Stage Door News

Toronto: Shakespeare in the Ruff is looking for new artistic leadership

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Shakespeare in the Ruff is looking for highly creative and ambitious leadership to run the company and serve the community.

To download a PDF of this Job Description, click here.

Inclusivity Mandate:

Shakespeare in the Ruff is on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and the Wendat. We acknowledge them and any other Nations (acknowledged and unacknowledged, recorded and unrecorded) as the past, present and future caretakers of this land, the traditional territory named Tkaronto, “Where The Trees Meet The Water”, “The Gathering Place”.
Shakespeare in the Ruff believes in radical inclusion and is committed to de-centring the white lens not only on Shakespeare, but within the theatre community. We encourage applicants from the BlPOC community as well as the LGBTQ+ community to apply, regardless of age, ability, or gender.

Role: Artistic Leadership of Shakespeare in the Ruff


Shakespeare in the Ruff is a professional outdoor theatre company serving the diverse neighbourhoods of Toronto’s East End. Our work strives for the integration of Re-Envisioned Classics, Education, and Community Building. We create adaptations and new plays using Shakespeare’s text as a jumping off point, while pushing the boundaries of form and content for outdoor theatre.

We offer integrated education programs for youth that provide hands-on, one-on-one mentorship with our professional artists. We bring together local residents, emerging artists, businesses, and non-profit organizations through our activities to build a stronger community. We offer the bulk of our programming free or Pay-What-You-Can.

We use classical stories to connect to the times we live in. We dive into the work irreverently and use it to dream big, to re-invent, to experiment, to grow, and to connect generations and people. Up until now, Ruff has used shakespeare as a starting point. When creating with these works, we ask ourselves: who is left out of these plays, what stories are left out of these plays, and what assumptions have we made about who these plays are for? In a society that makes so much space for shakespeare, how can we use this form to work towards a more just, joyful, and equitable world?

Job Description:
Currently, Ruff has two artistic directors (Kaitlyn Riordan & Eva Barrie) and works under a “flattened hierarchy” that sprang from an ethos of de-centring power, questioning how leadership can work, and bringing more perspectives to decision-making. We encourage applicants to apply in a way that reflects the leadership they want to bring to the company: this can be as an individual, as a co-artistic director team, or as a collective. The committee is open and excited to see the possibilities of leadership in this city.

This role is ideally suited for people with experience in the leadership of a theatre company, a strong artistic practice, deep curiosity about Shakespeare and the classics here & now, fundraising experience, and experience with management/admin. We are not limiting this search to directors, so all theatre artists are encouraged to apply.

The Artistic Director(s) will report to the company’s Board of Directors. Under the current working model, the Artistic Director(s) work closely with an Associate Artistic Director, a Youth & Education Coordinator, and are joined by contract workers in the late-spring/Summer. This is a part-time, self-employed position with flexible hours.

Roles & Responsibilities:

  • Develop, spear-head, search out and nurture adaptations rooted in Shakespeare and the classics.
  • Engage with artists who are challenging the status quo and make a place for them at Ruff.
  • Get to know Ruff’s audience and find ways to both engage and challenge them.
  • Curate all programming with support of the core Ruff team.
  • Advance accessibility initiatives and actively engage with community needs.
  • Managing, nurturing, and maintaining a strong relationship with the Board of Directors.
  • Develop and manage the annual budget.
  • Manage off-season finances and annual audit with book-keeper.
  • Manage contracting for non-show related personnel.
  • Perform annual performance reviews of the core Ruff team.
  • Website maintenance and up-dating.
  • Oversee social media and newsletters.
  • Report to the Board at quarterly meetings.
  • Fundraising; support Board led events, develop & execute fundraising campaigns throughout the year, nurture relationships with donors & granting bodies, and lead Ruff’s grant writing (Ruff currently has two levels of core funding).


Training and guidance will be available for all of these responsibilities

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Leadership experience at some level of a theatre company
  • Strong background in Shakespearean and/or classical work
  • Desire to work outdoors and site-specifically
  • Experience with play development
  • Strong experience and proven track record with fundraising
  • Ability to envision and help manifest growth in the company
  • Ambition to keep pushing the boundaries of outdoor performance
  • Commitment to mentorship and education of future theatre generations
  • Active interest in working with volunteers at all levels of the organization
  • Experience with a Board of Directors, Volunteer Coordination, or other equivalent experience.
  • Appreciation of the importance of audience development
  • Strong desire to collaborate and work in partnership with others
  • Experience or knowledge of the not-for-profit organizations

Start Date: November 1st, 2021.
Ruff’s fiscal year begins November 1st. The incoming leadership will be offered the opportunity to receive paid training in the Spring/Summer of 2021, and ongoing support at the beginning of the 2021-2022 season.

$24 000 + HST.
Under the current business model, this amount is currently split between the Co-Artistic Directors.

How to Apply:
Before applying, we recommend applicants take a look at the Ruff Applicant Leadership Guide we have prepared, which shares Ruff’s current business model, a rough idea of the annual budget and salaries, as well as Ruff’s 5 Key Values (Creative Audacity, Anti-Racism & Decolonized Practise, Accessibility, Education & Mentorship, and Respect). Accommodations are available upon request for applicants with accessibility needs ie the Deaf community and persons with disabilities – let us know how we can help.

To apply, please email: by November 1st, 2020 and provide:

  • A CV
  • An Artist Statement (who you are, what is important to you)
  • Relevant Artistic Experience
  • Relevant Leadership Experience & Vision
  • Two professional letters of reference

Please limit applications (excluding CV and reference letters) to 3 pages, and include all documents in one pdf.

Please list “Artistic Leadership Application” in the subject line and ensure that your full contact details are included.

Please note, Co-Artistic Directors Eva Barrie and Kaitlyn Riordan will be holding an open Q&A period on September 22nd from 5-7pm, live on Zoom for anyone with questions. Please email by Sept 21st for the zoom link.