Located in Buffalo, New York, Shea’s Performing Arts Center (Shea’s) opened in 1926 as Shea’s Buffalo Theatre. Nicknamed The Wonder Theatre, Shea’s Buffalo Theatre was the dream of Michael Shea. Originally serving as a movie house, it would later stage vaudeville shows and play host to the likes of the Marx Brothers, Frank Sinatra, George Burns, and Bob Hope. Today, Shea’s presents touring Broadway musicals and other live entertainment in its three venues: Shea’s Buffalo Theatre, Shea’s Smith Theatre, and Shea’s 710 Theatre. Its mission is to restore and preserve Shea’s Buffalo Theatre as a working historic theatre, introduce and engage new audiences with Shea’s 710 and Shea’s Smith Theatres, and facilitate diverse, inclusive community-building arts and education experiences throughout Western New York.
The historic crown jewel of Shea’s, Shea’s Buffalo Theatre was saved from demolition in the 1970s by The Friends of Buffalo Theatre. This nonprofit organization was responsible for getting Shea’s Buffalo Theatre listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past 20 years, more than $30 million in restorations has been completed, including a stage house expansion. The restorations also allowed Buffalo to keep the only surviving Tiffany-designed theatre in magnificent condition for patrons and the community to enjoy. A highly sought-after venue for globally recognized entertainers, Shea’s Buffalo Theatre is currently ranked in the top three markets in the United States for one-week touring Broadway productions.
Converted from one of Buffalo’s favorite elegant restaurants—Laube’s Old Spain—Shea’s Smith Theatre has played host to Off-Broadway productions, comedy shows, and collaborative performances with local theatre companies since 2000. Seating more than 200 people, this flexible black box theatre offers ample room for events and special occasions and is conveniently adjoined to Shea’s Bistro and Bar.
Formerly the acclaimed Studio Arena and the latest space to be added to the Shea’s campus, Shea’s 710 Theatre houses 625 seats and a thrust stage. This venue offers a full season of musicals and plays produced by local and international theatre companies. It also presents smaller touring acts and performances by Western New York schools. With not a bad seat in the house, Shea’s 710 Theatre provides theatre-goers with a unique performance experience in a welcoming and intimate environment.
Governed by a 17-member board of trustees led by Chairperson John J. Zak, Shea’s has an administrative and production staff of 33 employees led by President Michael G. Murphy. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, Shea’s had total revenues of $18.9 million, with $16.6 million from program service revenue, and total expenses of $19.6 million. With approximately 80 ticketed events each year at three venues combined, Shea’s boasts 18,500 subscribers and an average annual paid attendance of 300,000 people, with an additional 11,000 community members participating in arts engagement and educational events.
Nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, just southeast of Niagara Falls, Greater Buffalo and its nearly one million residents have redefined the former Rust Belt town into a progressive, ambitious city. The Buffalo Niagara Region lies within 500 miles of nearly half the United States population, making it the largest international megaregion between the United States and Canada. This drives $85 billion in commerce annually between the two countries.
Buffalo has several significant corporate headquarters and campuses, particularly in the insurance, banking, and healthcare industries. The city is also trending as a top location for startup businesses due to its relatively low cost of living, influx of investment from both public and private interests, and ease of access to New York City, Toronto, and Chicago. Fueling this workforce is Greater Buffalo’s 106,000 students enrolled at 14 four-year colleges and universities. Many of the 28,000 students who graduate each year choose to remain in the Buffalo region, fostering a youthful and vibrant community. Additionally, a recent $1 billion investment from New York State has also funded a revitalization of in-town neighborhoods and a major waterfront redevelopment.
Boasting four glorious seasons, Buffalo’s extensive system of parks and parkways designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted can be enjoyed year-round. Many Buffalonians personally contribute to the outdoor splendor of the city by cultivating spectacular home gardens. In fact, Buffalo hosts the nation’s largest private garden tour each spring, featuring more than 400 gardens. This natural beauty is complemented by the city’s significant architecture and walkable neighborhoods. Buffalo features many buildings by renowned architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex and Louis Sullivan’s Guaranty Building—one of the earliest skyscrapers. The New York Times has declared Buffalo “a textbook for a course in modern American buildings.”
Reporting to and working closely with the President, the newly created and evolving position of General Manager (GM) will collaborate with the Leadership Team to promote Shea’s success and creative growth. This includes the vibrancy of its programs, operations, facilities, financial sustainability, and local and national impact. This individual will assist the President and Leadership Team in producing, fundraising activities, creating development strategies for specific projects, and implementing action plans that deepen relationships in all segments of the community. The GM, as directed by the President, will effectively manage specific strategic partnerships and the supervision and development of human resources with the Vice President of Finance and Administration. This individual will be an active community member who will help build visibility and financial support for Shea’s by working with the President, senior management team, board and staff members, other arts organizations, and community members to fulfill the organization’s mission.
Roles and Responsibilities
Producing and Partnerships
Oversee the production of the Shea’s 710 Theatre season, 100th Anniversary Celebration, and the All for One program, including all agreements with outside partners, stakeholders, and unionized personnel.
Collaborate on negotiation of all union agreements.
Serve as the Shea’s representative for various community organizations and relationships.
