Work With Us

Board of Directors


Job Title: Director
Department: Board of Directors
Start Date: Rolling
Posting Date: June 16, 2021

About Victory Gardens
Founded in 1974, Victory Gardens Theater nurtures and produces relevant, new theater work that reflects the diverse stories of our world and contributes to the vitality of the American Theater. Our work inspires dialogue towards meaningful civic change and creates an inclusive theater experience that belongs to everyone. Our vision is to be the leader in bringing stories to the stage that help ignite social change for a better world, through new work commissioning and development, education initiatives, community engagement, and our Access Project (serving patrons and artists with disabilities).

The Board of Directors is currently working to expand its membership. After part of the Theater’s leadership departed in June 2020, the Board of Directors embarked on an internal review process and leadership search, to address inequitable practices prevalent within the performing arts sector. This has led to a year of transformation and planning for the future, including the appointment of Ken-Matt Martin as Victory Gardens’ new Artistic Director. In a New York Times profile of Martin, Victory Gardens Resident Director Lili-Anne Brown shared, “Victory Gardens’ Board has done more work at transformation than anyone else I’ve seen.”

Job Summary
Victory Gardens now seeks volunteers to join its Board of Directors. The Board is the main governance body of the Theater, overseeing the fiduciary and administrative functions of the organization, including hiring and evaluating senior leadership. Directors meet as a whole at least five times per year, participate in board committees, and attend Victory Gardens opening nights, galas, and other artistic and fundraising events. Directors are expected to support the Theater either financially and/or through donation of services, expertise, or other means as requested. Victory Gardens seeks individuals who can bring a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to all responsibilities.

Primary Responsibilities and Duties
Victory Gardens’ Directors lead and contribute to the well-being of the organization by:

  • Enthusiastically endorsing the mission, and serving as ambassadors to Chicago’s civic and corporate communities.
  • Serving as a resource and consultant to the organization, senior staff and fellow Directors by offering professional guidance and leadership, as appropriate.
  • Maintaining the financial health of Victory Gardens by ensuring that the organization is fiscally responsible, and that expenditures support its mission and strategic objectives.
  • Supporting fellow Directors by accepting responsibility for a proportionate share of the work and following through on all commitments.
  • Reviewing and approving the annual budget in a timely manner.
  • Evaluating the performance of the Artistic Director and Managing Director.
  • Accepting responsibility for – and overseeing – the organization’s policies and enforcement.
  • Being intentional in the recruitment and engagement of diverse Directors and fostering a culture of inclusivity and anti-racism.
  • Creating a climate of open communication, feedback and continuous improvement both as an overall Board and also as individual Directors.

AMBASSADORSHIP FOCUS

  • Directors regularly attend and support productions, including the Chicago Stories Gala and other significant events.
  • Directors serve as Victory Gardens’ ambassadors in Chicago and beyond, consistently promoting its mission and values to new and existing donors and audiences.
  • Directors are knowledgeable about Victory Gardens’ art, programs, staff, teaching artists, productions and Playwrights.
  • All Directors are expected to attend each production in order to be a stronger ambassador for the work that we produce.
  • All Directors are encouraged to be discerning when requesting complimentary tickets and utilize those tickets for cultivation of significant prospects.

GOVERNANCE AND LEADERSHIP FOCUS
One of the primary roles of the Board of Directors is to effectively govern the organization and help it to achieve its mission. By setting the organization’s strategic course, establishing related policy and sustaining and safeguarding the organization’s financial health, Directors provide essential leadership and vision for the organization. Through their timely review of meeting materials and active participation in meetings, Directors help the organization’s staff to maintain the highest standards of performance and accountability.

  • Directors are asked to make their best efforts to attend a minimum of 75% of Board meetings along with any special meetings and EDI trainings.
  • Each Director is expected to be an active member of one to two Board committees, including the Development; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access (DEIA); Marketing; Finance; or Governance and Board Recruitment committees. Board officers and chairs of Standing Committees also are expected to serve on the Executive committee. Ideally, each Director will serve on the Gala committee occasionally.
  • Directors are also encouraged to participate in the work of ad hoc committees that are formed for a specific purpose and for a limited time period.
  • Directors should carefully review and be familiar with materials sent in advance of Board and Committee meetings.
  • All Directors participate in an annual Director conversation with Board and executive leadership, and are expected to participate in the annual Board Retreat and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION STATEMENT
Victory Gardens appreciates the critical role that DEI serves in theater and the community and is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of DEI in all of its activities. We are dedicated to maintaining a diverse, inclusive, and equitable space where everyone who walks through our iconic theater doors—audience, artists, staff, Board Members, or others—feels valued and respected regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, or ability. By reflecting the diversity of our community, we try to model what DEI should look like for the entire arts industry, and better serve our audience’s needs for art and culture.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION
Directors are expected to make Victory Gardens one of their top philanthropic priorities and to make an annual contribution that is significant to them. The Directors strive to meet a minimum annual ‘ give or get’ of at least $10,000 each fiscal year (July to June). We encourage all Directors to make an annual contribution that is significant to them. Directors typically reach their give/get through a combination of:

