Artistic director
An artistic director is the executive of an arts organization, particularly in a theatre company, that handles the organization's artistic direction. He or she is generally a producer
Theatrical producer
A theatrical producer is the person ultimately responsible for overseeing all aspects of mounting a theatre production. The independent producer will usually be the originator and finder of the script and starts the whole process...

 and director, but not in the sense of a mogul
Business magnate
A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a capitalist, czar, mogul, tycoon, baron, oligarch, or industrialist, is an informal term used to refer to an entrepreneur who has reached prominence and derived a notable amount of wealth from a particular industry .-Etymology:The word magnate itself...

, since the organization is generally a non-profit organization. The artistic director of a theatre company is the individual with the over-arching artistic control of the theatre's production choices, directorial choices, and overall artistic vision. In smaller theatres, the artistic director may be the founder of the theatre and the primary director of its plays. In larger non-profit theatres (often known in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 as regional theatres
Regional theatre in the United States
Regional theaters, or resident theaters, in the United States are professional or semi-professional, theater companies that produce their own seasons. The term regional theatre most often refers to professional theatres outside of New York City...

) the artistic director may be appointed by the board of directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...


The artistic director of a theatre is similar to the music director
Music director
A music director may be the director of an orchestra, the director of music for a film, the director of music at a radio station, the head of the music department in a school, the co-ordinator of the musical ensembles in a university or college , the head bandmaster of a military band, the head...

 of a symphony, the primary person responsible for planning a theatre's season. The artistic director's responsibilities can include but are not limited to choosing the material
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 staged in a season, the hiring of creative/production personnel (such as directors), and other theatre management tasks. He or she may also direct productions for the company. Artistic directors work closely with the general manager of the theatre, and contribute the artistic evaluation of projects and productions to be included in promotional, funding, and press materials. An artistic director also functions as a resource for the directors who are working to mount productions at the theatre and can provide support, counsel, and/or artistic input where requested. The artistic director may be called to assume the production should the director become unable to complete his/her duties. Artistic directors are frequently regarded as the artistic representatives of theatre companies and are often required to speak about their theatre to the press. In the United States, artistic directors often have fundraising
Fundraising or fund raising is the process of soliciting and gathering voluntary contributions as money or other resources, by requesting donations from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies...

 responsibilities as well.

In some ensemble companies, the artistic director is responsible for recruiting performers to act as a talent pool for the company's productions. This ensemble may include actors and artists of various disciplines. The artistic director functions as leader of this group, with the aim to create and/or realize various new and established works.

In ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 the artistic director is the head of a ballet company
Ballet company
A ballet company is a group of dancers who perform ballet, plus managerial and support staff. Most major ballet companies employ dancers on a year-round basis, except in the United States, where contracts for part of the year are the norm...

. He has overall responsibility for training the dancers and mounting productions. He is almost always a retired dancer. Often he also choreographs some of the company's productions.

In some companies the artistic director may also manage the company but in a great many companies the artistic director may only make decisions about the art and the administration finacial, fundraising, board relations, donor relations, publicity and marketing are the responsibility of the General Manager, Chief Operations Officer or
Managing Director

See also

Some prominent artistic directors (who are currently managing professional arts organizations) include the following:

  • Jason Alexander
    Jason Alexander
    Jay Scott Greenspan , better known by his professional name of Jason Alexander, is an American actor, writer, comedian, television director, producer, and singer. He is best known for his role as George Costanza on the television series Seinfeld, appearing in the sitcom from 1989 to 1998...

     — Reprise Theatre Company
  • Randall Arney — Geffen Playhouse
    Geffen Playhouse
    The Geffen Playhouse is a not for profit performing arts theater in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Originally named the Westwood Playhouse, UCLA purchased the property in 1993. UCLA's then chancellor, Charles E. Young, appointed Gil Cates Producing Director...

  • Pierre Audi
    Pierre Audi
    Pierre Audi is a French-Lebanese theatre director and artistic director.Pierre Audi is the son of the Lebanese banker Raymond Audi and Andrée Michel Fattal, the eldest of three children. Audi's family were originally from originally from Saida, but he attended the French Lycée in Beirut...

     — The Netherlands Opera
  • Andre Bishop — Lincoln Center Theatre
  • Michael Colgan — Gate Theatre
    Gate Theatre
    The Gate Theatre, in Dublin, was founded in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir, initially using the Abbey Theatre's Peacock studio theatre space to stage important works by European and American dramatists...

  • Joe Dowling
    Joe Dowling
    Joe Dowling is the Artistic Director for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. He is also well-known for his work as Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre in Ireland, and has directed plays in all the major theatres in Ireland as well as theatres in London, New York, Washington...

     — Guthrie Theatre
  • Michael Kahn
    Michael Kahn (theatre director)
    Michael Kahn is the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., USA. He held the position of Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division of the Juilliard School from 1992 to 2006....

     — Shakespeare Theatre Company
    Shakespeare Theatre Company
    The Shakespeare Theatre Company is a regional theatre company located in Washington, D.C. Their self professed mission "is to present classic theatre of scope and size in an imaginative, skillful and accessible American style that honors the playwrights’ language and intentions while viewing their...

  • Diane Paulus
    Diane Paulus
    Diane Paulus is an American director of theater and opera who became Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University in 2009. Paulus was nominated for the Best Director Tony Award for her revival of Hair...

     — American Repertory Theatre
    American Repertory Theatre
    The American Repertory Theater is a professional not-for-profit theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein, the A.R.T. is known for its commitment to new American plays and music–theater explorations; to neglected works of the past; and to established classical texts...

  • Bill Rauch
    Bill Rauch
    Bill Rauch is an American artistic director. Rauch succeeded Libby Appel as the fifth artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in June 2007...

     — Oregon Shakespeare Festival
    Oregon Shakespeare Festival
    The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a regional repertory theatre in Ashland, Oregon, United States. The festival annually produces eleven plays on three stages during a season that lasts from February to October...

  • Michael Ritchie
    Michael Ritchie (artistic director)
    Michael Ritchie is the artistic director of Center Theatre Group, overseeing the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Kirk Douglas Theatre.-Early career:...

     — Center Theatre Group
    Center Theatre Group
    Center Theatre Group is a non-profit arts organization located in Los Angeles, California. It is one of the largest theatre companies in the nation, programming subscription seasons year-round at the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Kirk Douglas Theatre...

  • Bartlett Sher
    Bartlett Sher
    Bartlett Sher , is an American theatre director. He received both the 2008 Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for his direction of the Broadway revival of South Pacific. The New York Times has described him as "one of the most original and exciting directors, not only in the American theater but...

     — Intiman Theatre
  • Kevin Spacey
    Kevin Spacey
    Kevin Spacey, CBE is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and crooner. He grew up in California, and began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s, before being cast in supporting roles in film and television...

     — Old Vic
    Old Vic
    The Old Vic is a theatre located just south-east of Waterloo Station in London on the corner of The Cut and Waterloo Road. Established in 1818 as the Royal Coburg Theatre, it was taken over by Emma Cons in 1880 when it was known formally as the Royal Victoria Hall. In 1898, a niece of Cons, Lilian...

  • Helgi Tomasson — San Francisco Ballet
    San Francisco Ballet
    The San Francisco Ballet is a ballet company, founded in 1933 as the San Francisco Opera Ballet. The company is currently based in the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, under the direction of Helgi Tomasson. SFB is the first professional ballet company in the United States...

  • Kate Whoriskey
    Kate Whoriskey
    Kate Whoriskey was the artistic director of the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, Washington, USA, for a year, departing in April, 2011 after the theater's board cancelled the remainder of the 2011 season due to financial problems. Whoriskey had been co-Artistic Director of Intiman along with Bartlett...

     - Intiman Theatre
  • Lin Hwai-min
    Lin Hwai-min
    Lin Hwai-min is a Taiwanese dancer, writer, choreographer, and founder of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. He was educated at National Chengchi University in Taiwan and University of Iowa in the US....

     - Cloud Gate Dance Theatre
  • Willy Tsao
    Willy Tsao
    Willy Tsao is a Chinese modern dance choreographer. He runs three major modern dance companies in China. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of City Contemporary Dance Company and BeijingDance / LDTX, plus the Managing Director of Guangdong Modern Dance Company.-External links:***...

     - City Contemporary Dance Company
    City Contemporary Dance Company
    City Contemporary Dance Dompany is a leading modern dance company in Hong Kong. In 1979, Willy Tsao founded the company and is now the Artistic Director and Chief Executive Director. The company is supported by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.CCDC's performances reflect...

     and BeijingDance / LDTX
    BeijingDance / LDTX
    BeijingDance / LDTX is a modern dance company founded by Willy Tsao in Beijing in 2005. It is China’s first professional dance company founded independently from government.BeijingDance / LDTX is the presenter of the annual Beijing Dance Festival....

  • Karen Kain
    Karen Kain
    Karen Alexandria Kain, CC is a retired Canadian ballet dancer, and currently the Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada.-Early Training:...

     - National Ballet of Canada
    National Ballet of Canada
    The National Ballet of Canada is Canada's largest ballet troupe. It was founded by Celia Franca in 1951 and is based in Toronto, Ontario. Based upon the unity of Canadian trained dancers in the tradition and style of England's Royal Ballet, The National is regarded as one of the premier classical...

  • Andrew W. Huntley II - Theatre Sans Serif
  • Nikolaj Hübbe
    Nikolaj Hübbe
    Nikolaj Hübbe is artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet. He was born on 30 October th, 1967, and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark. He began his dance training at age 10 at the Royal Danish Ballet School and became an apprentice to the Royal Danish Ballet in 1984. He was promoted soloist in 1988....

     - Royal Danish Ballet
    Royal Danish Ballet
    The Royal Danish Ballet is one of the oldest ballet companies in the world. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, it originates from 1748, when the Royal Danish Theatre was founded, and was finally organized in 1771 in response to the great popularity of French and Italian styles of dance...

  • Constance Chase - Connecticut Chamber Choir
  • Kate Thomas - The School at Steps (A Division of Steps on Broadway)
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