Ensure settlements for all activities in Shea’s 710 Theatre and Shea’s Smith Theatre are conducted in an efficient and timely manner, in support of the Vice President of Finance and Administration.
Initiate partnerships with a broad range of external stakeholders to ensure a vibrant season of activities in Shea’s.
Strategic Planning and Community Engagement
Establish, with the President and Leadership Team, the vision for Shea’s as an organization dedicated to maintaining a comprehensive performance institution.
Oversee short-term operational and long-term strategic planning and implementation processes.
Serve as a spokesperson to establish a broad public image for Shea’s, as required by the President, clearly articulating the organization’s needs and long-term impacts on the community it serves.
Initiate, develop, and ensure strong, collaborative, and effective relations with local, national, and international arts organizations, community decision makers, government leaders, and other stakeholders in achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.
Support the planning, scheduling, management, and evaluation of a diverse array of activities in all three of Shea’s performance venues, with a specific focus on Shea’s 710 Theatre and Shea’s Smith Theatre.
Affirm Shea’s role as a vital regional arts organization with multiple constituents and develop relationships that enhance the organization’s goals.
Marketing and Sales
Collaborate with the Director of Marketing and Communications on marketing, communication, sales strategies, and initiatives that maximize ticket sales and other earned revenue opportunities for Shea’s 710 Theatre and specific projects that are within the GM’s responsibility.
Analyze sales, development activities, rentals, concessions, and other activities to ensure a high degree of profitability.
Contribute to the annual report and other internal and external publications.
Ensure the highest levels of excellence in the delivery of outstanding customer service.
Governance and Financial Accountability
Collaborate with the President to ensure strong fiscal health and organizational governance.
Provide support to best utilize the talents and resources of board members and stimulate board involvement, as directed by the President.
Advise the board and its committees on matters within the GM’s scope of responsibility to promote the efficient operation of Shea’s.
Develop and maintain fiscal responsibility for specific Shea’s annual operating budgets and financial objectives and provide the most effective use of financial resources, working closely with the President and Vice President of Finance and Administration.
Initiate ongoing effective communication with the President, Leadership Team, board, staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders.
Management, Human Resources, and Operations
Initiate long-range planning for facility improvements with the Director of Operations, including Shea’s 710 Theatre, Shea’s Smith Theatre, and Shea’s Buffalo Theatre Expansion and Accessibility Project.
Lead the development of equity, diversity, inclusion, and access initiatives with the VP of Finance and Administration and Director of Arts Engagement and Education.
Hire, train, onboard, mentor, and evaluate staff members and create accountability measures (including employee handbooks) while actively addressing concerns and creating a safe, forward-thinking, and productive work environment.
Establish appropriate staffing levels with job descriptions, facilitate employee development, and maintain an environment where diverse individuals bring various talents, skills, and cultural competencies together to achieve common goals in support of Shea’s mission.
Monitor programming, operations, and facilities personnel to ensure organizational policies are efficient and effective in resource utilization, in cooperation with the Director of Operations.
Ensure all Shea’s activities within the GM’s responsibility adhere to contractual agreements, meet legal and ethical obligations, and are consistent with the organization’s mission and values.
Create and actively promote a comfortable and welcoming environment where every stakeholder is treated with dignity and respect in a friendly and personal manner.
Traits and Characteristics
A strategic, diplomatic, and entrepreneurial manager, the GM will articulate a vision and, with the President, set the tone for Shea’s as a vibrant center for artistic, cultural, educational, and community activity. With an appreciation for practical accomplishments, the successful candidate will have the ability to manage daily tasks with the organization’s long-term strategic goals. Resourceful and instinctive, the GM will value partnership, creativity, and self-expression.
Other key competencies include:
Self-Starting, Problem Solving, and Time/Priority Management – The adeptness to take initiative and demonstrate self-control while defining, analyzing, and diagnosing key components of a problem to formulate a solution, factoring in time and priorities.
Flexibility and Resiliency – The agility to adapt to change and quickly recover from adversity.
Diplomacyand Employee Development/Coaching – The commitment to facilitate and support the professional growth of others, treating them equitably regardless of personal biases or beliefs.
Planning, Organization, Negotiation, and Project Management – The dexterity to utilize logical, systematic, and orderly procedures to meet objectives and to identify and oversee all resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results when facilitating agreements between two or more parties.
Interpersonal Skills and Understanding Others – The ability to effectively communicate, build rapport, and relate well to all kinds of people while understanding the uniqueness and contributions of others.
A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of increasing responsibility in a senior management role at a nonprofit performing arts center, theater company, or performing arts organization are required. Experience in producing live performance activities would be an asset. Candidates should possess a strong command of the business and financial side of a nonprofit performing arts organization, including producing, financial management, staff development, and stakeholder relations. The ability to work effectively with a President, board members, staff, volunteers, and community leaders is needed. The ideal candidate will demonstrate a commitment to Shea’s priorities of creating a highly regarded performing arts center, building a culture of engagement and innovation, and ensuring a broad base of stakeholder support and financial sustainability.
Compensation and Benefits
Shea’s offers competitive compensation, commensurate with experience, and a benefits package that includes paid time off, health insurance, a generous employer contribution toward a 403(b)-retirement plan, and the extraordinary quality of life and recreational opportunities offered by the beautiful Western New York region.
Applications and Inquiries
Please submit a letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to: