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Artistic Director

Artistic Director

  • Full Time
  • New Haven, CT
  • Applications have closed.

Website Long Wharf Theatre

“It is rare for people to be asked the question
which puts them squarely in front of themselves.”

– Arthur Miller, The Crucible (1953)

The Organization

Long Wharf Theatre began in 1965 in the most intriguing of spacesa vacant warehouse and food shipping terminal facing the New Haven Harborwith the opening of Arthur Miller’s bold political play The Crucible, which ran for two weeks. Since then, Long Wharf Theatre has been a unique home for theatre artists from across the country and around the world, hosting some of the biggest names and talents in the field at various stages of their careers. As a result, Long Wharf Theatre has transferred more than 30 productions to Broadway or Off-Broadway, including classics like Wit (Pulitzer Prize); The Shadow Box (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award/Best Play); American Buffalo, Quartermaine’s Terms (Obie Award/Best Play); The Gin Game (Pulitzer Prize); and The Changing Room. Recent shows such as Satchmo at the WaldorfMy Name is Asher Lev; Napoli, Brooklyn; and Meteor Shower were staged and developed at Long Wharf Theatre before playing in New York.

Long Wharf Theatre currently offers a season of six plays on its two stages and has made an expanded commitment to community engagement and educational programming. Long Wharf Theatre is also an important venue for new play development. For more than 50 years, it has been a leader in American theatre, staging classic and modern plays for a contemporary audience, discovering new resonance in neglected works, and premiering new plays by new voices that—harkening to Long Wharf Theatre’s beginningboth investigate and celebrate the circumstances of our times.

Today, Long Wharf Theatre is seizing the change sweeping across American theatre, facing head-on both the provocative questions and new opportunities these times demand. Long Wharf Theatre is driven to be an exemplar in using the power of theatre to strengthen communities through its work onstage and offstage. It is committed to a culture of diversity and inclusion that inspires fellowship; sharing stories that provoke empathy, acceptance, and understanding; removing real or perceived barriers to learning and discourse; seeking renovated or new facilities that are inviting to all members of its diverse community; uncovering contemporary resonance in classic works; and nurturing new voices to help make sense of our times. In its next chapter, Long Wharf Theatre will use the power of theatre to build bridges, spur new thinking, and excite our collective imagination through performance, education, and community engagement.

“Long Wharf Theatre has been a great artistic home and has always been respectful of my vision. This play, I feel, hits close to home, and the reactions to my plays have been extremely personal. But, I think work is supposed to give us permission to get personal and feel comfort/discomfort, and I thank the Long Wharf profusely for taking this on.”  

– Dael Orlandersmith, writer and actor, Yellowman, The Blue Album, Forever

The Destination

New Haven is the cultural capital of Connecticut—the place where artists, foodies, intellectuals, and creatives meet, gather, and live. Founded in 1638 and one of the first planned cities in America, New Haven is home to Yale University, whose presence offers access to top notch medical care at Yale New Haven Hospital, renowned art museums, music, theatre, and lectures featuring internationally known speakers. Greater New Haven hosts a rich diversity of higher education institutions, including Quinnipiac University, Wesleyan University, University of New Haven, Southern Connecticut State University, Albertus Magnus College, and Gateway Community College.

A coastal city with New England charm and a distinct cosmopolitan influence, New Haven has a population of nearly 130,000 residents and is ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s “100 Best Places to Live.” New Haven is recognized as a city of innovation and prosperity with a small town feel. New Haven Green, a privately owned park and recreation area, remains a social center even today. As the birthplace of wide variety of inventions, from the Frisbee to the hamburger, it is no surprise that New Haven’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, whether in the start-ups at Science Park or the craft breweries and artisanal bakeries appearing in once-abandoned warehouses. The local economy is defined by health care and social services. There is a strong tech community and a world-renowned architecture and design sector with principals like César Pelli. Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital provide many of the area’s job opportunities, and the region attracts highly specialized physicians, researchers, and academics.

New Haven is also a city welcoming to immigrants and, as result, has seen a growing population in contrast to some other places in Connecticut and the Northeast. In fact, a recent study by FiveThirtyEight that reviewed the education level, age, and ethnic diversity of every metropolitan area in the United States concluded that, of any place in America, New Haven most accurately reflects the demographics of the country as a whole in those areas. Demographically, the city is approximately 35% black or African-American, 32% white, 27% Hispanic or Latino, 5% Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.5% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 4% of people who identify as two or more races. Its surrounding region of 860,000 residents is 65% white, 14% black or African American, 17% Hispanic or Latino, 4% Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.5% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 2% claiming two or more races. The changing face of America is personified in New Haven.


Artistry. Collaboration. Accessibility. Discourse.
Courage and Freedom of Expression. 

