeare’s staging conditions to perform his plays. By 2000, we had performed in 47 states, one U.S. territory, and six foreign countries. In 2001, partnering with the City of Staunton and aided by private donors and generous help from Augusta County and the Commonwealth of Virginia, we built the world’s only re-creation of the Blackfriars, Shakespeare’s indoor playhouse. With one troupe at home and one on the road, we expanded our educational offerings and created America’s first MFA program in Shakespeare and Performance at Mary Baldwin University, a Founding Educational Partner. That same year we established an international biennial conference for scholars. In 2005 (to reflect our reach and purpose), we changed our name to the American Shakespeare Center. In 2009, to honor our achievement of turning Staunton into a world Shakespeare destination, the Commonwealth recognized us with the Governor’s Arts Award.

As of our 35th year, in 2023, we have played to approximately 2.1 million people with a grand total of 6,262 performances in 231 different productions.

ASC strives to become a company that mirrors our global audience and invites the top classical theatre makers to come craft their best work. ASC’s future is dedicated to becoming a premier classical company for the 21st century, mining the relevance of Shakespeare and early modern drama while we challenge it with the voices of the moment.


American Shakespeare Center illuminates the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, classic and new, refreshing the individual, fostering civil discourse, and creating community in the Blackfriars Playhouse and beyond.


The Executive Director is responsible for overall management and strategic direction in advancing the success and sustainability of ASC. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Trustees, supervises staff, and will play a pivotal role in ensuring ASC’s financial sustainability. The Executive Director will establish strategic priorities in collaboration with the board, company members, and staff, aligning with the needs of the diverse stakeholders that ASC serves. This individual possesses a strong passion for the arts and deep commitment to the mission of the ASC.

This position involves guiding ASC programs and services, facilitating organizational excellence, and ensuring that the ASC is a forum for artistic expression and audience engagement. This includes fostering an environment where diversity is actively encouraged and deliberately sought. The Executive Director will embody and promote anti-racist policies. The Executive Director will value the organization’s past and craft new initiatives that build on the ASC’s commitment to reinvigorate the canon with stories from underrepresented communities. They will enthusiastically represent the organization to multiple constituencies as an ambassador, advancing partnerships (educational and corporate) and deepening engagement with the many communities across the Shenandoah Valley and beyond.


Leadership and Strategy
●    Work with the Board of Trustees and key stakeholders to update and implement the strategic plan
●    Create goals and objectives that align with ASC’s mission, vision, and strategic direction
●    Collaborate with the Artistic Director to ensure company stability and artistic vision
●    Oversee all administrative functions of the ASC

Fundraising and Communications
●    Represent the ASC to the general public, donors, and key stakeholders
●    Provide oversight of fundraising strategies, soliciting major gifts, developing and implementing a capital campaign
●    Expand local revenue-generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations and ensure long-term financial sustainability
●    Deepen and refine all aspects of communications, from web presence to external relations
●    Develop community connections and use external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities for brand identity
●    Establish and maintain relationships with educational partners to fulfill the mission of the ASC

Fiscal Responsibility
●    Manage the ASC’s budget and financial resources
●    Provide fiscal accountability
●    Work with the administrative team and board to set the annual budget
●    Oversee the management of leases and other agreements

Administration and Management
●    Provide strategic leadership, support, supervision, and evaluation of staff
●    Set the hiring and onboarding process of incoming staff
●    Provide caring and creative leadership to staff and company members
●    Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory statutes
●    Support the board in identifying and recruiting diverse and qualified trustees


Community Builder
●    The ability to build relationships amongst the staff and within the community that supports the ASC

●    Passion and ability for developing and maintaining long-term relationships that will enhance the artistic, educational, and financial goals of the organization.

Time and Priority management
●    The aptitude to ascertain competing priorities, resolve difficulties and overcome obstacles, and maximize the use of time and resources to attain the desired outcomes.
●    A strong organizational style to inform key priorities

Forward Thinking
●    The foresight to champion cutting-edge ideas and concepts and foster an environment of creative thinking
●    A strong innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that responds to the artistic community’s needs


●    Bachelor's degree required
●    Master’s degree preferred
●    5-10 years of experience in nonprofit management
●    Experience in budgeting skills, organizational management, strategic planning, fundraising, donor cultivation
●    Demonstrated strong communication skills and ability to engage with diverse stakeholders
●    Strong passion for the arts


The Executive Director is a full-time, benefits eligible, salaried position. Benefits include health insurance, paid leave, as well as access to vision, dental, and life insurance.

The American Shakespeare Center is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, veteran status, national origin, or disability.

The American Shakespeare Center values and supports collaboration, inclusion, and work/life balance. Our home in Staunton, Virginia, supports these values with a livable, walkable downtown; low cost of living; diverse arts opportunities; easy access to cities like Richmond, Charlottesville, and Washington, DC; and abundant outdoor activities in the surrounding Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Learn more about ASC’s mission, vision, beliefs, and staging practices here.

For immediate consideration, send resume, 3 references, cover letter with leadership philosophy to by June 23.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert