Organization: Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Location: Ashland, OR

Express Interest

About the Oregon Shakespeare Festival:

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is one of the premier theaters in the nation, and is among the oldest and largest professional regional repertory theatre companies in the United States. OSF boasts the oldest existing full-scale Elizabethan stage in the Western Hemisphere, and reaches an average annual attendance of approximately 125,000 with nearly 800 performances throughout their season. OSF has received numerous distinctions and honors, including multiple Tony Awards, including for outstanding achievement in regional theatre and Best Play, the national Governors’ Association Award for distinguished service to the arts, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Commendation and Open Book Award for First Amendment Courage by American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). In addition, OSF offers a school visit program, sending actors to approximately 100 schools across multiple states, presenting performances and workshops to more than 70,000 students.

OSF was founded in 1935 in the picturesque college town of Ashland, Oregon. Located 350 miles north of San Francisco and 285 miles south of Portland, Ashland is tucked in the Rogue River Valley at the foot of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges on Interstate 5.

The town’s first Chautauqua building saw its first performance in 1893. In 1915 the building was enlarged to accommodate an audience of 1,500. Families traveled from all over Southern Oregon and Northern California to see such performers as John Phillip Sousa and William Jennings Bryan during the Ashland Chautauqua’s 10-day seasons. In 1931, Angus Bowmer was granted $400 by the town of Ashland to stage a Shakespeare festival consisting of two plays. To support this effort, an Elizabethan façade was erected. The success of this festival led to the founding of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and ongoing expansion of OSF’s physical site, programming and prominence.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s season runs from February through early November, and the organization’s campus includes three theatres, including 2 indoor stages – the Angus Bowmer Theatre and the Thomas Theatre – and OSF’s flagship outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre. OSF annually offers 11 different plays that include at least three authored by Shakespeare and seven by other classic writers, as well as modern and contemporary work and world premieres.

Mission Statement

Inspired by Shakespeare’s work and the cultural richness of the United States, we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays, deepened by the kaleidoscope of rotating repertory.

In keeping with this mission, OSF invites and welcomes everyone. The Festival believes the inclusion of diverse people, ideas, cultures and traditions enriches both its insights into the work presented on stage and the relationships within the organization. OSF is committed to diversity in all areas of its work and in its audiences. Additional information about OSF’s programs related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion can be found here.

Position Summary & Key Responsibilities:

The Director of People and Culture is directly responsible for the overall administration, coordination and evaluation of the Human Resources department, including setting the strategic direction of the HR function and ensuring its alignment with company goals as outlined in the Festival’s long-range plan; helping to provide leadership to OSF’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) efforts; and developing and managing a range of activities related to employee and labor relations.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a $40 million organization whose employees work under a wide variety of labor arrangements. OSF has collective bargaining agreements in place with two unions, and works with others. The Festival has nearly 200 full-time, year-round employees, and the workforce expands to approximately 600 with part-time and seasonal employees.  The Director will have deep experience with a complex and diverse workforce, and the mindset and leadership ability to advance OSF’s ED&I efforts throughout the organization.

Key Responsibilities

The Director of People and Culture will:

  1. Provide leadership to the Festival’s commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I), in collaboration with the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. This includes designing and deploying programs that increase OSF’s degree of cultural competency and the demographic diversification of the organization, particularly regarding inclusion of underrepresented groups in the areas of race and ethnicity, gender, ability, and socioeconomic status. The Director will analyze, recognize and interrupt behaviors that hinder OSF’s ED&I efforts and engage all company entities in moving the dial toward building an organizational culture where everyone thrives;
  2. Review incoming information on Human Resource issues; make recommendations to the Executive Director on problem areas; update and administer the Company Handbook and other safety and personnel manuals and procedures; act as a resource on labor law; and work with legal counsel as appropriate;
  3. Provide conflict resolution, mediation and facilitation upon request; conduct workplace investigations and act as a resource regarding disciplinary action and terminations;
  4. Negotiate benefit contracts in association with the Director of Finance and communicate employee benefits and policy changes to employees;
  5. Administer the Festival’s goal achievement process and provide leadership to the improvement of the performance assessment tools and practices;
  6. Oversee Worker’s Compensation and safety programs, and administer leaves of absence;
  7. Undertake implementation of HR information systems and technologies;
  8. Participate in Long Range Planning activities and provide strategic leadership by articulating HR needs and plans to the leadership team, the Festival’s Board of Directors and other stakeholders;
  9. Assess OSF’s labor market competitiveness by researching compensation and benefits comparisons; and will coordinate the implementation and maintenance of a company-wide compensation plan;
  10. Develop and implement appropriate company-wide training programs in partnership with the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and
  11. Honor and administer the Festival’s existing collective bargaining agreements, and be part of the team that renegotiates them.

