Seeking Development Director

Position Title:            Development Director

Reports To:                Managing Director

Department:              Development

Seattle Shakespeare Company Mission Statement: With the plays of William Shakespeare at our core, Seattle Shakespeare Company engages our audiences, our artists, and our community in the universal human experience inherent in classic drama through the vitality, immediacy, and intimacy of live performance and dynamic outreach programs.

Seattle Shakespeare Company Overview: Founded in 1991, Seattle Shakespeare Company is the State of Washington’s leading professional, classical theatre.  The company has an annual budget of $1.8 million, of which $1 million is contributed. The company has finished 13 straight years in the black and has a $100,000 reserve. Seattle Shakespeare Company is governed by a 27-person Board of Directors and has a core of 12 staff members, plus seasonal employees.

Position Summary: The Development Director is a principal part of the Seattle Shakespeare Company staff, responsible for guiding donor relationships and cultivating contributed revenue sources. Working closely with the Managing Director, Board of Directors and other staff members, the Development Director devises and manages all fundraising efforts including individual giving, institutional giving, contributed reporting, pledge tracking, data entry, special events management, donor recognition, and in-kind donations. The Development Director must be a creative, strategic, passionate, articulate, and skillful leader and ambassador for Seattle Shakespeare Company, its mission and its programs.

The position oversees one staff position, an Events and Development Associate (32 hours/week), and staffs the Board of Director’s Development Committee.

For more on Seattle Shakespeare Company, please see our website at

Compensation: This is a full-time, salaried, exempt position. Salary: low to mid $40K. Benefits include health insurance, paid vacation, and paid holidays.

To Apply: Send a cover letter, resume, two writing samples, and three references to or Development Director Search, Seattle Shakespeare Company, PO Box 19595, Seattle, WA, 98109.  (No phone calls, please.)

Position Closing Date: Open until filled (Preference will be given to applications received by June 22, 2015.)

Essential Functions Include:

  • Provide leadership, planning and oversight of development activities.
    • Create a development plan for the year.
    • Serve as staff liaison to Development Committee and Board of Directors.
    • Participate in planning and implementation of development training for Board of Directors.
    • Work in partnership with the Communications Department on strategic and integrated messaging to patrons and donors throughout the year.
  • Manage individual giving and donor relations:
    • Coordinate creation, production and supervision of campaigns – direct mail, email, curtain appeals, GiveBIG, Wooden O, and others.
    • Oversee Arden Circle, SSC’s multi-year giving for major donors.
    • Direct the major gifts program. Strategize approaches to major donor prospects and work with Managing Director, Development Chair and Board of Directors on researching, cultivating, soliciting, renewing, and upgrading major donors.
    • Serve as a trusted organizational contact for donors, providing stellar customer service.
  • Manage institutional giving — corporate, foundation, and government support:
    • Collaborate with the Board Development Committee, Board of Directors and the Managing Director on cultivating and soliciting institutional funders.
    • Complete grant and sponsorship requests.
    • Maintain a grant schedule/calendar.
    • Scan “giving universe” for institutional prospects.
    • Assure funding agreements are met: recognition, assessment, reporting, or other contract terms.
    • Serve as communications liaison with institutional supporters.
  • Provide leadership with Event Chairs, Board Committees, and Events and Development Associate on planning and implementing fundraising and cultivation events, including:
  • Annual Education Luncheon (fall).
  • Bill’s Bash Gala Auction (spring).
  • Opening Nights.
  • Donor cultivation/appreciation events (Donor/Tech, First Rehearsal, Season Launch, etc.).
  • Other events as scheduled.
  • Perform general administrative tasks for development department:
    • Oversee Development staff, interns, contractors, volunteers.
    • Ensure accurate management of data, effective revision of donor lists, and timely acknowledgement of gifts.
    • Devise and prepare monthly reports for Board.
    • Create budget and track finances of development revenues and expenses.
  • Attend staff and board meetings, opening nights, performances, and funding events.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications: At least 3 years of experience in non-profit fund development, strong preference to experience in performing arts.

  • Strong interpersonal, writing and communications skills are required.
  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • Major gift experience.
  • Computer-literacy is a must (Microsoft Windows, Word, and Excel) and familiarity with data base or CRM software (preferably Salesforce/Patron Manager) preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage volunteers and work collaboratively with executive and board leadership.
  • Ability to successfully manage multiple projects and meet all deadlines.
  • Strategic thinking, creativity, imagination, flexibility, and dedication.
  • Team player with sense of humor.
  • Passion for the theatre.
  • Must be able to work the occasional weekend or evening event.
  • Staff supervision experience preferred.

Win Tickets to a Screening of “Antony and Cleopatra”

We’ve got five pairs of tickets to give away to the Globe Theatre’s screening of their production of “Antony and Cleopatra” on Thursday, June 4 at 7PM at the Guild 45th.  Enter to win today!

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We're thrilled that the Globe Theatre will be bringing their stage production of Antony and Cleopatra to the screen at the Guild 45th Theatre on Thursday, June 4 at 7PM. We've got 5 pairs of tickets to give away.

Enter to win today. Contest ends at midnight on May 31, 2015.

Antony and Cleopatra

Cleopatra (Eve Best), the alluring and fascinatingly ambiguous Queen of Egypt, has bewitched the great Mark Antony (Clive Wood), soldier, campaigner and now one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire. When Antony quarrels with his fellow leaders and throws in his lot with Cleopatra, his infatuation threatens to split the Empire in two. The third of our Roman Tragedies, Antony and Cleopatra picks up Antony’s story many years after Julius Caesar. Virtue and vice, transcendent love and realpolitik combine in Shakespeare’s greatest exploration of the conflicting claims of sex and power, all expressed in a tragic poetry of breathtaking beauty and magnificence.  The Globe’s envisioning of this iconic play, recorded earlier in 2015, encapsulates these themes whilst deftly threading a sense of comedy throughout.

This contest expired.

Anticipating Shakespeare’s First Folio

Although it is still months away, we’re already getting excited about one of Shakespeare’s First Folio’s coming to Seattle next spring.  NPR featured a new book called the “Millionaire and the Bard” about Henry Folger’s search to collect first editions of Shakespeare’s plays.  His diligence will be Seattle’s gift when we finally get to see them up close at the Seattle Public Library.

2015-2016 General Auditions

General Auditions

The Seattle Shakespeare Company will hold their 2015-2016 season general auditions on Sunday, May 17, 2015 (TPS Room G, 4th floor Armory) and Monday, May 18, 2015 (TPS Room C, 4th floor Armory).  For both days appointments will be available from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.

Our 25th Anniversary season is as follows:

The Comedy of Errors directed by Jane Nichols
First rehearsal Aug. 18, 2015
Open Sept. 18, 2015
Close Oct. 11, 2015

Mother Courage and Her Children directed by Jeff Steitzer
First rehearsal Sept. 29, 2015
Open Oct. 30, 2015
Close Nov. 22, 2015

Titus Andronicus directed by David Quicksall
First rehearsal Dec. 15, 2015
Open Jan. 15, 2015
Close Feb. 7, 2015

Mrs. Warren’s Profession directed by Victor Pappas
First rehearsal Feb. 23, 2015
Open March 25, 2015
Close April 17, 2015

Romeo & Juliet directed by Vanessa Miller
First Rehearsal April 5, 2015
Open May 6, 2015
Closes May 22, 2015

Please note that the Seattle Shakespeare Company holds rehearsals during the day.  To work for this company, you must be available to rehearse during daytime hours.  We also have an extensive student matinee program, so daytime hours continue during performance runs.

Appointment times for the auditions will be three minutes long.

Requirements for these auditions are: one Shakespearean piece, preferably in verse (ideally 90 seconds in length).  There is the possibility that a second piece will be asked for, so please be appropriately prepared.  Again, please note, this second piece will ONLY BE OFFERED AT THE REQUEST OF THE AUDITORS. 

Please bring a headshot/resume.  Please highlight on your resume your specific combat skills and your singing proficiency.

Please note on your resume if you are willing to be considered for an acting internship for any of our shows. An internship at our theatre means that you will do some production assistant work, as well as acting in a show.  Our internships are paid and many of our interns go on to play major roles on our mainstage.

If you would like to receive an audition appointment, please contact our casting associate Hannah Mootz (email)

Schedule an Audition

Bluff Your Way Through the Play: Othello

Othello at a Glance

What’s the connection between Othello and Measure for Measure…besides the author? Ever use the phrase green-eyed monster and know where it originated? We’ve got answers and more in our handy guide to Othello.

The Giraldi Connection
Like many of his plays, Othello wasn’t entirely created from Shakespeare’s imagination.  He borrowed heavily from an Italian novella called Un Capitano Moro (A Moorish Captain) by Giovanni Battista Giraldi (also known by his pen name Cinthio). Shakespeare probably read it in the original Italian.  It also turns out that Giraldi provided inspiration for Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure in his Promos and Cassandra that was adapted by George Whetstone.

