Artistic Director

Necessary Angel Theatre Company

March 20, 2019
Job description:


POSITION: Artistic Director

TYPE: Full time, permanent
LOCATION: Toronto, ON 
REPORTS TO: Board of Directors


Necessary Angel is one of Canada’s preeminent and influential independent theatre companies. Founded in 1978, the company pioneered idea-based artist-driven theatre creation processes, influencing a generation of English-speaking companies and artists.

The company is proud to be a place where ambitious ideas are given space to grow and develop.  We are a catalyst for original work by some of Canada’s greatest theatre artists, urging forward projects that explore complex contemporary themes in unique sites and with boundary-pushing scopes. Many of its projects have been widely acclaimed and presented across the country, resulting in Governor General’s Awards for Drama, Chalmers Awards for Outstanding New Play and numerous Dora Mavor Moore Awards.

The company has had three artistic directors in it 40-year history: Richard Rose, Daniel Brooks and Jennifer Tarver.

Necessary Angel Theatre is looking for a brilliant, visionary and highly effective artistic leader to serve as its next Artistic Director.  The ideal candidate will be deeply committed and curious about the contemporary theatre ecology and be willing to take on the leadership of one of the country’s oldest independent theatre companies as means to explore, engage and expand the possibilities of theatre in Canada.

The Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre will report directly and be directly responsible to the company’s board of Directors. Day to day, in a working capacity, the position of Artistic Director is designed as a collaborative working partnership with the organization’s General Manager. This is a full-time position with a one-year evaluative term, the successful completion of which will be followed by a three-year term.

Artistic Vision

  • Invent, Develop and Articulate a compelling and cohesive artistic vision for the company, composed of new works, methods of engagement, intra- & inter-disciplinary collaborations, artist mentoring and a selection of plays for production.
  • Actively research and expand ideas about theatre and performance.
  • Engage and take a leadership position in changing our theatre ecology.
  • Study and understand the history and context of Necessary Angel and lead its growth, fostering a reputation for artistic excellence.
  • Identify and engage with compelling artists, ideas and talent. 
  • Define and direct the artistic development of projects.
  • Develop ancillary programs (lectures, events, affiliated performances) to support projects in development.


  • Working in close partnership with General Manager, the Artistic Director will perform an active and continuous role to develop projects, serving as an Executive Producer on behalf of the company.
  • Work with General Manager to devise, develop and manage sustainable budgets for projects in development.
  • Direct and lead projects to successful presentation, with specific focus on artistic excellence.
  • Research, develop, secure and nurture creative and production partnerships with intra- and inter-disciplinary partners.

Funding & Fundraising
Independent art making is profoundly dependent on public funding, patronage, donors and philanthropy. The General Manager and Artistic Director will be equally responsible for the financial sustainability of the company and its programs. As such, the Artistic Director will:

  • Actively develop, engage and nurture relationships with major gift donors, philanthropists and sponsors.
  • Collaborate with the General Manager to develop fundraising programs for smaller, recurring donors.
  • Prepare and present projects and ideas in meetings with donors.
  • • Collaborate with staff closely to research, write and deliver all major operating public art council grants.
  • Actively research possible project and initiative grants to support the development of projects.
  • Familiarize and build a working relationship with council officers, meeting and communicating with councils to ensure alignment with mandates.
  • Take a leadership role, in collaboration with the General Manager, in securing funding for projects.

A critical component of developing and directing an Artistic Vision is articulating that vision.

  • The Artistic Director will take a proactive, advocacy approach to communicate their ideas and vision to the board, stakeholder groups (such as council, donors, partners) and to the staff at the company.
  • The Artistic Director will serve as the public face of the Company, perform the role of ambassador in all areas of public engagement such as:
    • Engaging donors (corporate and individual), foundations and funding agencies (as per above);
    • Speaking at press conferences and interviews with the media and other interest groups;
    • Representing the Company with PACT and national, provincial and municipal service organizations and other outside groups.

Fundamentally the role of the Artistic Director is designed as a working collaborative partnership with the General Manager, who will otherwise be responsible for the operational direction of the Company.