Core Competencies:

Successful candidates will have at least 15 years of relevant, progressive experience in human resources with administrative and supervisory experience. Candidates with a background in theatre are encouraged to apply.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

Expert in Human Resources Management

The Director of People and Culture will have a high level of professional and proven experience, an acumen for human resources leadership, and the demonstrated ability to lead and manage this area for a complex organization. S/he will have managed a significant human resources operation with a correspondingly substantial budget and headcount, and will thrive in an environment with open communication and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. S/he will evaluate and advise on the adequacy and soundness of the organization’s policies and systems concerning human resources and will have the proven ability to understand, analyze and interpret complex challenges. The Director of People and Culture will support and manage a team of five professionals comprising three human resources associates, the safety manager, and the volunteer coordinator.

Strategic and Entrepreneurial Leader

The Director of People and Culture will be a highly experienced leader with an entrepreneurial spirit, a measurable track record of strong results, and an outcome-driven mindset. A proven strategic thinker with the vision, capacity, and experience to understand and balance a complex array of constituent needs, the Director will serve as strategic advisor to the Executive and Artistic Directors and Board of Directors on Human Resources issues, and a partner to the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. This individual will oversee planning and development of Human Resources initiatives, diagnose critical areas for attention, build consensus with stakeholders, and implement decisive, clear strategies that anticipate and address problems with effective solutions. S/he will be a proactive, collaborative change agent as well as a charismatic leader, with the mindset to challenge the status quo with a servant-leadership approach, remaining sensitive to OSF’s community and culture.

Change Manager and Operational Experience

The Director of People and Culture will be an experienced leader with a background in managing significant organizational change, with a thorough, detailed and wide-ranging perspective on the impacts of these changes on the culture and community. S/he will have practical experience in communicating change, including those related to technology or other changes with systems. With OSF’s financial and personnel needs in mind, s/he will employ a comprehensive approach to forecasting progress and achieving sustainable, well-supported solutions. S/he will be agile in ambiguous situations and capable of providing stability and inspiring confidence when faced with important and quickly-changing circumstances, including through analyzing and evaluating various scenarios from a budgetary perspective.

Persuasive and Influential Communicator

The Director of People and Culture will possess exceptional communication skills, clearly articulating multifaceted issues to the Executive and Artistic Directors and the Board, as well as to the broader community. S/he will have an inspired ability to listen intently, think clearly and respond effectively, empathically and persistently to a variety of challenges, naturally collaborating to develop clear decisions. With confidence and gravitas, the Director of People and Culture will ably negotiate challenges across the institution, communicating clearly and striving to break down silos and other barriers, operating with a high degree of transparency and clarity. This leader will garner support for all aspects of the management of human resources, including developing the internal structures and systems to support new and innovative programming.

Relationship Builder and Collaborator

Critical to success in this role, the Director of People and Culture will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships across OSF, including with the Board of Directors. S/he will be a natural partner with a demonstrated ability to connect, build bridges and command respect, including with volunteers, staff and artists. S/he will work to develop relationships internally and externally for the benefit of OSF, identifying efficiencies and leveraging opportunities for the benefit of the organization. In close alignment with the Director of ED&I and the Executive and Artistic Directors, s/he will be consultative, promoting open dialogue across OSF, synthesizing divergent views and coalescing the organization around a shared vision for human resources.


Oregon Shakespeare Festival has exclusively retained Koya Leadership Partners for this search. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Sheila Hennessey. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials through Koya’s online link here or email Michelle and Sheila at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan
Managing Director

Sheila Hennessey

Oregon Shakespeare Festival is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity and strongly encourages applications from women, minorities, and other under-represented groups.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit