In 1934, Antoinette Scudder and Frank Carrington located and purchased a derelict paper mill on the Rahway River in rural New Jersey with the vision of creating a repertory theater: Paper Mill Playhouse. Scudder and Carrington went on to create the first New Jersey Theater Festival and established a theater school for children. If the Playhouse’s founders saw it today, they would recognize the location but it’s doubtful that they could have envisioned the remarkable success that has been achieved, including an annual audience of 450,000, a thriving and growing subscription base, multiple productions moving to Broadway, and most recently, a Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2016.
Paper Mill Playhouse (PMP) has become an important and primary venue for new musical theater works that are Broadway-bound as well as for re-envisioned revivals. PMP’s commitment to the highest quality production and artistic standards is reaffirmed with each of its productions. The Playhouse stage has been host to nationally recognized actors as well as its rising stars. Liza Minelli, Patrick Swayze, Betty Buckley, Lynn Redgrave, Kristen Chenoweth, Tony Danza, Elaine Stritch, Anne Hathaway and John Mahoney are but a few of the many talented performers seen by its loyal audience.
In the mid-1980s, Paper Mill initiated sign-interpreted and audio-described performances. Since that time, its commitment to accessibility – in all of its forms – has grown. Efforts to provide access for patrons with disabilities is an unwavering commitment. Its credo is “Theater for Everyone,” and that focus led PMP to become the first theater in the country to offer “Sensory-Friendly Performances” for children on the autism spectrum and with developmental disabilities. PMP operates as a COST (Council of Stock Theatres) member in its contractual relationship to Actors’ Equity Association.
Over its 78 years, Paper Mill has weathered its share of challenges but has shown remarkable resilience. Millburn Township and surrounding communities have embraced the Playhouse as one of their essential assets. In 1980, the theater burned to its foundation, but was rebuilt and reopened in 1982. In 2007, financial pressures – internally remembered as “the crisis” – motivated a “Save the Theatre” campaign and the community raised a million dollars in a month’s time. The following year, the Township voted to purchase the Playhouse’s building and land for $9 million, an astounding municipal commitment to the arts. The sale allowed PMP to eliminate its debts and move its artistic mission forward.
More information about Paper Mill Playhouse is available on their website: http://www.papermill.org
Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director, joined PMP as Associate Director in 2000, becoming Producing Artistic Director in 2008. Todd Schmidt became Managing Director in 2010. Theirs is a co-leadership structure; in partnership, both report to PMP’s 24-member Board of Trustees. The current success of the Playhouse is rightfully credited to the strength of its strong leadership and the team they have built. They have focused on creating seasons that include revivals of musical theater classics as well as new works, the latter often developed in producing partnerships that Mark and Todd have nurtured. Further, they have deepened PMP’s commitment to education and access to a point that the Playhouse is now a national model in these areas. Bios of Mark and Todd can be found here: http://papermill.org/about-us/who-we-are/paper-mill-playhouse-team.html
The Playhouse season consists of five productions in its proscenium venue with 1,200 seats. It operates on an annual budget of nearly $20 million, with a marketing budget of $3 million (inclusive of salaries). Approximately 80% of PMP’s budget is from earned revenue, with about 50 % from ticket sales. In contrast to national trends, PMP’s subscriber base has grown in recent years, now in excess of 22,000 (10,00 households). Additionally, over 82,000 single tickets are purchased annually (23,000+ households). There are 50 fulltime and 20 part-time employees with hundreds of season and contract employees.
Position and Responsibilities
The Director of Marketing and Membership (DMM) is a member of Paper Mill’s senior management team and will participate in the conversation about institutional issues that have theatre-wide impact. The DMM is responsible for the leadership and management of the theatre’s marketing and communications functions and for earned revenue, external communications and membership growth. This position is charged with the effective promotion and communication of Paper Mill’s core mission, service to the community, and artistic programming, including developing the brand, messaging, marketing, advertising, web and social media strategies, collateral materials, and public relations.
The successful candidate for this position will be a keen strategist and will have a strong, proven track-record in revenue generation, audience development and retention, and customer service. An understanding of transactional data management, evaluation, and analysis is essential. Serious candidates will also have a strong record of managing people, an understanding of the financial aspects of a position with this responsibility.
The DMM will also strategically enhance revenue by developing strategies to move patrons from single ticket purchaser to subscription and membership. Developing membership giving levels – supporting Paper Mill’s nonprofit status and those programs that serve its community – has been an important new area of support for the Playhouse. The next DMM will continue to expand these giving groups, providing an important bridge between earned and contributed revenue.
The DMM will have an external presence among PMP’s audiences as well as within the national theater and marketing communities, and will work with the Artistic and Managing Directors, senior management, and others throughout the organization at strategic levels to understand internal marketing needs and translate them into strong and consistent messages.
The position supervises a total staff of 15, plus part time box office and house staff. Direct reports include the Marketing Manager, Marketing Associate, Director of Press & Public Relations, House Manager, and the Ticketing Services Manager.
Specific duties include the following:
Lead the development and implementation of a marketing strategy that creates strong audience loyalty and recognition.
In conjunction with the Managing Director, develop single ticket, subscription, and membership goals and then meet/exceed those goals.
Work closely with the Producing Artistic Director to effectively communicate the artistic vision of the organization through all marketing and development initiatives.
Manage and execute the presentation and promotion of Paper Mill’s mission, vision, message, and image internally and externally.
Work collaboratively with the development department to provide an integrated approach between fundraising and marketing and to increase membership.
Act as a brand steward and drive consistency in all communications.
Develop and implement web and e-marketing partnerships and social networking strategy.
Provide creative direction for all marketing collateral and advertising campaigns, including direct mail campaigns.
Ensure that PMP’s work is aggressively promoted on a local, regional, and national level.
Serve as a public representative of and spokesperson for PMP to the community and media.
Create and inspire a strong teamwork environment and build, train, mentor, and supervise an effective, professional, and engaged marketing team and support staff.
Attend Board meetings when required in order to make marketing reports.
Develop and manage the departmental budget.
A proven track-record in the development, execution, and management of creative, successful marketing, sales, and membership programs for theatre and/or performing arts organizations.
A strong knowledge of and commitment to audience development and retention.
In-depth familiarity with market dynamics, pricing, statistics, media buying, market segmentation, target marketing strategies, brand equity development, and planning.
Experience in the design and implementation of effective communications via email, Internet advertising, social media, and other electronic methods.
Understanding of the unique position and identity that PMP has in the local community, New York City metropolitan area and nationally, and the ability to articulate messaging that leverages these roles effectively.
Solid knowledge of patron services principles and a genuine commitment to assuring that PMP is accessible to and serving the needs of all types of audiences.
Experience in database and market research projects, including analysis and interpretation of data for ongoing improvement of marketing plans.
Understanding of institutional marketing and promotional principles and analytics and market research best practices.
Effective operational and strategic management skills, and demonstrated experience managing, mentoring, and motivating a staff in a team-oriented environment.
Excellent communication, diplomacy, and interpersonal skills, and the ability to effectively represent PMP externally.
Exceptional writing, editing, and graphic evaluation skills.
Understanding of and commitment to PMP’s mission and the ability to articulate this mission to others.
Demonstrated skill in developing and implementing balanced budgets.
Excellent computer skills and knowledge of ticketing software, Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint.
At least seven years of increasingly responsible and successful employment in marketing and public relations, preferably in theatre or the performing arts.
A bachelor’s degree is required; a degree in marketing, communications, journalism or theatre arts is preferred.
The following personal attributes will also be considered important:
A collaborative approach.
An outgoing and friendly personal style, good work ethic, and a sense of humor.
The savvy and judgment to understand and respond to the competing needs of different constituents.
Ability to derive deep satisfaction from facilitating the best work of others.
A desire to be part of the community
Compensation, Start Date and Application Procedure
A review of prospective candidates will commence immediately, continuing until the position is filled. Interested and qualified individuals, and recommendations of same, are encouraged to submit their credentials as soon as possible for full consideration to the below consulting firm retained for the search. Complete credentials should be submitted electronically and should include the following:
Résumé or CV;
Four professional references, including name, email, phone and relationship.
The salary and benefits will be competitive with other organizations of comparable stature and size.
Application materials should be sent electronically – Word or .pdf only, please – with the applicant’s name included as part of each file name.
Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc. (MCA) has specialized in serving the cultural field since 1983 and has had a rich involvement with cultural organizations of all types and sizes throughout the country. Our services include consultations in planning, executive search, organizational analysis, board and staff retreats, and seminar/workshop/conference development and facilitation. In our e...xecutive search work, we work on behalf of organizations and recruit CEOs and other senior management personnel, such as external affairs directors, development directors and marketing directors.
We provide these services to a broad range of cultural entities, including art museums, visual arts centers, theatres, dance companies, performing arts centers, historical societies, orchestras, operas, science centers, children's museums, service organizations, public agencies, arts councils and foundations. We have worked extensively with organizations in all stages of development, from new, start-up organizations making the transition from volunteer to professional leadership, to older, established organizations, including those grappling with the complex issues of new leadership following the departure of a founder or long-time leader.