Running a Theatre

Bolstering fundraising, tightening finances, building audiences, and solidifying relationships with staff, volunteers, colleagues & community

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"New Survey Indicates Evolving Patron Behaviors in Arts Support."  First among the 2014 report's findings is an indication that arts organizations should closely examine how they communicate with patrons in an increasingly digital world. Second, the findings confirm that pricing options and flexibility remain a vital part of each patron’s decision-making process. The overarching message is a familiar one: understanding the needs of patrons contributes to long-term success.

Management Roles

See the menu at right for information and expertise on the following  An asterisk (*) indicates resources available only to AACT members:

  • Arts Administration. Titles may vary: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Managing Director, Artistic Director, Executive Director, or a combination of titles (Managing/Artistic Director).   In all-volunteer groups, the role may be handled by the President of the organization.  Most community theatres have a single chief administrator, but larger ones may split responsibilities between two people--one to handle artistic direction, the other to handle the business end.
  • Artistic Management. The artistic director of a theatre company is responsible for the theatre's production and directorial choices, as well as its artistic vision.
  • Financial Management.  Financial managers monitor their organization and ensure that budget overruns do not occur. This means coordinating with staff (including directors) and volunteers to verify that costs are acceptable, as well as developing long-term budgets to plan for the expansion of the organization.
  • Volunteer Management. Volunteer management is the gateway to the community, providing residents with opportunities to become more involved in local life, and serving as a company's grassroots source of public relations and marketing.
  • People Management. In collaboration with the board, the chief administrator establishes specific policies and practices that promote cooperation and open communication among employees & volunteers so that they can work together to advance the company’s mission. 
  • Marketing & Public Relations. Some think of marketing as promoting a new production, a season ticket, or a summer workshop--but in fact it begins with understanding what a target audience wants (or might enjoy).  It also entails establishing a respected "brand" that separates a company and its offerings from others'.


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