  • Personal or corporate contributions to the annual fund, Playwright’s Society, Director’s Council, Production Sponsorships, education programs and new work.
  • Personal and/or corporate contributions for tables or tickets for the Chicago Stories Gala and spring benefit.
  • Fundraising efforts for the annual fund, Playwrights Society, Director’s Council, Production Sponsorships, education programs, new work, the Chicago Stories Gala and spring benefit, or in special circumstances, with in-kind contributions as requested by Victory Gardens management.

Victory Gardens recognizes that diversity (including economic diversity) is a vital component of Board composition. Individuals who demonstrate their personal commitment to Victory Gardens’ mission in other ways will not be precluded from Directorship if they are financially unable to meet the minimum annual “give or get.”

FUNDRAISING FOCUS
Participation in fundraising initiatives is integral to keeping Victory Gardens strong. Directors’ expertise and guidance helps to ensure Victory Gardens meets its development goals. Directors are expected to contribute to fundraising by:

  • Cultivating potential Directors and donors through Victory Gardens activities, and hosting and attending donor cultivation events.
  • Supporting Victory Gardens’ efforts to secure new donors and sponsors.
  • Securing table and ticket sales and night-of fundraising participation for the Chicago Stories Gala.
  • Working with the Development Team to build a personal cultivation plan annually and a portfolio of contacts for Playwrights Society ($1,000+) and annual fund (up to $999) contributions.
  • Identifying potential individual, corporate, government and foundation donors.

BOARD RECRUITMENT
The continual evolution of the Board is critical to the future success of Victory Gardens. Directors are asked to assist the Governance and Board Recruitment Committee in ensuring the Board is equipped to meet the organization’s growing needs by representing the city’s diversity and including resources from across fields relevant to Victory Gardens’ mission. Board Members are expected to:

  • Serve as mentors to new Directors by inviting them to relevant events, providing information and insight about the organization and assisting with overall acclimation.
  • Submit suggestions for candidates who meet Director expectations, and participate in recruitment, as appropriate.
  • Actively cultivate Board candidates by hosting them at Victory Gardens events.

QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS
While Victory Gardens draws its Directors from a variety of industries and professional backgrounds, they are united in their drive to support performing arts and the creation of new theatrical work. Victory Gardens is particularly seeking Directors with expertise or experience in the following areas, but professionals of all backgrounds are welcome to apply:

    • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA)
    • Event Planning
    • Finance/Accounting (experience with non-profits preferred, not required)
    • Fundraising/Development
    • Human Resources
    • Legal (HR & Labor)
    • Nonprofit governance
    • Theatre practitioners
    • Media and PR
    • Education (Middle/High School)

APPLICATION PROCESS
Candidates should send a brief statement of interest that outlines what the candidates can bring to the Board (specifically the candidate’s skills, connections, and general experience) as well as a resume, to VGboardapplications@victorygardens.org with the subject line “Board Member.” Applications are rolling and will be reviewed as received. Candidates of interest will be contacted for an initial interview.

Victory Gardens Theater provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, pregnancy, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Victory Gardens Theater complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Administration


Job Title: Executive Director
Posting Date: November 10, 2021

Victory Gardens Theater seeks a collaborative and strategic Executive Director to partner with VGT’s new Artistic Director, Board of Directors, staff, and vibrant artistic community.

Who is Victory Gardens Theater?
Victory Gardens Theater aspires to produce theatre and programming that reflect the rich diversity of our city, nation, and the world. Our board, staff and artists recognize theatre is a catalyst for social change towards a more just and inclusive society. We are committed to empathy and celebrating our differences through our productions, town halls, panel discussions, Directors Inclusion Initiative, and other programs.

For nearly 50 years, Victory Gardens Theater has been a national leader, located in the heart of Chicago, in developing and producing new plays by innovative playwrights. These new works explore pressing contemporary issues and reflect the rich diversity of our world. A pioneer in producing the work of living, American playwrights, Victory Gardens has always taken artistic risks to bring high-caliber, groundbreaking work to the stage.

