What does an Executive Director do?

The Executive Director holds a senior leadership position within a theatre organisation and/or venue. This role combines strategic management, operational oversight and external relations to ensure the theatre's success and sustainability. They will often work in joint leadership with the Artistic Director. 

What are the main responsibilities of an Executive Director?

  • Develop and implement the theatre's strategic vision
  • Set and achieve organisational goals
  • Oversee the daily operations of the theatre, including administration, production, marketing, and front-of-house
  • Develop and manage the theatre's budget
  • Lead fundraising efforts
  • Oversee financial reporting, audits, and compliance with financial regulations
  • Work closely with the Artistic Director (if separate roles) to ensure that the theatre’s programming meets its artistic and community objectives
  • Oversee the hiring and contracting of staff and company members
  • Act as the public face of the theatre, representing it in the media and at public events
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with stakeholders, including patrons, donors, community leaders, and arts organisations
  • Lead, mentor, and support the theatre's staff
  • Oversee HR functions, including recruitment, training, development, and performance management
  • Develop and implement marketing and audience development strategies to increase attendance and community engagement
  • Report to the Board
  • Ensure the theatre complies with all relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards

What qualifications do I need to be an Executive Director?

While specific educational requirements can vary, many Executive Directors hold degrees in Arts Administration, Business Management, or related fields. 

Search through training opportunities to find a relevant qualification to become an Executive Director.

What skills do I need to be an Executive Director?

  • Proven leadership and management skills
  • Experience in strategic planning
  • Strong financial management skills, including budgeting, financial analysis, and fundraising
  • Experience in securing and managing funding
  • Strong public speaking and presentation abilities
  • Deep understanding of the theatre and performing arts sector
  • Knowledge of current trends and challenges in the arts industry
  • Ability to build and maintain relationships
  • Strong negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • Ability to think strategically and solve problems creatively
  • Strong decision-making skills under pressure

What does a career as an Executive Director look like?

Undertaking any Administrative role in theatre would provide valuable experience and industry knowledge essential for becoming an Executive Director. Extensive experience in senior management roles within the arts or cultural sector, such as General Manager, Director of Operations, Development Manager or even Producing is usually required before stepping into this role. 

How much does an Executive Director earn?

An Executive Director can earn anywhere from £32k - £80k+ per year depending on the venue and scale of work. 

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less. 

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 


Published: 6th June 2024

Get personalised theatre opportunities

From an organisation? Share your opportunity

You can list your training, outreach or funding opportunities for free and within minutes. Set up an account now and we’ll start helping you reach the people you need…
Read me aloud