Cultural Leadership program
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The Cultural Leadership program will recruit experts in the field to train participants in such areas as human resources and finance management, building fundraising campaigns, and best practices for board members. The curriculum is being created based on feedback from TBA member organizations about what topics they were most interested in studying. The inaugural session of the Cultural Leadership program is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, ensuring that training sessions are low-cost or free.  Anyone will be able to sign up for sessions on the TBA website, and discounts will be available for TBA members.

•Cultural Leadership Intensive starts September 8!

Were you trained as an artist – actor, director, playwright, or designer – and now find yourself running a theatre? Or maybe you’re part of a larger team of administrators tasked with leading a company? Were four, six, or eight years of your theatre education spent mainly in rehearsal rooms, design studios, and scene shops, but now you’re spending a lot of time in office settings grappling with spreadsheets, marketing plans, and board meetings? Feeling like you missed a class or two along the way or like you could use a refresher to bring your best thinking to your role as a theatre leader?

Next month, Theatre Bay Area is presenting a four-week intensive course aimed at theatre leaders looking to hone their skills and expand their knowledge base. Working with a small cohort of peers, participants will learn from seasoned experts in key areas of theatre management. TBA's Cultural Leadership Intensive will offer nine classes over four Saturdays, with topics ranging from strategic planning to board development to budgeting. Along the way, you'll forge a new network of allies as you compare notes, ask questions, and build your leadership expertise.

Sign up for the entire series for the essentials of theatre leadership. Or drop in to specific classes for a deep dive into a chosen topic.

Schedule and Class Descriptions

When:  Saturdays, September 8, 15, 22, and 29

Where: Theatre Bay Area, 1119 Market Street, Second Floor, SF  94103

            (at 7th Street, above Civic Center Station)

Entire Series: $200 TBA members, $250 nonmembers - Registration page
Individual Class: $30 TBA members, $45 nonmembers - See individual classes below for registration links


September 29
10AM - 12PM  Session 7: Developing the Board that Will Advance Your Company - Register for Session 7
Trainer: Debbie Chinn, Executive Director, Opera Parallèle
Theatre companies change and mature over time, and boards of directors must evolve to meet the shifting needs of the organization. Long-time performing arts executive Debbie Chinn (California Shakespeare Theatre, Baltimore’s Center Repertory Theatre, Carmel Bach Festival, Opera Parallèle) helps participants understand the kind of board their company needs today – and shares tips on how to build the board you need to take you into the future.
1PM - 3PM  Session 8: Finding and Engaging Individual DonorsRegister for Session 8
Trainer: Carma Zisman, Executive Director, ODC Dance Theater
Individual donors can be the foundation of your fundraising plan and a source of support that surpasses the merely financial. Veteran development professional and now the Executive Director of ODC Dance Theater, Carma Zisman shares essential techniques for cultivating individual donors and building long-lasting relationships that can serve as pillars for your company’s success.
3PM - 5PM  Session 9: Budgeting for Success (and Sustainability) - Register for Session 9
Trainer: Jericha Senyak, Financial Consultant
Spreadsheets, Excel files, Quickbooks – why not just a crystal ball? Planning (and managing) an annual budget can sometimes seem like the job for a fortune-teller. Veteran financial consultant Jericha Senyak, with a board range of arts clients, demystifies the basics of crafting, and staying on top of, your annual budget. Learn to see your budget as a financial roadmap to deepening your impact and advancing your organization.

September 8


10AM - 12PM  Session 1: Positioning Yourself in the Ecosystem
Trainers: Leslie Martinson, freelance director, former associate artistic director at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Brad Erickson, Executive Director, Theatre Bay Area
Dale Albright, Deputy Director, Theatre Bay Area

The Bay Area is home to one of the largest and most diverse theatre communities in the nation. The country houses literally thousands of theatre companies and many more theatre-makers. Where does your theatre company fit in this complex ecosystem? Where do you? Where would you like to be? Discover the niche that’s best for you.


