As part of a five-year strategic plan adopted during the 2015-2016 season, Stages nearly tripled its operating budget, tripled its subscriber base, increased overall attendance by 50 percent, and completed a $35.4 million capital campaign to build its game-changing new facility, The Gordy.
Opened in January of 2020, The Gordy is a 66,850-square-foot performing arts campus unlike any in the region. The Gordy includes the 251-seat thrust Sterling Stage, the 223-seat theater-in-the-round Lester and Sue Smith Stage, and the 134-seat flexible configuration Rochelle and Max Levit Stage. Beyond the performance spaces, the facility includes rehearsal and education studios; full production and design workshops; meeting, event, and shared community work spaces; full administrative suite; public lobby; pedestrian plaza and green space; and patio and balcony. The Gordy was intentionally envisioned and designed to be centered on community, creating an intimate space to bring audiences and artists closer together. Stages plans to reopen The Gordy for performances in the Fall of 2021.
Driven by the belief that ‘People Make Theater,’ Stages’ commitment to personal relationship building is considered the key to the theater’s success, with a mission to invite everyone to live more deeply and love more boldly. Stages’ staff and board are committed to the theater’s mission, vision, and values and the principles of its 2024 Strategic Plan, Setting the Stage, which include four strategic goals:
Advance the artistic potential of Stages
Stages produces a broad scope of theatrical experiences ranging from jukebox musicals and family entertainment to world premieres and new work by emerging writers. Stages’ focus on the growth of artists has created a theater that leads in the advancement of artists and practitioners, fostering the development of emerging talent and new work. In addition to an exceptional community of locally-based artists and craftspeople, Stages engages occasional guest directors, actors, and designers from around the world to complement Houston talent.
Stages’ education opportunities include a student matinee series, performance and production internship programs for college students, and a conservatory each summer for middle and high school students. During the 2019-2020 season nearly 20 percent of audiences experienced art free of charge through such programs as Sin Muros: A Latinx Theater Festival and performances at Miller Outdoor Theater. During the adjusted 2020-2021 season, Stages will have produced more than 30 digital programs, including live broadcast performances and recorded plays.
Stages has a 33-member board of directors, led by Chair Steven Owsley and President Jane Crowder Schmitt. The organization currently operates with a staff of 36 employees. Prudent financial management allowed the theater to successfully maintain the entire staff without any layoffs, furloughs, or wage reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, Stages reported revenues of $4.8 million, including $3.1 million from contributions and grants and the balance from earned revenue. Total expenses were $4.8 million.
Houston’s arts and cultural sector is fueled by a deeply generous philanthropic community. The city is home to leading symphony, ballet, opera, and theater companies and has the highest concentration of working artists in Texas. Houston boasts seven Actors’ Equity Association member theaters, presenting a wide array of perspectives and programming. The downtown theater district is known to have more theater seats than any city outside of New York. Home to more than 150 museums and cultural institutions, Houston also offers plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities, including more than 300 parks, many hike and bike trails, gardens, and a wide range of sporting activities.
Sources: Houston.org, visithoustontexas.com, datausa.io
Roles and Responsibilities
Lead the management team and partner with the Board Finance Committee to develop the annual financial plan and operating budget, including annual capital expenditures.
Identify and develop innovative sources of funding and earned revenues.
Build appropriate financial plans that support stated strategic goals, including around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, so all initiatives are properly resourced.
Negotiate and create effective agreements and relationships with Actors’ Equity Association and other unions as needed, as well as publishing houses.
Fundraising and Audience Development
Lead the expansion and diversification of Stages’ subscription and single ticket audiences.
Apply knowledge of marketing, public relations, and organizational strategies to further the expansion of a clear identity and reputation for Stages regionally and nationally.
Expand partnerships and deepen relationships with other artistic and civic organizations.
Strategic and Institutional Leadership
Creatively and strategically rebuild the forward-looking operations of Stages, including supporting the full realization of The Gordy’s potential in its first full season and beyond.
Collaborate closely with the board in the management of board activities and initiatives while serving as a member of the Audit, Development, Finance, and other committees as needed.
Work with board members to recruit, engage, and support volunteer leadership, with particular emphasis on building on the current members’ strengths, filling gaps in expertise, and expanding its diversity.
Traits and Characteristics
Other key competencies include:
Personal Accountability and Priority Management – The ability to prioritize and complete tasks for oneself and others in order to reach desired outcomes consistently within well-paced and reasonably determined time frames, using ensuing results to self-evaluate, learn from mistakes, and accept responsibility for actions and decisions.
Leadership and Collaboration – The dexterity to appropriately use positional and relational influence to organize people to pursue a collective vision with a sense of purpose and direction, without micromanaging.
Customer Focus and Diplomacy – The capacity to anticipate, meet, and exceed customer needs, wants, and expectations while being perceptive and emotionally intelligent to effectively handle difficult or sensitive issues.
Planning, Organizing, and Decision Making – The aptitude to analyze all aspects of a situation to make consistently sound and timely decisions, including addressing difficult situations head-on, and to establish forward-looking courses of action to ensure that longer-term efforts are completed effectively and efficiently with appropriate participation from the entire team.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Compensation and Benefits
Applications and Inquiries
Douglas R. Clayton, Senior Vice President
Stages provides equal opportunities to all who may apply and welcomes every race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, genetic makeup, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, and thinking style.