Read more about Giraldi

So…what did Shakespeare add?
Well, all of the names in the play, with the exception of Desdemona, were created by Shakespeare since the source story only referred to them by their rank or title.  The lovesick character of Roderigo doesn’t appear at all in Giraldi’s original story. It is possible Shakespeare added him to provide some comic relief and give Iago a sidekick.  The way in which Desdemona dies is also different than the source novella.

What’s in a Name?
Othello means “wealth” and may have been taken by Shakespeare from the name of an ancient Roman emperor whose nickname was Otho. Desdemona means “ill-fated.”

Read more

Words, Words, Words
Although Othello is the tragic hero in the play (and has his name in the title!) it’s the character of Iago that has the most to say…1098 lines of dialogue! Othello by comparison has 887 lines

It’s ironic, dontcha think…
The word “honest” or some variation on it is said in the play 52 times (I dare you to count ‘em!).  AND it’s used most often by or about Iago!

So…what’s the story?
Othello is a powerful general in the Venetian army. Although he and his friend Iago have been through many battles together, Othello gives a promotion to Michael Cassio instead of Iago. Enraged, Iago starts plotting Othello’s downfall.

Othello has eloped and married Desdemona without her father’s consent, and is brought before the duke of Venice. The duke is impressed by Othello’s honesty and by Desdemona’s loyalty to him, and encourages her father to accept the marriage. He also enlists the Othello’s services to fight the Turks. Othello and Desdemona arrive in Cyprus, where they find that the Turkish fleet has already been destroyed by a storm. During the ensuing celebrations, Iago gets Cassio drunk and spurs him on to a brawl that results in his dismissal from Othello’s service.

Iago works to convince Othello that Cassio is sleeping with Desdemona. He gradually establishes this suspicion in Othello’s mind, while denying that he himself believes it. Desdemona notices her husband’s sudden coolness toward her and confides in Emilia, Iago’s wife. Unaware of Iago’s scheme, Emilia assists him by procuring a handkerchief that was given to Desdemona as a keepsake by Othello. When it turns up in Cassio’s possession, Othello is convinced of his wife’s infidelity. He smothers her to death in their bed, only to find out from Emilia that it was she who stole the kerchief for Iago. Overwhelmed by guilt, he attempts to kill Iago, and then stabs himself, dying at his wife’s side. Iago is arrested and refuses to explain his motives or to confess his crimes.

Character Lowdown
Othello, a general in Venice’s military
Desdemona, daughter to Brabantio and wife to Othello
Iago, Othello’s ensign (rank immediately below lieutenant)
Michael Cassio, Othello’s lieutenant
Emilia, wife to Iago and Desdemona’s attendant
Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman
Bianca, mistress to Cassio
Brabantio, a senator
Duke of Venice, the official authority in Venice
Montano, governor of Cyprus before Othello
Lodovico, kinsman to Brabantio
Gratiano, brother to Brabantio

Shakespeare’s Moors
There are three Moors appear in Shakespeare’s plays: Aaron in Titus Andronicus, the Prince of Morocco in The Merchant of Venice, and Othello. Featuring black characters in Elizabethan plays was rare, but one’s in which they were the main story was almost unheard of. Due to global trade, London was an international city while Shakespeare was creating his plays. There would have been people of various ethnic backgrounds walking the streets or perhaps even attending a play.

See portrayals of people of color in European Art history

Unseen Wounds
Our production of Othello has a blending of old and modern elements to it. Director John Langs and the cast are exploring the idea that Othello and other military personnel may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury from their time fighting in the field.

Learn more about hidden brain injuries in soldiers

You Heard It Here First
Shakespeare has given us words and phrases that we use every day, but before he made them up they didn’t exist. Below are some familiar phrases and words that first hit the English language scene with Othello. Listen closely in the play to see if you can catch them all.

  • A foregone conclusion.
  • Green-eyed monster.
  • I will wear my heart upon my sleeve.
  • Neither here nor there.
  • Vanish into thin air.
  • Chaos is come again.
  • Pomp and circumstance.
  • Enmesh – to wrap around or entangle, to trap
  • Hint – occasion or opportunity; suggestion or clue
  • Seamy-side – underside with stitches showing; degraded aspect or part; sordid side

Want to find out more? Check out Coined by Shakespeare by Jeffrey McQuain and Stanley Malless for an in-depth study and fun exploration of Shakespeare’s creative wordplay.