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POSITION PROFILE: ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, THEATER MU
MISSION AND VALUES
Mu’s mission is to produce great performances born of arts, equity, and justice from the heart of the Asian American experience. Our primary artistic values are:
– To give voice and cultural profile to the Asian American community.
– To offer opportunities for mainstream audiences to gain insight into and empathy for Asian American culture and heritage.
– To provide professional development opportunities for emerging Asian American artists.
– To promote awareness of and progressive action on issues of social justice and gender equality.
– To move, provoke, and challenge our audiences to understand, embrace, and celebrate diversity.
HISTORY AND PROGRAMMING
In the 26 years since Theater Mu was founded by playwright and taiko artist Rick Shiomi, Mu has become a leader in Asian American arts. Mu provides Minnesota with celebrated theater by Asian American artists, and is known nationally for its vibrancy and excellence. Focused on giving the diverse Asian American community a unifying voice, Mu delivers programs that illuminate lives and amplifies unheard voices through the power of art.
Theater Mu has presented 53 world premieres and 29 commissions over its 26-year history. Mainstage shows consistently land on critics’ “Best Of” lists; commissioned and/or developed playwrights have gone on to productions around the country; and Mu actors consistently work with major local and regional companies.
Mu’s productions embody the heart of its mission. Thoughtfully selected and carefully created to engage, educate, and challenge, plays range from commissioned works and world premieres to classic plays and musicals, often in partnership with other theater companies. Each production includes talkbacks to deepen audience understanding of the work.
The 17/18 season premiered Mu’s experimental Pay As You Are pricing. Mu strives to voice the stories of the Asian American community, and in order to bring performances to those communities whose stories they tell, Mu is committed to make them as accessible as possible. Pay As You Are pricing asks those who routinely pay $35-$40 for theater tickets to choose to pay that; it is the actual fair market value of the ticket. If an audience member needs to pay less, they can choose to pay less – as little as $5 per ticket. This approach has proven successful; the audience has diversified across all demographics while the average ticket price has risen.
Mu provides a growing roster of talented Asian American artists with opportunities to develop their work – playwrights, actors, directors, and musicians have trained in Mu’s programs. Mu’s New Eyes Festival and Mu Training Institute give unique, culturally specific, in-depth training for AA artists.
Mu’s community engagement work has three branches – community performances; workshops/residencies; and relationships to the community through Community Partners.
Mu presents theater performances for up to 50 organizations and community groups each year. This past year, over 1500 people experienced Mu in libraries, universities, parks, public schools, offices, and more through theater projects and forums featuring Mu artists and leaders. We are currently in the process of developing a new theater outreach program, featuring short plays, trainings, and workshops focused around the Asian American experience.
Mu offers classes, workshops and residencies in theater all over the greater Twin Cities. The Mu Links program is built to bridge audiences to each of our theater productions; Mu Stories provides an immersive theater experience, with students writing and acting their own stories; and we are building new programming to introduce students of all ages to Asian American stories through theater. Last year, through a grant from the 3M Foundation, we have been able to develop a new system for developing and deepening our relationships with community groups, schools, and affinity groups.
Finally, through relationships with 27 community partners, Mu is an organization known to be involved in conversations on issues surrounding the Asian American experience and how those issues are seen and discussed in the world around us. By providing a platform for the community to respond and engage, Mu amplifies the voices of an often invisible population.
The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the 14th largest metropolitan area in the country, are known as one of the most livable and literate communities in the country. The metropolitan area is distinguished by its nationally renowned park system with hundreds of miles of trails, its abundant lakes and creeks, and its vibrant cultural scene. The Twin Cities also are home to 19 Fortune 500 companies, including Target, Best Buy, Cargill, Medtronic, and United Health Group, and numerous professional sports teams.
The Twin Cities is second only to New York City in terms of live theater per capita and is the third-largest theater market in the U.S. after New York City and Chicago. Theater companies in the area include the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, Pangea World Theater, Teatro del Pueblo, New Native Theater, Theater Latté Da, Ten Thousand Things, Park Square Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, and numerous others.
The Twin Cities are also home to two major orchestras—the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra – and major museums, including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Weisman Museum. The area also has a thriving dance community and numerous Broadway touring theaters, including the State, Orpheum and Pantages Theaters in Minneapolis and the Ordway in St. Paul.
The Twin Cities boast an abundance of distinctive, charming, and diverse neighborhoods, including the second-largest Hmong population in the nation. In comparison to other cities with robust theater scenes, the Twin Cities proves to be one of the most affordable places to live. Theater Mu’s offices are located between Minneapolis and St. Paul, with productions located in various theaters in both cities.
The Artistic Director for Theater Mu reports to the Board of Directors and is a collaborative partner with the Managing Director. The Artistic Director’s primary responsibility is for the development and implementation of artistic vision, community connection and integration, and to act as the public face of Theater Mu, both locally and nationally.
- Choose productions and outreach programming that consistently honor Mu’s mission, values, and community. Work with this community, including Mu Board and staff, in updating and clarifying those values as necessary.
- Promote and observe, both internally and externally, Mu’s mission, values, vision, and goals.
- Commit to the ongoing development of Asian American theater artists.
- Direct plays in Mu’s seasons, as appropriate.
- Develop and maintain relationships with local and national artistic partners.
- Develop and implement production budgets, in partnership with the Managing Director and the Board of Directors.
- Participate in communication for marketing and development, in partnership with Mu staff.
- Explore and experiment with strategies meant to grow and diversify audiences, as well as to better serve Mu’s key Asian American community.
- Act as a deeply committed leader to Mu staff and associates, with focus on creating a culture of transparency, collaboration, respect, and acceptance.
- In partnership with the Managing and Development Directors, play a key role in the cultivation and solicitation of major donors and foundations.
- Participate as a collaborative leader in the strategic planning process, in partnership with the Managing Director and the Board of Directors.
- Know and engage with office and programmatic staff and artists. Participate in staff meetings and actively participate in planning and implementation of community engagement and outreach programming.
- Assist the Managing Director with financial oversight, as necessary.
- Commit to being part of the Twin Cities community (if not already), both as a leader and a participant.
- Serve as an active member of the Twin Cities Theaters of Color Coalition, advocating for Mu in this capacity.
- Serve as the primary liaison between Theater Mu and the local Asian American community, developing and accessing partnerships to both deeply serve the community and to grow Mu’s influence.
A qualified candidate will have a depth of understanding of the Asian American experience; a knowledge of or willingness to learn about the unique history and experience of Asian Americans in Minnesota; recognition (if not full knowledge) of the particular challenges of a culturally-specific theater; and the ability and desire to clearly communicate on issues of social justice.
- A proven leader, though not necessarily in a top leadership position.
- Demonstrated capacity to create an artistic vision that clearly supports the mission and value of Theater Mu and its community.
- Demonstrated success directing and/or producing artistically excellent theater.
- Experience with leading teams and creating a respectful team culture.
- A clear comfort level in interacting with donors and potential donors and the ability to express artistic intention in writing and public forums.
- Experience with creating and working within budgets and organizational systems.
- Ability and desire to engage with the artistic, Asian American, and leadership communities in the Twin Cities and nationally.
- Excellent communication skills that inspire and motivate others.
- A desire to develop and nurture professional relationships within the community that will benefit Mu and Mu’s community.
Personal Qualities and Values
- A strong commitment to representing Theater Mu with artistic and personal integrity.
- A deep commitment to the Asian American community, with particular attention to the unique experiences of Asian American communities in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.
- A commitment to developing local Asian American artists.
- A commitment to expanding the Asian American theater-going audience in the Twin Cities region.
- Passion for theater and its power for change.
- A commitment to artistic excellence.
- The ability to work effectively both as a leader and as a member of a collaborative team.
- A leadership approach that is based on transparency, communication, kindness, and acceptance, coupled with a desire to support an organizational culture based on these qualities.
- Strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit.
- Sense of humor and ability to maintain enthusiasm even in the face of setbacks.
Hours: Full-time exempt position, requiring evening and weekend work in addition to weekdays
Benefits: Current benefit package includes health and dental insurance (100% of employee premium); 25 PTO days and paid holidays.
Deadline to apply: March 1, 2019
Interviews: March-April 2019
Anticipated start date: Summer 2019
Email cover letter, outlining your interest and qualifications for this position, and a résumé (both in PDF format) to firstname.lastname@example.org.