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.
Community 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.”
The Director of Marketing and Communications will manage all facets of marketing and public relations for Shea’s. This includes the strategic planning of marketing and audience development campaigns to achieve the financial goals for performances at all three campus venues. This position will mentor and supervise the performance of a five-person team—including a Marketing and Communications Manager; Group and Box Sales; Associate Marketing Manager of PR and Content Strategy; Marketing Associate; and Junior Graphic Designer and Website Specialist. This team is responsible for reaching revenue, attendance, and publicity goals for all performances and public-facing activities on the Shea’s campus. The Director of Marketing and Communications will also be responsible for creating a culture of customer service, positive working relationships, and marketing support for all departments within Shea’s operations. This position will have primary control of Shea’s brand management and will oversee all audience and market research activities. Financial accountability will be expected through oversight of expense and revenue budgets and shared responsibility for setting prices.
Roles and Responsibilities
Earned Revenue and Community Visibility
Create and direct the implementation of an integrated marketing strategy and sales plan to support subscription, single ticket, and group sales goals for all Shea’s venues and programs through traditional and digital media, direct response, and out-of-home advertising.
Manage strategy and content for website and digital communications, including targeted email marketing, video production, and social media.
Serve as brand manager and develop key messages for all Shea’s communications.
Demonstrate commitment to collaboration and provide marketing support for Development, Arts Engagement and Education, and Events and Hospitality Department initiatives.
Cultivate opportunities for audience development and community connections to serve and engage underrepresented and marginalized audiences.
Develop and maintain productive relationship with Shea’s presenting partner, Al Nocciolino and NAC Entertainment, on all Broadway touring productions and special engagements.
Manage all media relations, including writing and approving press releases for all departments, generating consistent local media interest, organizing season announcements and other media events, and providing public relations support to presenters as required.
Serve as official media spokesperson, managing crisis communication and providing timely responses to media requests.
Maintain an active presence at performances and arts engagement events to better understand audiences and customer service issues from both operations and patron perspectives.
Negotiate media placement, marketing sponsorships, and promotional partnerships, including those designed to increase tourism sales.
Regularly conduct audience and market research and present findings to the entire institution.
Oversee relationships with external vendors, agencies, and designers.
Share responsibility for setting prices and revenue budgets for flagship Broadway season and all other performances at Shea’s with the Vice President of Finance and Administration.
Create zero-based budget and develop customized marketing and advertising plans each season in response to changing programs.
Monitor sales, forecast revenue, and provide analysis of season and single ticket sales throughout the season.
Execute timely and effective initiatives to address any events that experience lagging sales in a committed effort to achieve attendance and revenue goals.
Establish standardized reporting metrics with the IT team to provide business intelligence regarding direct response rates and website data analytics.
Team Building and Internal Communication
Manage the performance of and inspire results-driven environment for in-house marketing team.
Effectively delegate, actively initiate, and personally complete marketing projects.
Hire, schedule, supervise, and provide customer service training to Box Office personnel.
Establish and maintain productive and collaborative working relationships with senior staff and board members.
Regularly meet with the CEO and senior staff to support institutional goals through strategic marketing and public relations support.
Build relationships with a wide variety of community stakeholders and establish multiple access points to productions and engagement initiatives, working in tandem with the Arts Engagement and Education Department.
Share research and financial results, revenue projections, and other marketing updates in weekly reports to the marketing team, senior staff, and board committees as required.
Traits and Characteristics
The Director of Marketing and Communications will be a highly collaborative team player who effectively communicates with tactful directness, both internally and externally. This individual will be a hands-on manager with the ability to inspire a high-performance team by modeling behavior that achieves revenue goals through integrated marketing plans and a commitment to reaching new audiences. A diplomatic senior leader and an organized project manager, the Director of Marketing and Communications will be an enthusiastic supporter of the theatre arts with a proven track record of success.
Other key competencies include:
Leadership and Teamwork – The ability to organize and motivate others to accomplish goals while creating a sense of direction; build trust and demonstrate integrity; inspire active participation among a variety of stakeholders; respect team members and their individual perspectives; and share responsibility for success and failure.
Personal Accountability and Goal Orientation – The willingness to take ownership of situations, accept responsibility for actions and results, and prioritize and complete tasks necessary to meet deadlines and achieve revenue goals.
Project Management, Planning, and Organizing – The capacity to develop procedures, processes, and systems for order, accuracy, efficiency, and productivity and to deliver desired outcomes within allotted timeframes.
Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The adeptness to demonstrate superior cultural competence and awareness; effectively communicate with people across hierarchical and functional boundaries; understand cultural climate and organizational issues; and build rapport and display a sincere interest in the professional success of others.
A bachelor’s degree in arts administration, marketing, or communications is required (master’s degree preferred) as well as a minimum of eight to 10 years of experience at the managerial level in theatre or performing arts marketing and advertising. Experience managing a high performing team and demonstrated success in project management are necessary. A thorough knowledge and understanding of current arts marketing and advertising disciplines are required. An Excel and PowerPoint expert, the qualified candidate will possess the ability to interpret and present a story through numeric data to multiple stakeholders. Excellent verbal, written, and listening communications skills and superior editing and proofreading experience are needed.
Compensation and Benefits
Shea’s offers competitive compensation, commensurate with experience, and a benefits package that includes paid time off, health insurance, and a generous employer contribution toward a 403(b)-retirement plan.
Applications and Inquiries
Please submit a letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to: