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Artistic Director

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Delaware Shakespeare

Position Summary

Delaware Shakespeare (“Del Shakes”) seeks an Artistic Director to provide artistic vision and strategic direction to build on Del Shakes’ 21-year commitment to bringing people together from all walks of life to explore and celebrate their shared humanity through Shakespearean works.


Candidates should share Del Shakes’ values, and its commitment to antiracism.

Del Shakes is perhaps most defined by its commitment to theatrical and community-engaged excellence. Any candidate for the position should value engaging with Delaware communities as driving force of their daily work.

The candidate will welcome the opportunity to live in Delaware and to participate actively in the life of the community. They will invest significant time and energy in building relationships within the community.

Primary Responsibilities

The Artistic Director for Del Shakes provides artistic leadership by supervising and implementing the Artistic, Production, Community Engagement, and Education work of the company; and contributing to Marketing, Communications, Board development, and Fundraising.

  • With the Managing Director, ensure progress on 3-year Strategic Plan. In 2025, assist the Board in creating a process to develop new 3-year Strategic Plan.
  • Conduct season planning, in collaboration with Artistic Partner & Development Officer and Managing Director. Research and review possible titles for Summer Festival, Community Tour, and additional bonus programming/partner events; consider how the plays’ themes resonate with the present moment, and relate to past and future season selections. Del Shakes is actively exploring how its work can move beyond “only” Shakespeare, via other classics and adaptations, with a focus on placing diverse creative voices in conversation with Shakespeare.
  • Realize the artistic vision of each year’s Summer Festival and Community Tour productions, by providing guidance for the company and periodically participating as an artist. Produce each production, allocating resources within a production budget and hiring/supervising artistic and production staff (for Summer Festival, the hiring/supervising is done in collaboration with the SF Production Manager).
  • Plan and produce additional bonus programming/partner events, to advance earned income and audience development goals. Examples of past bonus programming have been ShakesBEER at Wilmington Brew Works, Beyond Shakespeare play readings and poetry nights, Shakespeare, Poe & Fiends, Shakespeare Day, and more. Del Shakes has also partnered with organizations like OperaDelaware, Delaware Art Museum, and First State Ballet Theatre on collaborative performances. These are typically done during the “off season” – January through May, or November through December.
  • Maintain, strengthen, and expand community partnerships; both with Community Tour partners and with local arts/humanities organizations with whom Del Shakes regularly collaborates. In addition to selecting the community partner organizations that host Community Tour performances, Del Shakes has a desire to develop long-term relationships with three of these partners with more year-round engagement.
  • Plan, supervise, and implement educational programming, including recruiting college apprentices and high school interns for Summer Festival. Del Shakes piloted a weekend Shakespeare intensive in 2023, and sees both adult and teen classes as a potential growth avenue.
  • Provide input to marketing and fundraising materials, and develop organizational voice throughout all communications.
  • Meet with donors and funders to cultivate and solicit gifts.
  • Collaborate with Artistic Partner & Development Officer on creating and implementing fundraising special events.
  • Implement, revise, and advance Antiracism Policy and Action Plan; support company culture of “community care” (well-being of all staff and artists, with a focus on respecting all aspects of identity).
  • Communicate actively and transparently with the Board to help its members fulfill their roles of oversight, governance, and advocacy. Attend and participate in Board meetings, assist with board recruitment, training, and strategic planning.
  • With the Board President and Managing Director, plan agendas for all Board meetings.
  • Serve on Board Programming & Audience Committee.
  • Alongside fellow organizational leaders, represent Del Shakes in Wilmington, throughout the state of Delaware, and in the Greater Philadelphia area; engaging with the wider artistic community, internal and external stakeholders, and the general public.

New Initiatives/Focus Points

With a new split in duties between an Artistic Director and a Managing Director, the Board of Directors will ask the Artistic Director to implement three new initiatives:

  • Develop long-term partnerships with three Community Tour partners, including offering free attendance at the Summer Festival and offering one additional engagement opportunity with each partner.
  • Complete a feasibility study of Rodney Square as an ongoing production venue and of potential shifts to Summer Festival timing
  • Pilot new accessibility efforts, with options including ASL interpreted performances, audio described performances, or relaxed performances

Qualifications & Qualities

The ideal candidate will offer most or all of these characteristics, traits, and competencies:

  • Experience as an artist, including with a professional theatre company and with Shakespeare;
  • Experience in an outdoor performance setting;
  • Experience and/or interest in non-traditional performance settings (prisons, community centers, senior centers, transitional housing facilities, etc.)
  • Teaching artist experience in an educational setting, such as a theater’s education department, K-12 school or college;
  • Inclination and mindset to closely collaborate with Managing Director to guide the company into the next phase of its evolution;
  • Experience collaborating with a wide array of partners, including non-arts partners;
  • Experience with and desire to work in diverse intersectional spaces with colleagues of different ages, abilities, experience levels, and racial, ethnic, and gender identities;
  • Commitment to community engagement and accessibility;
  • Leadership and the ability to develop leadership capacity in others;
  • Project management;
  • Supervision and mentorship;
  • The ability to work evenings and weekends during production and for meetings is necessary;
  • Written and oral communication skills;
  • Familiarity with fiscal and administrative tasks, including budgeting, scenario planning, and contracting;
  • Knowledge and experience with Wilmington communities and the state of Delaware.

