• AlterTheater

Update: Position Closed (2022 Producing Artistic Director)

Updated: Mar 8

Organization

AlterTheater develops and produces plays written and performed by the best established and emerging storytellers, presented where people live, work, or play. AlterTheater has been commissioning, developing and premiering new plays in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2008. Its AlterLab playwright residency focuses on writers from underrepresented communities: 85% of writers are women and ⅔ of writers identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). While our cohorts are multi-ethnic, we’ve supported more Native playwrights than any other demographic (30%). For 15 years, the company performed in highly visible, non-traditional spaces, primarily storefronts in downtown San Rafael’s pedestrian shopping district, with windows left clear, so passersby could “window shop” theater.


AlterTheater seeks to create a more just, more equitable community by:

  • supporting the creative growth of theater artists from historically underrepresented communities;

  • telling stories that reflect the full complexity and diversity of our community; and

  • sharing stories with our full community, in places where people are.


This moment


The pandemic shut down theaters a few weeks before AlterTheater was scheduled to start rehearsals for our first touring project to Native reservations, Pure Native by Vickie Ramirez. As part of the tour, AlterTheater planned to hold intergenerational acting workshops. Instead, Alter’s Native artists designed a weeklong virtual playwriting class that has expanded into our Arts Learning Project for Native Youth.


But this virtual offering was just the beginning. This past season, AlterTheater partnered with The Parsnip Ship to produce an audio play version of Andrew Saito’s Br’er Peach, which “toured” BIPOC theaters and is now available on TPS’s podcast platforms.


Future


As we gear up for our 2022 season, we’re ready to embrace this variety of digital and in-person programming. We think the way forward for our small, BIPOC company is to lean into deeper partnerships with other value-aligned organizations, as we continue to serve and expand our community of artists and audiences and seek to right-size our company. With this in mind, we have been cultivating several relationships with theater companies, community organizations, and educational institutions.


Some of our partnering organizations include La Lengua Teatro en Español, California Shakespeare Theater, and the Latino Council.


Even as we practice shared leadership, we also practice highly collaborative, non-siloed, non-hierarchical administration and programming, where our programs feed one another.

Alter’s future programming will deepen its focus on social justice work using theater as a tool for change. We will produce a mixture of live, in-person events and hybrid asynchronous performances, including radio or audio plays. We will also continue to develop and expand intergenerational opportunities among professional Native performing artists and Native youth through our Arts Learning Project for Native Youth and other initiatives.


Work Culture


AlterTheater works under a distributive leadership model, with an ensemble sensibility. We engage in consensus-based decision-making, and provide opportunities for individuals to take ownership of their own projects, using our company’s values as their guide.

AlterTheater’s leadership team includes:


  • AlterTheater’s Literary Committee is comprised of 7-11 associate artists. LitCom decides which artists to support, playwrights to commission, and which projects to develop and produce.

  • Artistic Director, responsible for new work development. Currently, the AD also leads fundraising and works with the Board Treasurer on financial management of the company. Currently held by co-founder Jeanette Harrison.

  • Producing Artistic Director, Collaborations. Virginia Blanco, the artistic director of La Lengua, also serves as a producing artistic director of AlterTheater, leading the Decolonization Stories Project/Historias de Descolonización.

  • Producing Artistic Director, Mainstage. This would be you! You’d have responsibility for producing the shows. You’d work collaboratively with the Artistic Director in moving projects from under the New Work/Development arm to under PAD/Mainstage.


Cofounded by five artists, including two Native American (Onondaga and Chiricahua Apache/Tohono O’odham), AlterTheater has always centered Indigenous voices and practices. Located on Coast Miwok land, AlterTheater creates work in consultation with our local elders, as evidenced by our decade-long partnership with the Marin American Indian Alliance (president: Sky Road Webb (Coast Miwok)). Read more about our stance on serving Native communities.


We believe in telling stories by, for, and with our community. AlterTheater resides in a community that was built on dispossession and land theft, but despite generations of erasure and genocidal practices, Coast Miwoks continue to live and work in Marin County, along with descendents of Californios. In recognition that our country was built on a legacy of land theft and labor theft, and that anti-Blackness is woven into the very foundation of our society, AlterTheater centers the emotional and spiritual well-being of Black and Native people. AlterTheater is a BIPOC majority company - and our 80% BIPOC Board reflects this.


Company Pay Structure


We believe in transparency around pay.