  • Managing, nurturing and maintaining a strong relationship with the Board of Directors is a critical component of the Artistic Director’s Administrative goals. As such, the Artistic Director will share responsibility and collaborate with the General Manager to actively communicate with the Board about:
    • The goals, objectives and work plans for the company’s projects;
    • Proposals for future projects prior to committing to them;
    • The Artistic Director will research, write and present evaluation reports to the Board of Directors regarding how the short and long-term artistic and company goals and objectives are being met and provide production summaries within 30 days of the production’s conclusion.
  • The Artistic Director will share responsibility and collaborate with the General Manager to ensure an effective execution of the administrative goals of the company, with a specific focus of coherence with artistic vision. This will include:
    • Participating with the Board and staff in short and long-term operational planning;
    • Auditioning, interviewing and selecting all artistic personnel including, but not limited to, actors, designers, composers, musicians and stage management as appropriate;
    • Staying pro-actively informed about all administrative issues and functions of the company; providing input as needed;
    • Supporting staff in the execution of operational initiatives where appropriate.

While the Company is open to the Artistic Director working on projects outside of Necessary Angel Theatre, the AD must demonstrably prioritize the needs of Necessary Angel above these other projects. The Company will have the right of first refusal on any outside / individual project the Artistic Director chooses to be involved with, and the Board reserves the right to approve (or not approve) in advance any outside project the AD wishes to pursue. 

Artistic Vision

  • Possess an exceptional curiosity about theatre, performing arts, the broader arts ecology and contemporary cultural issues in Canada.
  • Have an extensive background developing new Canadian plays / performing arts projects.
  • Demonstrate strong directorial experience on stages of all sizes / various contexts.
  • Demonstrate strong interest in artist mentorship – identifying, nurturing and guiding new talent.
  • Able to take a leadership position in upholding the principles of equity and diversity in the Company’s work and operations, with particular focus on ethnic, cultural, social and gender equity; diversity of styles, voices and points of view; all in a manner that truly reflects the reality of life in Toronto, Canada and the world in the early 21st century.
  • Able to manifest these principles in the choice of people the Company works with and the choice of projects it undertakes.
  • Have knowledge of Canadian artists and playwrights.
  • Have knowledge of international development in the arts and connections to the international theatre community.


  • Proven track record of working with exceptional integrity.
  • Strong interest in leading staff and leading in the context of a company
  • The ability to consistently raise standards and deepen the work of staff and the company as a whole.
  • Exceptional communication skills with a strong aptitude for advocacy, negotiation and developing consensus.
  • Experience taking direct responsibility for the needs for multiple stakeholders, peers and subordinates.
  • Exceptional decision-making skills: able to analyze and act on multi-faceted information, make choices and communicate choices in an open manner. 
  • The ability to problem-solve, proactively soliciting multiple and at times opposing viewpoints and diplomatically find solutions.
  • An ability to take both responsibility and delegate.
  • A keen appreciation of and desire to work with volunteers at all levels including the Board of Directors.

Production & Operations

  • A proven track record of producing artistic initiatives and taking artistic risks in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner.
  • A proven track record of short and long-term artistic project planning.
  • Strong track record of delivering ambitious artistic projects in team settings.
  • A particular aptitude for collaboration and a desire to work in partnership with others.
  • A keen appreciation of the importance of audience development and community outreach as a core component of a project’s overall success.
  • Strong financial management skills and experience managing budgets.
  • Established ties to both National and local artistic communities and arts organizations.
  • Able to attract the best directors and actors. Able to connect easily to an existing network of distinguished artists and collaborators.
  • The professional demeanor and cultural sensitivity needed to work effectively in a diverse environment of artists, producers, creative and management teams, and volunteers.


  • A keen awareness for raising funds for projects.
  • A strong comfort with fundraising, meeting donors, performing outreach.
  • A track record of developing strong ongoing relationships with donors and funders.
  • Able to make sponsor/donor presentations, communicate project financial needs, make financial requests.
  • Aptitude for creating value for donors and sponsors.
  • An in-depth understanding of the Municipal, Provincial and Federal funding bodies for the Arts.
  • Extensive Experience writing major operational and individual project grants.


A competitive compensation package that will be commensurate with experience, including salary, benefits and vacation will be provided.

Please send your cover letter, résumé to: no later than March 20th, 2019.

Applicants to the position will be assessed on three main criteria:

  1. A compelling & conscious artistic vision
  2. A proven ability to execute vision
  3. An aptitude for donor relations / history with donors & funders

Necessary Angel is an equal-opportunity employer.
We thank applicants for their interest, however, only those advancing in the process will be contacted.