Your World On Stage
As a longtime champion of under-represented storytellers, including people of color, women and persons identifying as LGBTQIA+, Victory Gardens continually advances the American Theater. Since its founding in 1974, the Theater has produced more world premieres and Chicago premieres, worked with more living playwrights, and exported more new plays for production elsewhere than any other theater in the region.

Our Mission
Victory Gardens nurtures and produces relevant, new theater work that reflects the diverse stories of our world and contributes to the vitality of the American Theater. Our work inspires dialogue towards meaningful civic change and creates an inclusive theater experience that belongs to everyone.

Our Vision
To be the leader in bringing stories to the stage that help ignite social change for a better world.

Our Values
Integrity, Diversity, Innovation, and Excellence.

“As one of the twelve members invited to be a part of the original Playwrights Ensemble – I know, at VG’s heart, is a commitment to Artists of Color. When other theaters were talking – VG was putting our stories on stage. I feel greater transparency, community outreach, and Ken-Matt at the helm is doing much to put us on a path to fully honor VG’s legacy of supporting Artists of Color in a meaningful way.”
– Gloria Bond Clunie, Original Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble Member

Who is in Leadership?
Ken Matt-Martin, Artistic Director
Roxanna Conner, Producing Director of Engagement
Charles E. Harris II, Board President

What will you do?
The Executive Director for Victory Gardens will be responsible for all administrative and financial aspects of the theater. The ED will partner with Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin and the Producing Director of Engagement Roxanna Conner to execute the mission and vision for Victory Gardens through strategic planning, human resource leadership, and revenue generation and management. The ED will report directly to the Board of Directors and is an ex officio, non-voting member of the Board. The ED collaborates with the Board of Directors and the Artistic Director to set the direction for the organization and make decisions properly informed by the financials of the theater through timely monitoring and reporting. The Executive Director will supervise the General Manager, Director of Facilities and Director of Development. The role will have an extensive network of support and capacity to execute their duties, including from staff, consultants, and contractors.

Areas of Accountability
Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness

  • Guide a strategic planning process to define critical focus areas for the organization and chart a course for the future.
  • Foster an open, inclusive and anti-racist workplace environment where staff, artists, board, and volunteers are valued, creativity is celebrated and innovation is respected throughout the entire organization.
  • Track management accountability and actively address questions and concerns to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.
  • Rebuild, recruit, and cultivate the theater’s staff in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and an artistic leadership transition that represents the diverse community that VGT serves.
  • Support team innovation with appropriate human resources, structures, systems, and technological platforms that are aligned with current and emerging trends in the field.

Operations, Revenue and Administration

  • Supervise and direct the development, facilities/operations, and general management/business management efforts of the theater.
  • Recruit and retain qualified staff in the above areas and invest in staff’s professional development.
  • Develop and champion a common set of values for all organizational stakeholders.
  • Ensure transparent and consistent communication with staff.
  • Prepare a budget reflecting organizational priorities and planning while balancing financial feasibility with artistic goals.
  • Maintain a balanced budget by monitoring income and expenses on an on-going basis and managing long-term growth.
  • Work with the Executive Committee of the Board on long range planning.
  • Support the Board through actively driving and facilitating Board recruitment, development and engagement and providing support for Board and Board Committee meetings.
  • Serve as an innovative thinker in identifying ways of reaching new audiences.
  • Discover and cultivate funding opportunities to support new initiatives that advance the organization and serve the community at large.
  • Optimize and broaden the income potential of Victory Gardens’ revenue generating activities such as rentals, production extensions, co-productions, VG Conservatory, Corporate Trainings, tours, enhancements and transfers.
  • In collaboration with the Director of Finance, prepare accounting and cash flow reports, and capital improvement plans and proposals.
  • Supervise and advise on advertising and marketing plans.
  • Secure building, workers comp, board and officer insurance.
  • Set and manage calendars for the VGT season and Resident Theaters.

External Relationships

  • Develop substantial ties to the Board of Directors, leaders in the community and corporate, foundation and individual donors to facilitate and leverage greater levels of support for the theater.
  • Build relationships with subscribers and single ticket buyers to engage audiences more deeply with the theater.
  • Maintain relationships with important local leaders including community leaders and publicly elected officials.
  • Act as Liaison to PACT (Producers Association of Chicago Theaters), the League of Chicago Theatres and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of Chicago.
  • Secure appropriate Chicago city licenses, in collaboration with the finance director and facilities manager.
  • Represent Victory Gardens in Theatre Communications Group activities.
  • Track industry trends and innovations to offer improvements to processes and practices for the organization.
  • In collaboration with the Artistic Director, work to develop partnerships and alliances with community and artistic organizations locally and nationally.

Contract Negotiations

  • Serve as primary negotiator for contracts with playwrights, publishing houses, producers for subsequent productions of VG premieres, agents, actors, unions (USA, SDC and AEA), renters and vendors.
  • Hire and manage the work of consultants such as auditors, attorneys, and other organizational consultants, as needed.

Who are we looking for?
The ideal candidate will have experience working with teams in a highly collaborative environment. This person will have an inclination towards shared leadership models as well as deep and authentic partnership with the board and staff in order to further the mission of VGT. The new Executive Director will bring both hard skills in finances and theater operations as well as a level of curiosity and inspiration around VGT’s productions, artists, and development programs.

Additional Qualifications

  • Ability to lead, organize and motivate staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain strong relationships with donors, Board members, audience members, and the arts community.
  • Thorough knowledge of non-profit accounting, financial standards and reporting.
  • Senior organizational leadership experience in arts administration, including responsibility for developing and managing a budget to achieve organizational goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to guide strategic planning processes and its implementation that align with the organization’s mission and vision.
  • Prior success in audience development, fundraising, marketing, and/or donor development.
  • Passion for the performing arts.
  • Knowledge of and passion for shared leadership models.
  • Residency in or ability to relocate to Chicago is required.
  • Weekend and weeknight work are required, as needed for board meetings, opening nights and other company events.

How much are we paying and what are the perks?
Salary: $90-110K/year

Benefits package:

  • Health, dental and vision insurance
  • 403B retirement plan
  • Competitive vacation, holiday, and sick paid time off

Start Date: February 2022

How do I apply?
Visit aljpconsulting.com/apply-for-open-positions to submit your application.

We encourage all candidates to apply, even if they do not currently meet all qualifications. We know there are great candidates who may not have all of the qualifications listed above but possess intuitive knowledge or other fully transferable skills. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself.

Victory Gardens Theater provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, pregnancy, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Victory Gardens Theater complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Audience Services

Currently, there are no open positions.

Production

Currently, there are no open positions.

Directors Inclusion Initiative

Under the leadership of Ken-Matt Martin and Roxanna Conner, the initiative has been reimagined with a new curriculum which includes four masterclasses by leading theater artists, observing first rehearsal for each mainstage production, and directing one reading in the 20/50 Festival. The Director Inclusion Initiative cohort will also have the opportunity to attend optional events such as technical rehearsals, final dress, and gatherings hosted by VG leadership.

Applications for the 2021 Cohort are closed; 2022 Cohort applications will open in spring 2022. 

Application Requirements and Details

Auditions

Victory Gardens holds general auditions for both Equity and non-equity members each year.

Equity Actors (Members Of Actors’ Equity Association)

Equity auditions are held each Spring. Once Equity auditions are announced, appointments can be made appointments directly through the Chicago Equity office. Victory Gardens does not schedule appointments. For more information contact the Chicago AEA office.

Non-Equity Actors

Non-AEA Generals are held each Spring and are by invitation only. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.


Headshots and resumes are only accepted electronically. For consideration, please email your headshot and resume (as two separate attachments) AND a short cover letter (no more than 100 words – see specific points below) to chicagoinclusioncasting@gmail.com.

Please adhere to the following guidelines for submission:

  • Headshot

    • Must be emailed as a picture file (ex. .jpeg, .png, etc) – please no pdfs.

    • Please label as First Name Last Name Headshot

  • Resume

    • Must be an Adobe .pdf file (please no Word docs, pages, Google Docs, etc)

    • Please label as First Name Last Name Resume

  • Cover Letter

    • No more than 100 words

    • Please indicate if you are interested in any particular shows or projects for the upcoming season

    • Please indicate your union status

    • Also feel free to indicate (but only if you are truly interested) if you’d like to be considered for understudy roles, short projects, or serving as a reader for auditions.

Out-of-Town Actors
Our mission is to provide jobs for Chicago artists. Yet, we welcome artists who are planning on relocating and desire to begin connections with the Chicago theater community. If you are an Equity actor visiting from out of town and are planning on relocating, please email casting and adhere to the submission guidelines above. You are also welcome to include a reel or other video demonstrations of your work. 

Play Submissions

Victory Gardens Theater accepts full-length scripts year-round from literary agents and theater professionals with whom we have an existing professional relationship. Mailed copies of scripts are accepted, though we encourage electronic PDF or Word document submissions if at all possible. We do not accept unsolicited scripts.

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