Executive Director, Newman Center for the Performing Arts

Apply now Job no: 492895
Work type: Staff Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Academic Administration, Admin / Executive / Office Support, Business Operations / Services

The University of Denver seeks applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director of the Newman Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA). The Executive Director will be charged with the stewardship of a remarkable facility, the successful implementation of its mission, the direction of a dynamic performing arts program, and will serve as the University’s ambassador to the local, regional, and national performing arts communities.

The ideal candidate will be an innovative and inspiring leader, a judicious manager, a generous colleague, an advocate for the power of the arts to create a more inclusive and compassionate community, and a key contributor to the University’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence.

The University of Denver (DU), founded in 1864, is the oldest and largest independent university in the Rocky Mountain Region and is committed to building and sustaining a culturally diverse faculty, staff, and student body. More than 11,500 students from every corner of the country and 83 nations are enrolled in its undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Under the inspired leadership of Chancellor Jeremy Haefner, the University of Denver strives to be a great private university dedicated to the public good - a center of excellence, innovation, integrity, engagement, learning, scholarship, and inclusiveness. As DU implements its strategic plan, DU IMPACT 2025, the Newman Center for the Performing Arts will continue to play a key role in the University’s renewed commitment to the development of cultural literacy and awareness among its students, staff, and faculty; deepening its ties to both the people of the DU community and its surrounding neighborhoods as well as the diverse communities of greater Denver; and creating a more inclusive and diverse educational environment.

The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) officially opened in the fall of 2002.  The Center comprises six acoustically-isolated spaces, including academic and rehearsal facilities, and four performance venues: the elegant, 970-seat June Swaner Gates Concert Hall with its superb acoustics; the 222-seat Frederick C. Hamilton Family Recital Hall, featuring a spectacular German-built tracker organ; the Elizabeth Eriksen Byron Theatre, a versatile black box seating up to 350; and the intimate Carl and Lisa Williams Recital Salon.

NCPA hosts about 500 events every year, serving more than 100,000 attendees. In addition to performances by the Lamont School of Music students and faculty, the Newman Center is an in-demand performance venue for numerous rental clients including the Denver Post Pen and Podium Series, Friends of Chamber Music, Denver Brass, Wonderbound Dance, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Urban League of Denver, The CELL and many others. The Newman Center also presents touring performing artists and groups through its acclaimed series, Newman Center Presents. In addition, the Newman Center engages students, teachers, and the community through its learning and community engagement programming.

NCPA’s mission has three distinct components: (a) stewarding a state-of-the art venue for the campus and community, (b) presenting a rich program of diverse artists and thinkers in public performances through the Newman Center Presents series and co-presentations with community organizations and (c) providing education and community engagement programs to learners of all ages.

The Center’s four stages feature performances of instrumental and vocal music from classical, alternative classical, jazz, pop, and countless world traditions, as well as spoken word, dance, and opera. About 300 music majors (and many non-majors) of the Lamont School of Music study, rehearse, and perform in NCPA. Theatre students learn and practice their art in the Byron Theatre. And NCPA serves the rehearsal and performance needs of more than thirty community organizations. As an arts organization itself, the Center has commissioned or co-commissioned more than 18 new works by a wide range of artists, including Paul Taylor, Chris Thile, Paquito D’Rivera, and Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Newman Center Presents (NCP) is well-established, well-branded, and widely respected. The Newman Center Presents umbrella has several genre specific series: Jazz, Dance and the National Geographic Speakers series. Almost half of NCP-presented artists made their Denver premieres on Newman Center stages. Highlights from the past few seasons include renowned artists such as Pat Metheny, Gregory Porter, Diane Reeves, Martha Graham Dance, Pilobolus, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ozomatli, Dorrance Dance and more.

Since 2017, the Newman Center has demonstrably increased its commitment to education and community engagement with the launch of three major initiatives:

  • Student Matinee Series: hour-long performances of 5-7 NCP shows annually, designed for student audiences in grades K-12.
  • Musical Explorers: Curriculum-based music education program for K-2nd grade students focused on music from around the world featuring Denver musicians.
  • Newman Center Co-Presentations: partnering with community organizations, co-presentations enable Newman Center to develop new community partners and audiences through performances. Co-Presents partners include the Color of Conversation Film Festival, Denver Chamber Music Festival, Presenting Denver Dance Festival, DU Prison Arts Initiative performance of incarcerated women performing Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” and Motus Theater’s UnDocuMonologues.