Pre-pandemic 100% of our funding was project-based. Founded by Equity artists, we moved onto an AEA contract in 2009, and have been paying both union and non-union actors as employees ever since. Pre-AB5 most other artists were paid stipends for productions, and are now paid as temporary employees. However, our artistic work has mostly been supported with an all-volunteer staff. As we move toward paid staff, discussions we are having include what does pay equity look like. We acknowledge that we are a majority BIPOC organization that’s been built on volunteer labor. Some of our discussions and agreements around pay:

  • Minimum wage in our community is $14/hour (scheduled to go up to $15/hour on 1/1/23). All paid people are paid at least $15/hour.

  • Minimum wage is not a living wage, nor a sustainable wage

  • We believe that no one should be paid more than 2.5x anyone else, while also recognizing that measuring paid versus unpaid work makes this a particular challenge.

  • We aim toward supporting sustainable wages for our artists and our staff and artists.

While AlterTheater has never (yet!) been able to pay people their worth, we prioritize people first, purposely choosing to produce in minimalist ways in found and donated spaces. More than 72% of our cash budget (and some years, up to 91%) has gone toward paying people.


Mentorship is a core part of our company. We make a practice of supporting the creative growth of not just our artists but our artist-administrators and staff. We believe in mentoring and sharing. We believe in tailoring work to people’s interests and skills. We will be invested in your career, in you as a person, and we commit to supporting your long-term vision for your future. Our company is small enough that we are able to tailor leadership positions to the talents and interests of those in the position, and so we encourage applicants of all backgrounds and experiences to apply.


Position Summary


The Producing Artistic Director (Mainstage) is responsible for producing Alter’s 2022 mainstage season (Snag, Pure Native, TBA) and managing tours. The Producing Artistic Director works closely with the Artistic Director (New Work) and the Producing Artistic Director (Collaborations).


Roles and Responsibilities


Artistic:

  • Work with the Literary Committee on Season Planning

  • Work with Artistic Director to hire staff/creative team for all productions: live, hybrid, and virtual

  • Work collaboratively with Artistic Director and Producing Artistic Director (Collaborations), including in transitioning work in development into the production pipeline

  • Collaborate with Arts Learning Project staff to nurture pathways to professional opportunities

  • If interested in directing, direct with cultural competence one of the other AD’s projects (in 2022, Historias de Descolonización or new work workshops)

  • Mentor another artist or administrator


Production:

  • Arrange & liaise with performance spaces, if live

  • Set up & facilitate tech needs for virtual/hybrid productions

  • Work closely with stage manager and director/designers to ensure a safe and productive environment

  • Provide designers/technicians with what they need to achieve their visions in production mediums, within budgetary constraints and while respecting AlterTheater’s minimalist aesthetic in found spaces within space limitations

  • Work with collaborating companies to coordinate shared resources

  • Manage the season production calendar, staying on top of deadlines and resource allocation

  • Tour management - working with multiple venues for one show, making sure the needed resources are available to successfully move the show

Administrative:

  • Support company values, especially centering the spiritual and emotional well-being of Black and Native people

  • Participate in strategic planning

  • Work collaboratively with other staff and volunteers to ensure that all administrative needs are met


Marketing

  • Develop and implement marketing plan for each show

  • Cultivate group and single ticket sales

  • Coordinate branding efforts and outward communications

Qualifications

  • An excellent communicator

  • Highly organized

  • Able to work under pressure while creating an emotionally and physically safe working environment

  • Demonstrated commitment to anti-racism

  • Cultural competency to work with Native stories and Native storytellers

  • Good at balancing multiple needs

  • Creative thinker

  • Ability to speak Spanish a plus, or comfort in bilingual rooms

  • Experience with/knowledge of marketing a plus

We believe that people who have worked in theater, film, new media, television production; people who have project management experience; people who have trade experience; people who have studied theater or film in college; or people who have attended trade school in electrics or carpentry; people with marketing/branding backgrounds; may have complementary skill sets for this position.


Compensation and Benefits

$20-$25/hour; 20-25 hours per week. Beginning March 2022 through September 30, 2022. Possibility to extend if funding and interests align. Also possible that this could grow into a full-time position.


Location

San Rafael, CA and/or Orinda, CA. Remote work a possibility, but must be based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Must be legally able to work in the U.S.

Applications and Inquiries

Please email a resume and cover letter to: casting@altertheater.org with the subject line: Producing Artistic Director

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