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Executive Director

Job details

The New Zealand Dance Company
23 Jan 2020
Work type
Full time employment
Work classification
Performing Arts


  • New Executive Arts Leadership role available in 2020

Are you experienced in and passionate about the performing arts and what it offers to the diverse communities within Aotearoa/New Zealand, and internationally? Do you have a deep knowledge of and love for the arts sector and contemporary dance? Are you interested in the challenges of leading an exciting and dynamic arts organisation that is ambitious for the art form and our engagement with audiences and participants?

The New Zealand Dance Company is recruiting now

The New Zealand Dance Company seeks exceptional candidates for the role of Executive Director of its entrepreneurial, repertory Company. As joint Chief Executives (with the Artistic Director, both reporting to the Board), this appointment is critical to the future of the Company.

NZDC is a vibrant arts company funded by Creative New Zealand, Foundation North, Auckland Council and various trusts and foundations. The Company is committed to creating a sustainable, permanent, high-calibre dance company, with an Auckland home that contributes to the fabric of NZ culture and is dedicated to nurturing NZ’s finest contemporary dance practitioners.


The Company has established a very successful history in the time since it was founded by Shona McCullagh and Frances Turner in 2011. While a Company of only nine full-time artistic and managerial positions and several more regular artistic and technical collaborators, the nature of the environment in which they exist demands a level of sophistication and excellence in all that they do. This is as true off stage as it is on.

After almost a decade leading the Company Ms McCullagh, Chief Executive/Artistic Director – MNZM, NZ Arts Foundation Laureate, Westpac/Fairfax Woman of Influence (Arts), Hynds Creative Entrepreneur of the Year (2015) – has been appointed to one of the most prestigious performing arts roles in New Zealand, Artistic Director of the Auckland Arts Festival.

The Board is excited for Ms McCullagh and acknowledges her outstanding achievements with the Company – from the impossible dream of its inception through its evolution today as the country’s only contemporary dance company employing a core of full-time dancers, touring widely both domestically and internationally.

The Board recognises Ms McCullagh’s uniqueness and has concluded that the best way to ensure her outstanding legacy is augmented and further developed is to create two new leadership roles within the Company – Artistic Director and Executive Director – coequals responsible as joint chief executives for taking the Company forward into the future.

What is offered?

The Board is excited by its future opportunities as the Company takes the next steps in its evolution.

The Executive Director role (along with the Artistic Director role) is without question among the most important within the dance sector, with the ability to exercise significant influence on the development of the sector and the vibrancy of the Tāmaki Makaurau, national and international arts ecology. The role is demanding, and will require a high level of commitment, but equally will be exceptionally rewarding in a professional sense for the successful candidate.

You will be leading an outstanding team of very capable staff, each committed to the Company’s kaupapa, and have proven your value, contribution and resilience. The Board is deeply involved with the Company and has taken this opportunity to reflect on its role and future. It is seeking to expand the Board membership from the current five to nine Trustees, and a recruitment process has commenced.

The Company has a friendly and flexible work environment in the CBD in an area that is exceptionally well served by public transport. Its administrative home is a recently refurbished space with specialist dance studios, where it is the anchor tenant. You will be embedded in the performing arts world of Aotearoa.

The salary on offer for this role will be competitive within the New Zealand arts sector. As one of the two  executive leaders of the Company your working hours will be flexible and determined by the strategic and operational needs of the Company.

Who will you be working with?

You will work closely with the organisation’s Chair and Board, its Artistic Director and NZDC’s diverse and talented creative, production, producing, marketing and administrative teams, with the dancers at the heart of the Company. You will have extensive outside contact with various funders, potential funders, national and international arts community representatives and colleagues, political figures in both central and local governments, and their administrative bodies.

Who do we envisage attracting to the role?

You will bring a background that includes extensive successful experience at senior levels within the performing arts sector. If you also bring senior commercial exposure that will be most welcome and relationships within the corporate and philanthropic communities are an advantage. You will demonstrate previous Board reporting experience, and you will possess superior stakeholder management and leadership skills, including a commitment and demonstrated success in developing and maintaining exceptional levels of staff/artist engagement with the realisation of other’s potential. You will excite us with your vision for the Company’s sustainable future, be able to work under pressure and manage multiple priorities and have excellent organisational and problem solving skills. You will probably have 10 or more years’ experience in similar or related roles, and you will be tertiary trained in a relevant discipline.

This is an exciting opportunity to help take an ambitious NZ arts company to the next stage in its development as a legacy arts organisation. The Company wants to be locally loved, and internationally admired. It has a really exciting team of artists and managers and is looking for someone to join with them in the grand adventure that is being undertaken. You will enjoy the collaborative and professional environment and contribute to collective achievements.

How to apply

To apply in strict confidence now, please complete the ‘apply for this job’ application form, attaching your cover letter and CV. Applications close on Thursday, 23 January at 5.00pm. Emails will be electronically acknowledged and further correspondence may be by email.

To view a Position Description please click here.

A Candidate Briefing document will be available in the new year. Please email Kelly Smith (Personal Assistant) at kelly.smith@sheffield.co.nz advising her of your wish to receive this document, and she will do so as soon as it becomes available.

General information about the Company can be found at www.nzdc.org.nz.

For more information please phone Raewyn Brown on +64 21 917 203 or Ian Taylor on +64 27 487 7424.

To apply use application form or email cvakl@sheffield.co.nz

Written by


20 Dec 2019