Alexander Whitehead Seeking New Artistic Director for Arts Club Theatre Company

July 11, 2017 – Theatrical, film and music organizations have been turning to executive search firms in recent months to find new leaders. The latest: Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company has enlisted Alexander Whitehead Executive Search to lead its search for a new artistic managing director. The goal is to have the role filled by September.

Bill Millerd, who helped lead the organization for more than 40 years, will step down as artistic managing director at the end of the 2017-18 season. He was instrumental in building the Arts Club into the top theatre company in western Canada, mentoring such diverse talent as Michael J. Fox, Michael Buble, Nicola Cavendish and Eric McCormack. The theater company’s executive director, Peter Cathie White, and board chair Bruce Flexman will oversee the search.

Mr. Millerd’s contract, which ends in August, has been extended until the end of February. He plans to work with his successor for about six months. “And then I think I need to get out of that person’s hair,” he said. “So I’ll be there in support and then bugger off somewhere.”

The Right Candidate

To fill the role, the organization said, it is seeking an experienced and visionary theater artist who will create and execute a vision that engages, challenges and inspires diverse audiences. That individual will be responsible for artistic programming, hiring directors, casting and technical operations. The artistic director is also expected to support the administrative operations of the organization.

The group said it wants a passionate and collaborative theater artist with experience setting and executing the artistic direction of the not-for-profit professional theater company. That person should have progressive leadership experience as an artistic director within a mid-size or large regional theater environment in Canada.

With an annual budget of $15 million and three repertory stages, Arts Club Theatre is the largest regional theater in western Canada.

Based in Vancouver, Alexander Whitehead Executive Search is a boutique consulting firm that provides advisory services to global clients in executive and senior management searches. The firm works within the industrial sector, specifically oil & gas, mining, energy, forestry, transportation, and construction, as well as the public sector, post-secondary institutions and not-for-profit organizations requiring board directors and executive leadership.

Turning to Executive Search Firms

Other performing arts organizations have been turning to executive search firms to find new leaders. Here’s a look at just a few from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

AlbertHall&Associates recruited David Ivers as the artistic director of the Arizona Theatre Company (ATC). Mr. Ivers served as artistic director at the Utah Shakespeare Festival for seven years. He helped lead a $40 million facilities expansion that included two new theatres, a new rehearsal hall, costume shop and administrative offices.

Isaacson, Miller has placed Damian Woetzel as the seventh president of The Juilliard School. For the last 32 years, Joseph Polisi has served as the organization’s president. Isaacson, Miller chairman John Isaacson led the search with vice president Sheryl Ash and associates Katie Rockman and Cortney Tunis.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) appointed Susan Lape as executive director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group. “ACG was honored to assist Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras in its search to fill this critical role within the organization,” said Jenna Deja, vice president at ACG.

Schall Executive Search recruited Mark Nerenhausen as president and CEO of the Hennepin Theatre Trust. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a non-profit organization that creates positive change through the arts by bringing together people, businesses and organizations in WeDo, the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District. 

Stamford, CT-based executive search firm Management Consultants for the Arts was selected by Music of the Baroque (MOB) in Chicago to lead its search for a new executive director. Partner David Mallette and managing director Louise Kane are leading the assignment. MOB is a modern instrument chamber orchestra.

Howe-Lewis International was recently chosen by the Sundance Institute to lead its search for a new chief advancement officer. Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film and theatre artists from the U.S. and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work.

Korn Ferry placed Michael Murphy as president of Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Shea’s Performing Arts Center is a theater for touring Broadway musicals and special events in Buffalo, New York. Originally called Shea’s Buffalo, it was opened in 1926 to show silent movies and boasts one of the few theater organs in the U.S. 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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