Position Summary

The Executive Director is responsible for the leadership of NCPA and the achievement of its goals.  The ED will have a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact; to guide NCPA through the next era of its service to the University and the community that surrounds it, as Newman Center approaches its 20th anniversary in 2022-2023 season. As the organizational and artistic leader of NCPA, the Executive Director must balance equally important inward-facing and outward-facing roles. They will work closely with University colleagues – notably the Director of the Lamont School of Music and the Chair of the Department of Theatre – to guarantee that NCPA successfully fulfills its core obligations to their academic programs. The ED will be a thoughtful colleague on campus, a collegial member of Denver’s vibrant arts community, a cultural ambassador to the greater Denver community, a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusiveness, and the face of NCPA in the regional and national performing arts community. The Executive Director reports to the University’s Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

The Executive Director will curate the Newman Center Presents season with artists who are responsive to the character of both Campus and Community. They will be an energetic and innovative performing arts presenter, with an eye for new and unexpected possibilities of the arts. They will build upon the presenting tradition at the Newman Center of presenting a diverse mix of artistically excellent artists. The ED will also explore opportunities for commercial presentations and rentals, which will contribute positively to the earned revenue mix. They will maintain a wide-ranging knowledge of touring artists and artistic trends and will maintain constructive relationships with agents and artist managers in order to bring the right artists to NCPA stages at the right time.

The Executive Director will work to expand NCPA’s audience, especially on campus and in the neighborhoods proximate to the University. They will embrace the goal of ensuring that cultural competence and emotional intelligence become fully-integrated features in the experience of DU students, and that student/faculty engagement in NCPA activities increases in both real numbers and relevance. Making the Center a forum for the exchange of ideas and transformative thinking will be among the Executive Director’s highest priorities. The ED will also continue to present educational opportunities for both DU and Denver K-12 students to interact with the professional artists presented by NCP, activities designed to go beyond public performance, to connect more deeply and inspire more personally.

The Executive Director will be a knowledgeable performing arts professional and a dedicated steward of NCPA’s facilities, ensuring the broadest and best use of its venues and resources. They will manage and motivate a talented staff, ever mindful of their individual and mutual aspirations to make a difference. They will welcome community clients of the Center and ensure that their experience is reflective of the highest standards of service. The ED will manage NCPA’s budget prudently and in keeping with the principles of accountability and transparency, and will work creatively to develop new sources of revenue that will allow NCPA to expand its programming and community service in a deliberate and sustainable manner.

Traits and Characteristics

The Executive Director will be a leader with an exceptional ability to articulate a compelling institutional vision, possessed of a nimble and inquiring mind, creative and passionate, yet judicious and prudent. They will be a keen listener, adept at synthesizing the ideas of others into a blueprint for collaborative action. And above all else, the Executive Director will be a zealous and effective activist, using the arts as a means to help the University of Denver to build stronger, more cohesive communities - on campus, in the DU neighborhoods, and in Denver and the Rocky Mountain West.

Required Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field
  • Broad knowledge of - and a keen interest in - the performing arts, including but not limited to music, theatre, dance, spoken word, multimedia, and performance art
  • Significant leadership experience in a performing arts venue or equivalent organization
  • A thorough understanding of the management challenges presented by a complex presenting organization
  • Significant experience and skill in the management of theatrical venues
  • Successful experience in the business of performing arts presenting, including agency relationships, contract negotiations, performance marketing, and a working knowledge of technical requirements
  • Curatorial proficiency in the selection, booking, and promotion of artists
  • Demonstrated success working with diverse communities and a commitment to cultivating a multi-cultural, inclusive, multi-disciplinary professional environment
  • Excellent communication skills; the ability to speak and write persuasively; mature interpersonal skills; diplomacy; a talent for nuance; a builder of respectful and collaborative professional relationships
  • Demonstrated ability to manage budgets, people, and physical resources in a manner that maximizes their respective contributions to the mission of the organization
  • A sophisticated ability to use and analyze data to inform management, programming, and marketing decisions
  • A deep personal commitment to the value of the arts in individual lives and to the arts as an essential element in any enlightened, diverse, compassionate society

Preferred Qualifications

  • Previous experience as the executive director of a performing arts presenting venue
  • Previous experience in fundraising, development, and the stewardship of donors
  • Significant experience with performance ticketing, marketing, sponsorship, and promotion
  • Previous experience in event planning, marketing, and management
  • Previous experience in venue scheduling, event ticketing, and facility rentals
  • Significant accomplishments in audience development
  • Successful experience working in an academic environment, and/or a well-developed understanding of the special circumstances inherent to the management of a campus-based performing arts center

Compensation and Benefits

A compensation package commensurate with experience, including medical insurance, paid vacation and parental leave, matching retirement contributions, and which may include tuition waivers.

Applications and Inquiries

Candidates must apply online through jobs.du.edu to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted.

Please include the following documents with your application:
1. Resume
2. Cover Letter - Applicants are encouraged to include in their cover letter a diversity statement about how their service to the University would advance this commitment.

The University of Denver is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff. We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, military/ veteran status or any other status protected by law.

All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

Questions regarding this position may be addressed via email only to the University’s consultant:




Screening of complete applications will begin on January 20, 2020 and continue until the completion of the search process. Interested candidates should complete an application as soon as possible after January 10, 2020.  The Search Committee’s goal is to complete the process and select a candidate by May 1, 2020.

Applications close:

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