A report shows that men feel comfortable applying for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualification – whereas women and other people who have been historically underrepresented in the job market are more likely to apply only if they meeting 100% of the criteria. If you think you could do a great job in this role, please apply!

Reporting Relationships and Collaborators

Del Shakes is currently shifting from a single leadership structure (a Producing Artistic Director who oversees the entire organization and reports to the Board of Directors) to a dual leadership structure (Artistic Director and Managing Director both reporting to the Board of Directors).

Del Shakes has one additional full-time employee, the Artistic Partner & Development Officer. The Artistic Director would supervise the artistic components of this person’s work.

In 2020, Del Shakes created the Artistic Squad, a rotating collective of BIPOC mid-career theatre artists who have provided programming and management support to Del Shakes. The vision for the future of the Squad is unfolding. Del Shakes hopes that some of the current members of the Squad will continue with Del Shakes in 2024, and support the transition to a new Artistic Director by providing institutional knowledge and guidance on current artistic practices. The new Artistic Director will work to determine the next evolution of the Artistic Squad.

Del Shakes currently engages an Associate Producer as a part-time contractor, who works with Producing Artistic Director on logistics of annual auditions. (The AP also is heavily involved in house management for the Summer Festival and other programming.)

Compensation and Benefits 

This is a full-time position, with an annual salary of $50,000. Benefits include QSEHRA health care reimbursement plan (up to $6,000 a year) and two weeks paid vacation.

Conditions of Work

This position requires local residence, ideally in Wilmington, and combines remote and onsite work.

Del Shakes rents office space in the OperaDelaware Studios on the Riverfront in downtown Wilmington. Work at home would be an option some days, but developing your working relationship with the new Del Shakes admin team is best achieved through in-person work.

The office environment is somewhat “tech start-up” at the moment. Employees work on their own laptops with printer, copier, and shared digital storage provide by Del Shakes.

As with most small and mid-sized organizations, Del Shakes employees often “pinch hit,” and the Artistic and Managing Directors will both be called upon to fill operational gaps. We embrace flexible schedules within operational constraints, and strive for a culture of communication, consultation, and adaptability that supports everyone’s ability to succeed.

As mentioned previously, Del Shakes is transitioning from a single Producing Artistic Director to a dual Artistic Director-Managing Director leadership model. Both of these roles are now being hired. As the Artistic Director sets the programmatic vision for the Del Shakes, the intention is to hire the Artistic Director first. The new Artistic Director would collaborate with the Board during the final stages of hiring a new Managing Director.

The plan at this moment is for the current Producing Artistic Director to remain with the organization through EOY 2023 (also the end of Del Shakes’ fiscal year). Del Shakes is interested in new Artistic Director starting in a part-time consulting manner in November/December, while current PAD facilitates the conclusion of the fiscal year. Ideally, the new Artistic Director be in place full-time by January 1, 2024.


Delaware Shakespeare is a nonprofit professional theatre with a $450,000 annual budget and pursues the following mission: Inspired by Shakespeare’s creative vision and the broad societal mix of audiences of his era, Delaware Shakespeare brings our community together for vibrant theatre and learning experiences.

Founded in 2003, Del Shakes’ two programming pillars are the Summer Festival, an annual Shakespeare production outdoors under the stars at historic Rockwood Park, and the Community Tour, a fall production that travels to individuals with limited or no access to the arts in locations like prisons, community centers, and medical facilities.

The Summer Festival, held annually since 2003, is an outdoor production staged in historic Rockwood Park. It creates an informal, family-friendly environment wherein audience members enjoy live theatre, picnics and a communal experience. In a concerted effort to remove barriers to accessing the arts, the $25 general admission ticket is among the lowest price for any professional theatre company in the state. Del Shakes also offers Pay-What-You-Can Wednesdays, where patrons are able to select the ticket price. Summer Festival attendance ranges between 2,000-3,000 people, with audience members coming from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and beyond. Delaware Today has dubbed the Summer Festival the “summer’s must-do event.”

In recent years Del Shakes has significantly increased focus on the objective of bringing Shakespeare to audiences with wide-ranging backgrounds throughout Delaware. The cornerstone of this effort is the Community Tour. Launched in 2016, the Community Tour brings high quality Shakespeare performances to the full spectrum of humanity by traveling to locations such as prisons, libraries, and community centers. Tour performances are presented free of charge, ensuring that people from all walks of life have the opportunity to experience professional theatre. The tour reaches all three Delaware counties with a total audience of over 1,000 people.

Del Shakes often partners with other arts and non-arts organizations to increase impact, extend its reach, and develop new audiences.

Del Shakes is deliberate in following the lead of its namesake, Shakespeare, who wrote his plays knowing that all social classes would be in his audience. Del Shakes believes that thrilling things happen when his stories are shared with audiences made up of people from all walks of life, and with artists that reflect the diversity of the community in which we live.

To Apply

Interested candidates are invited to apply by submitting a resume and cover letter to The position is open until filled; priority will be given to candidates who apply by October 1, 2023.

Del Shakes’ services and employment are provided in a nondiscriminatory manner, without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, ability or age. BIPOC candidates and candidates who have historically been excluded from artistic leadership are encouraged to apply.