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American Blues Theater is seeking a Managing Director with demonstrated strong leadership skills, financial experience, a proven creative leader with great problem-solving abilities, and a strong passion for the arts and artists.

The Managing Director is responsible for leading and managing BLUES’ overall business, administrative, and operational functions, including financial planning and budgeting, fundraising, marketing, human resources, and board relations. The Managing Director will work alongside the Artistic Director, as the executive leadership team, in executing the company’s mission and vision.

It is expected that the Managing Director will play a visible role as a spokesperson and representative of the Theater in the greater Chicago community and will play a significant and active role in cultivating donors and increasing levels of private support for the Theater.


  • Shared Executive Leadership & Board Relations
    • Build a strong partnership with the Artistic Director; translate artistic vision into institutional strategies and operating plans commensurate with financial realities.
    • Work in close partnership with the Artistic Director and the Board in respect to on-going strategic planning, including securing a long-term theatre home for the company.
    • Work closely with the Board to oversee the fiscal integrity of the company.
  • Institutional Knowledge
    • Thoroughly understand all facets of American Blues Theater such as history, culture, programs, mission, audience, and base of financial support.
  • Finance Management
    • Lead and manage the Theater’s day-to-day operations in a fiscally responsible manner.
    • Oversee program budgets.
    • Serve as business manager and/or CFO.
  • Fundraising
    • Develop existing and new revenue streams to support the Theater’s mission.
  • Community Relations
    • Serve as ambassador and spokesperson for the Theater to a wide variety of constituencies.
    • Cultivate relationships with corporate and community organizations.
  • Employee / Non-employee Management
    • Motivate and mentor existing staff in a positive and productive working environment.
    • Manage and supervise all operational staff, including their direct reports.
    • Foster BLUES’ office culture of collaboration, transparency, teamwork, clear communication, and support.
  • Contract Management
    • Oversee all of BLUES’ union and vendor contracts, including AEA, SDC, USAA, leases, insurance agreements, rights & royalty agreements, etc.


The ideal candidate for the Managing Director position will have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Senior level management and leadership responsibility in a theater company or other complex performing arts institution, or comparable non-theatre experience coupled with a demonstrated personal commitment to theater.
  • Fundraising, financial, and business management skills, combined with an understanding of arts organizations.
  • Leading and managing staff, operations, and budgets (at or above $1,500,000) for an institution of comparable size and scope.
  • Hiring, developing, and managing personnel – ability to forge mutually respectful and effective relationships with a diverse group of personalities.
  • Collaboration with a Board of Directors.
  • Ability to work in a partnership team with the Producing Artistic Director, Artistic Director, or person in similar position.
  • Major Donor Cultivation – Experience with raising funds through major donors and other sources of revenue.
  • Marketing for the arts.
  • Effective communicator, orally and in writing.
  • Experience working with unions and contracting artistic union workers, such as artists, technicians, and artisans.

Experience: Proven successful experience in a professional nonprofit organization, with strong leadership and management experience.

Experience in the arts is preferable but at the very least a successful candidate will have a passion for theatrical storytelling and the mission of the organization.

Education: All education levels, whether formal degrees or not, will be taken into consideration.


The Managing Director reports to the Board of Directors. Potential reports include the Director of Development, Office & HR Manager, and the Marketing & Communications Consultant, as well as their direct reports and others.


Compensation is commensurate with experience and highly competitive.

Job Type: Full-time, exempt

Salary: $70,000 – $85,000 / year

Benefits offered:

  • Paid time off
  • Parental leave
  • Healthcare spending or reimbursement accounts, such as HSAs or FSAs
  • Commuting/travel assistance
  • Flexible schedules
  • Workplace perks such as food/coffee and flexible work schedules
  • Education assistance or tuition reimbursement
  • Others

Please email cover letter, resume/CV, and references (in PDF files) to by June 4th, 2021.

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