1PM - 3PM  Session 2: Setting Goals – To Challenge Yourself and Your Company 

Brad and Dale will lead participants through a two-hour session of articulating what is important to your theatre company, your life and your career. Utilize this framework to develop specific goals for your theatre as well as yourself. Participate in this “dream big” workshop and identify the steps you’ll need to take to move to another level. 

September 15
10AM - 12PM  Session 3: Leading Effective Negotiations
Trainer: Karen Racanelli, producer, Hershey Felder Presents, former general manager, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Too often negotiations can feel intimidating, even adversarial. Karen Racanelli has led successful negotiations in a variety of circumstances over many years and offers participants her best tips on negotiating with different parties and constituencies (i.e. cold calls, fees and salaries, CBA negotiations). Learn by doing and become empowered through interactive role-playing scenarios.
1PM - 3PM  Session 4: Strategic Planning
Trainer: Marc Vogl, arts management consultant
Love the process or hate it, all too often strategic plans generate excitement when launched, then quickly spend their time on a shelf gathering dust. Arts consultant, former theatre executive director and foundation program officer Marc Vogl shares the essential techniques for crafting a vibrant strategic plan that can guide your company to greater impact and success.
September 22
10AM - 12PM  Session 5: Crafting Winning Marketing Plans
Trainer: Randy Taradash, arts marketing consultant, former marketing director, A.C.T.
Engaging audiences is what your theatre company is all about. Marketing expert Randy Taradash offers proven techniques for creating winning marketing plans that can help you attract new ticket buyers, deepen engagement and build your own audiences for years to come. 

1PM - 3PM  Session 6: Building Effective Teams
Trainer: Brian Protheroe, Manager of Learning and Leadership, Macy’s Inc.
Theatre is a collaborative art form, and our theatre companies should function as effective teams collaborating on the success of the organization. Corporate leadership trainer Brian Protheroe engages participants in an interactive workshop to share the essentials of building effective teams. Come away with tools to transform your board, staff and artists into collaborative, mission-driven teams.


Questions or to receive information about future workshops? Please contact:

Brad Erickson
Executive Director

• Past Cultural Leadership Events

Nonprofits benefit enormously when their boards have the tools to ask the right questions about their financials, but if you're not a CPA, how do you know what questions to ask? This 2-hour workshop geared towards board members without accounting backgrounds.

 Empowered Advocacy: Making Change - Thursday, February 22, 2018

Whether it’s fighting to save the NEA, backing a local measure to fund the arts, or creating a pop-up performance space in an empty storefront or public park, arts makers need the “know how” and tools to work with public policy makers at every level. At this session, you’ll find out what a 501(c)3 nonprofit can do in terms of advocacy (a lot!), and you’ll learn what to avoid. 

Good Governance Builds Great Theatre - Saturday, February 3, 2018

The board of trustees/directors and staff leadership are responsible for the health and vitality of an arts non-profit organization. This workshop focuses on the practical elements of a productive working relationship among the leadership. How can a healthy, engaging experience be built? And how does this work between board and staff connect to core activity? In this session, equally valuable to new and veteran board members and executive staff, Dr. Smith will cover the major principles of board engagement and governance responsibilities.

Weekend Finance Bootcamp - December 2 and 3, 2017

This weekend training is designed towards creating a greater sense of financial literacy for nonprofit arts workers, so if that's you, you are WELCOME HERE. Learning these concepts will empower you to take control of your project or company’s finances, respond more readily to challenges and opportunities, and represent your finances accurately. This is not is a business school accounting course, nor is it a Quickbooks tutorial. This is about learning and operationalizing finance concepts to better serve your work.

Cultural Equity, Diversity, and Artistry in Casting - September 19, 2017

This free community forum explored the legal, ethical, and aesthetic aspects of inclusive casting. Read a recap of the forum, listen to an archival recording, and find more resources on the topic (coming soon).