The Cape Cod Center for the Arts, Inc., (CCCA) a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that owns and operates the historic Cape Playhouse, is searching for a full-time Artistic Director. Located in Dennis, Massachusetts, the Playhouse operates under a COST (Council of Stock Theatres) agreement with Actor’s Equity Association (AEA).

Individuals interested in being considered for the position should have a proven track record of senior management and artistic leadership at a regional theater or comparable arts organization and have an understanding of and experience working with AEA and other theatrical unions.

The Artistic Director, one of two co-equal senior leaders of the organization, reports to the CCCA Board of Trustees. The Artistic Director is charged with driving all aspects of the Playhouse’s artistic activities, which include developing the organization’s multi-year artistic calendar, contributing to the organization’s annual budgeting process, overseeing the artistic and production staff, and ensuring high quality productions that engender strong patron support. The Artistic Director must be an entrepreneurial and strategic thinker who works with CCCA business executives and Trustees to advance the overall objectives of the organization.

The Cape Playhouse, which has operated as a summer theater since its founding in 1927, plans to increase the length of its season over the next three years.

Candidates must be visionary artistic leaders as well as hands-on managers who are willing to do what it takes to move the organization’s agenda forward. Candidates must have a strong work ethic; demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills, multidisciplinary problem-solving, and personnel management capabilities; and be exceptional communicators. The CCCA is an equal opportunity employer. For a more detailed outline of qualifications and expectations, please review the full Artistic Director position description.

The CCCA anticipates a start date for the new Artistic Director of January 2022.

Process for Candidate Consideration: Interested and qualified candidates should forward a cover letter outlining qualifications and a resume including a minimum of three references, by close of business October 18, 2021, to William Harpin: capeplayhousesearch@gmail.com

Thank you for your interest in the position of Artistic Director at The Cape Playhouse.


History: Cape Cod Center for the Arts

The Cape Cod Center for the Arts, Inc., (CCCA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which owns and operates The Cape Playhouse, is seeking to fill the position of Artistic Director. The CCCA’s mission is to inspire, motivate, and engage through exceptional cultural and artistic experiences involving live theater, education, cinematic arts, and horticulture at a vital and historic arts center that honors its past while also serving as an incubator for new ideas.

Regarded as the oldest continually operating summer theater in America, The Cape Playhouse was founded in 1927 by painter and playwright Raymond Moore. In search of a permanent seasonal stage on Cape Cod, Moore purchased three-and-a-half acres in Dennis, Massachusetts, moved an abandoned 19th century meetinghouse to the site, and converted the structure into a professional theater. Since its opening, the Playhouse has attracted audiences to live professional stage productions featuring countless legends from Broadway and the silver screen, including Bette Davis, Gregory Peck, Gertrude Lawrence, Lana Turner, Humphrey Bogart, Tallulah Bankhead, Helen Hayes, Julie Harris, and Henry Fonda.

With the Playhouse’s centennial celebration on the horizon, the CCCA has developed a new business plan that will increase the Playhouse’s patron base by extending the performance season from 12-weeks to approximately 25 weeks by 2024. During that same period, the CCCA plans to expand artistic lines of business, including the introduction of a “new works” program, reinvent its education program, and renovate and restore the historic buildings and campus based on a just completed master plan.

The CCCA has a 10-member Board of Trustees and an annual pre-pandemic budget of $2.7 million. Two co-equal staff leaders—the Artistic Director and the Executive Director—are jointly charged with executing the organization’s mission. The Artistic Director is responsible for leading and managing the artistic side of the organization, with particular emphasis on ensuring artistic excellence through creative programming that results in audience growth, reputational enhancement, and financial stability.

Position Overview

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Artistic Director serves as the organization’s full-time artistic leader with overall strategic and operational responsibility for the following:

  • Conceiving, defining, developing, and executing the artistic vision of The Cape Playhouse
  • Leading and overseeing all aspects of artistic programming and production
  • Expanding the performance season by 2024 or sooner to run from mid-Spring through the year-end holidays
  • Identifying and achieving efficiencies in artistic operations while also improving production quality
  • Hiring, supervising, and evaluating the artistic and creative personnel as well as key technical personnel
  • Preparing annual artistic and production budgets for inclusion in the general organizational budget
  • Serving as the artistic spokesperson for the organization at speaking engagements, special events, and with media
  • Supporting the organization’s development activities
  • Fostering positive relations with other cultural organizations

The CCCA believes that local presence is essential in order for the Artistic Director to fulfill the duties described above, at least from spring until year end, although some flexibility is expected and may be a point of negotiation.

Artistic Leadership

Artistic Leadership

  • General Oversight: Establish the artistic vision and priorities of the organization, while supervising day-to-day artistic initiatives and overseeing all aspects of the theater’s artistic product.
  • Main Show and Children’s Programming: Select Main Show and Children’s theater productions for the CCCA. In making selections, the Artistic Director will:
    • Evaluate and consider the interests and artistic preferences of the Playhouse’s patron base as well as the Cape Cod community
    • Consider audience draw associated with important casting choices, collaborations/co-production opportunities with other theaters, cost of producing shows, and budgetary allocations—with the goal of meeting or exceeding business plan projections
    • Seek and receive input from the Executive Director and Marketing Director on business and market-specific considerations that may influence final artistic programming selections and collaboratively support their efforts to promote a successful season
    • Keep the Board of Trustees and Executive Director apprised of the status of the selection process and seek Board approval of final artistic objectives and recommended programming
  • Directing: May be required to direct at least one show each season.
  • Strategic Planning and Implementation: Participate in organizational planning activities. Conceive, recommend and implement new and innovative programming that will lead to:
    • Successful expansion of Cape Playhouse artistic offerings
    • Lengthening of the Playhouse’s season
    • Broadened base of patrons and donors
    • Building relationships within the region and local community to facilitate sourcing more company and crew locally and collaboration with local and regional theatres.
    • Creation of new works
    • Development of new sources of programming-based revenue
    • Creation and oversight of a multi-year artistic calenda


Program Direction and Management

Program Direction and Management

  • Budget Development and Oversight: Prepare the annual artistic and production expense budgets, including all expenses related to Main Show productions and children’s theater. Work with the Executive Director to prepare a consolidated budget proposal that produces a healthy bottom line for the organization based on budget goals established by the Board of Trustees and outlined in the CCCA Business Plan. Together with the Executive Director, present an annual proposed budget to the Finance Committee and then to the Board of Directors for approval. Routinely review the status of artistic and production expenses with the Finance Committee and the Board, alert the Executive Director to unanticipated budgetary variances, and recommend ways to achieve artistic and production efficiencies. Be accountable for the success of the artistic programs.
  • Union Liaison: Function as the primary liaison between The Cape Playhouse and all theatrical unions. Maintain a detailed and up-to-date understanding of the rules and regulations governing all theatrical unions and assure adherence to those terms and conditions in Cape Playhouse agreements. Attend theatrical union negotiation meetings. Work with Actors Equity Association to formulate and calculate the annual bond.
  • Hiring and Oversight: Hire and oversee work of all creative staff, including directors, choreographers, music directors, music contractor, and designers for each production; hire and oversee all production staff, apprentices, and interns; hire and supervise company management staff and manage all details, including housing placement, transportation, personal information, etc., for each production.
  • Casting: Oversee casting and attend all auditions in accordance with Actors Equity Association regulations.
  • Contracts: Negotiate, execute, and manage contracts with actors and agents, creative staff, musicians, crew, apprentices, and interns.
  • Creative and Technical Oversight: Oversee and manage creative elements for all productions. Supervise designers and approve designs for each production in conjunction with the Production Manager or Technical Director. Oversee any seasonal package rentals of sound, lighting, and technical equipment.
  • Rehearsals: Source rehearsal and audition venues in accordance with the budget and union regulations. Attend all technical and dress rehearsals and production meetings. Ensure appropriate theater representation at rehearsals in New York City, per relevant union requirements.
  • Other Programming Responsibilities: Responsible for programming, negotiating, and contracting children’s theater productions.
Internal Collaboration

Internal Collaboration

  • Marketing: Contribute to Playhouse marketing and development efforts by providing necessary information to the Marketing Director for use on The Cape Playhouse website and in marketing materials, social media posts, and advertising promoting all Playhouse programming. As the Artistic Director sets the artistic vision for the theater, s/he may review advertising, social media, marketing, logos, and promotions before they are made public to assure contractual obligations are met. The Artistic Director will contribute the artistic production material to be included in promotional, press, and development collaterals.
  • Development: Participate in fundraising activities, as appropriate and upon request. Provide support to development activities by making recommendations and engaging performers or creative staff for fundraising events.
  • Board and Committee Meetings: Routinely attend meetings of the CCCA Board of Trustees and engage with relevant Committees upon request.
External Relations

External Relations

  • Liaison with Actors and Other Theaters: Function as the primary liaison between The Cape Playhouse and actors as well as creative staff. Where appropriate, engage actors or creative personnel for special events.
  • Function as the primary liaison with other theaters’ artistic directors. Promote and maintain close relations with professional and non-professional theaters, keeping channels of communication open between The Cape Playhouse and other theaters. Explore cost-sharing arrangements with other theaters, and obtain necessary approval from the Board for such arrangements, when appropriate.
  • Patron Relations: Attend the opening performance of each show, and at other performances when possible, to meet with subscribers, patrons, and the media.
  • Responsible for the curtain speech before each performance. Attend opening night parties and other functions, as required.


The Artistic Director will be a creative and energetic leader who has shown an ability to translate artistic vision into operational reality. The successful candidate will have Broadway-caliber producing and/or directing experience, business management abilities, as well as proven leadership and relationship-management skills, including the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues, artists, Board members, and individuals in the broader community. Concrete demonstrable experience and other qualifications include:

  • Track record of effectively leading major theatrical endeavors and/or managing a regional or equivalent performing arts organization
  • Success producing and/or directing theatrical productions in regional, off-Broadway, and/or Broadway venues
  • Experience developing, managing, and implementing artistic programming that has led directly to increased ticket sales, patron support, and donor engagement
  • Excellent skills in process, people, and financial management
  • Exceptional abilities in public speaking and written communications
  • Track record developing and managing multi-year budgets, negotiating contracts, and building well-functioning teams
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness in maximizing return on investment of time, talent, energy, and finances
  • Track record of working well in a team environment, respecting the opinions of others, and effectively resolving conflict and handling difficult or sensitive issues
  • Ability to connect with a wide range of people and personalities to build lasting relationships
  • Ability to receive input from many sources and use input appropriately to advance artistic goals or improve artistic products 
  • Demonstrated success working with a board of directors or investors
  • Ability to think strategically and implement change for the well-being of the organization
  • Exemplifies a strong work ethic, stamina, and passion for theater and performing arts generally Possesses an excellent professional network in regional and Broadway theater communities

Other competencies include:

  • Personal and professional accountability: The ability to self-evaluate, take responsibility for personal actions and decisions, and accept constructive professional criticism from others.
  • Creativity: The ability to design new approaches, systems, and processes to accomplish a desired result.
  • Conflict resolution: The ability and willingness to understand and resolve differences constructively and in the best interest of the organization.
  • Trust building: The ability to earn respect through a willingness to actively listen and engage in respectful dialogue to resolve disagreements or overcome difficulties
  • Teamwork: The ability and willingness to organize, mentor, and motivate others while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among key stakeholders, including Board members, business staff, artistic/production staff, volunteers, and others.

Educational Background

  • A degree in theatre arts or dramaturgy is expected, but not essential.


To submit a cover letter with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments and resume, or for questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

William Harpin, Trustee Cape Cod Center for the Arts, Inc.