–  Long Wharf Theatre, Guiding Principles

 The Innovator

The Artistic Director for Long Wharf Theatre will provide leadership and propose transformative strategies that will help shape an artistic vision and, together with the Managing Director, create a sustainable operating model for the future. The Artistic Director will be creative yet open-minded and generous and willing to nurture and support younger theatre artists, whether visiting or on staff. Such a person will also have strong relationships across the theatre field that can multiply the connections and opportunities for Long Wharf Theatre. While some aspects of the role are profoundly localprograms, education, and community engagement activities will primarily respond to and impact people in Greater New Haventhe theatre’s national profile offers an opportunity to contribute to the field’s advancement. Both onstage and offstage, the Artistic Director will be expected to embrace a highly interactive and respectful tone centered on inclusion, equity, diversity, and access. The Artistic Director also is expected to be a visible member of the New Haven social and cultural community, eagerly collaborating with the development department and engaging members of the press and public. Reporting to the board of trustees in a co-equal relationship with the Managing Director, the Artistic Director will be a creative collaborator who embraces the variety of duties that come with the evolving role of theatre and theatre activities in contemporary society.

The Collaborator

The Artistic Director will lead all activities related to the creative and production aspects of a professional theatre organization, with a focus on artistic vision, community engagement, and educational empowerment based in inspirational thought and pragmatic action. These roles and responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

Dynamic Artistic Vision and Season Planning

  • Lead the artistic and production team in setting high artistic standards and a fresh aesthetic in a fun, nurturing, and respectful manner.
  • Cultivate extensive relationships with existing and emerging artists, focusing on new works, playwrights, and creative ideas for the future.
  • Initiate, develop, and ensure both a plan and a budget for each season’s roster of plays, productions, and programs, in collaboration with the Managing Director and senior leadership team.
  • Innovate and adapt programs and facilities to the changing circumstances of the New Haven region and the contemporary society in which it exists.
  • Explore strategic and collaborative partnerships by deepening and expanding production-based civic engagement opportunities, with theatre as an entry point for social issues that strengthen the community.
  • Oversee the engagement of culturally diverse and gender representative directors, designers, casts, playwrights, and supporting production teams.
  • Embrace other artistic vision and season planning challenges and opportunities as they arise.

Visible Community, Donor, and Audience Engagement

  • Serve as the public face of Long Wharf Theatre to a variety of stakeholders and actively participate in public dialogue through community events locally, regionally, and nationally.
  • Engage diverse audiences and prospective audiences in thinking, feeling, and embracing one another in a modern context.
  • Inspire donors with a strategic vision embedded in excellent communication, social skills, and highly ethical standards.
  • Explore the application of theatre in other unique social pursuits, building on and expanding from Long Wharf Theatre’s prior initiatives in health, healing, and creative aging.
  • Embody intercultural awareness, learning, growth, and participation.
  • Embrace other community, donor, and audience engagement activities, as needed.

Inspirational Thought and Pragmatic Action

  • Build an organizational structure to support the artistic vision and programs that are embedded in fiscal responsibility and accountability.
  • Forthrightly communicate with an active, committed, supportive, and generous board of trustees to help its members fulfill their roles in governance, policy, and community ambassadorship.
  • Devise concepts that build upon Long Wharf Theatre’s strengths, leverage its opportunities, and mitigate its weaknesses.
  • Embrace other inspirational thoughts and pragmatic actions with zeal.

“I was just starting out as a playwright when Long Wharf produced my play BFE. I was untried and unproven but the theatre took a chance on me. And then, a year later…again by producing Durango. Those experiences became an essential part of my theatre education. There is no program that can teach you how to be a generous collaborator, dedicated artist, or resilient playwright. You can only hope to learn these things by making theatre with other artists who are better and wiser than you.”

– Julia Cho, writer, BFEDurango, and Office Hour

 The Soft Skills

The ideal Artistic Director will be a creative thinker who is open to new ideas and opportunities as an innovator of multifaceted productions and programs. Collecting, feeling, and distilling disparate concepts, the Artistic Director will develop a path focused on the many audiences served by a leader and an organization committed to the community. The Artistic Director will be motivated by subjective viewpoints, surroundings, and experiences. Instinctive by nature, this individual will have an ability to flexibly meet the demands of a contemporary theatre organization. The Artistic Director will also be resourceful in maximizing the return on investment of time, talent, energy, and resources, centered on the mission, vision, and guiding principles of Long Wharf Theatre.

The Capabilities

Demonstrated creative experience in theatre endeavors with a record of success is required. However, there is no specific theatrical background that will receive preferential consideration. Exemplary verbal and written communication skills as well as multiple language aptitude are greatly appreciated. Residence in the New Haven area is required, as is the drive to be a cultural, artistic, and community leader. Independent engagements of a national and international nature that enhance Long Wharf Theatre’s visibility and connections are welcomed.

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”   

― Oscar Wilde

The Incentives

Competitive compensation and benefits are enhanced by the ability to make a major difference on a resilient organization in a vibrant community and throughout a dynamic industry at a unique moment in time when one can simultaneously learn from the past, live in the present, and look to the future.

The Path Forward

As part of an inclusive process, interested applicants are invited to inquire and/or submit a letter that balances artistic philosophy with accomplishments, a resume that highlights a commitment to artists and community, and a production-oriented curriculum vitae that demonstrates how an applicant’s past theatre experience has made a meaningful contribution to contemporary society. Inquiries and applications should be directed to:

Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201

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