Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Boston Theatre Leader Wanted

Thanks to an anonymous commenter, I have a link to Albert Hall Associates, Inc. Albert Hall Associates is a search firm with a niche in arts institution staffing and their website includes the job description for the Artistic Director of the Huntington Theatre Company.

While most of the description is about the Huntington itself, there is some talk of the roles that prospective candidates would need to assume:

The successful candidate will recognize the opportunity that vests in
enhancing the Huntington’s relationship with Boston University, both for the organizations and the community as a whole. The potential exists to explore a number of initiatives that will benefit both a university determined to expand its role at the heart of the city and a theatre company invested in encountering and impacting on students who will ultimately become the next generation of theatre professionals and audience members.

The board is seeking candidates with vision, passion and commitment. The successful candidate must embrace the opportunity to share his/her vision with the community and be an effective representative of both the art of theater and, most particularly, the Huntington Theatre Company. The committee will consider applicants who are stage directors, producers, and/or artist/producers. Candidates must be capable and committed to developing a constructive partnership with the Board, Managing Director, and staff to plan and budget seasons that balance artistic and educational programming with available resources. Finally, the successful candidate must exhibit an ability to assume a visible leadership position throughout
the greater Boston community.

Community, as I have highlighted, is mentioned a number of time in the above sections. In one instance, the candidate must "embrace" the opportunity to share a vision with the community. In another instance, the candidate must have the ability to assume a "leadership" position throughout the community.

These are not easy positions for which to recruit as leadership is a very amorphous thing to assess. What are the general qualities one looks for?

When I am presented with a search that calls for leadership I take a little more time to make sure the client and I are clear and tracking on what leadership means to them. As far as candidates go, I always do my general assessment based on a little book that John C. Maxwell put out a number of years ago. "The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader."

I have bolded some of the qualities that appear to be emphasised, explicitly or implicitly, in the Huntington Job Description. (Yes, I have also included Mr. Maxwell's somewhat cliched taglines after the listings.)

  1. Character: Be a Piece of the Rock
  2. Charisma: The First Impression Can Seal the Deal
  3. Commitment: Separates Doers from Dreamers
  4. Communication: Without It You Travel Alone
  5. Competence: If you build it, they will come.
  6. Courage: One Person with Courage is a Majority
  7. Discernment: Put an End to Unsolved Mysteries
  8. Focus: The Sharper It Is, The Sharper You Are
  9. Generosity: You Candle Loses Nothing When it Lights Another
  10. Initiative: You Won’t Leave Home Without It
  11. Listening: To Connect With Their Hearts, Use Your Ears
  12. Passion: Take This Life and Love It
  13. Positive Attitude: If You Believe You Can, You Can
  14. Problem Solving: You Can’t Let Your Problems Be A Problem
  15. Relationships: If You Get Along, They’ll Go Along
  16. Responsibility: If You Won’t Carry the Ball, You Can’t Lead the Team
  17. Security: Competence Never Covers for Insecurity
  18. Self-Discipline: The First Person You Lead Is You
  19. Servanthood: To Get Ahead, Put Others First
  20. Teachability: To Keep Leading, Keep Learning
  21. Vision: You Can Seize Only What You Can See

Oh, and regarding yesterday's post, the job description includes the following:

Huntington Theatre Company is an EOE and encourages women and persons of color to apply.


nick said...

The “community” evoked in this job search seems at odds with the theatre’s true ambitions. In its PR description of itself, the Huntington and the Boston theatre community sounds as if it’s a suburb of the NYC theatre community.

About The Huntington.

“The Huntington has received three Tony Award nominations for productions transferred to Broadway and six Elliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Production. With last season's production of Gem of the Ocean, seven major works by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson have now been produced by the Huntington prior to their New York premieres. In 2003, the Huntington production of Frank McGuinness' Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, directed by Nicholas Martin, completed a New York run at Lincoln Center Theater where it received two Lucille Lortel Awards and a total of six nominations. In 2001, the Huntington production of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, also directed by Nicholas Martin, enjoyed an acclaimed Broadway run and garnered a Tony nomination for Kate Burton in the title role.”

Thomas Garvey said...

True, Nicholas Martin shuttles regularly between Boston and New York, and certainly many artistic decisions at the Huntington have been influenced by his New York connections (and not always for the better). However, ironically enough, the Huntington has also engaged with the local theatre community at an unprecedented level - and when one ponders the immense impact of the Calderwood Pavilion, it's not too much to say that the burgeoning Boston theatre scene is in some ways directly due to the Huntington's sponsorship. The Huntington also offers paid fellowships to a number of local playwrights every year, and has actually produced local scribes on its stages ("Sonia Flew" and the upcoming "The Atheist"). The Huntington also regularly hires local actors to rub shoulders with Broadway stars. I've had my differences with Nicholas Martin, but no one could deny that his leadership has been a godsend to Boston theatre (next to him, Brustein, Woodruff, and the ART is a distant also-ran).