Position Description

Director, Comedy and Institutional Programming
Location Washington DC
Employment Duration Full Time Regular
Job Code 1335
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About The Kennedy Center

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” – President John F. Kennedy

The Kennedy Center is the nation’s cultural center and living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Located on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., the Center presents performances across all genres, and is also home to artistic affiliates Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra. 

At the Kennedy Center, we strive to foster belonging and empowerment at work. We are able to advance our mission because of our committed and passionate employees. We are fortunate to be able to leverage their diverse perspectives, life experiences and skills to inform how our workplace can be a safe, transparent, and replenishing community. The Kennedy Center is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant based on race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy or related condition, or any other basis protected by law. 

Mission Statement: As the nation's performing arts center, and a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, we are a leader for the arts across America and around the world, reaching and connecting with artists, inspiring and educating communities. We welcome all to create, experience, learn about, and engage with the arts. 

Why Join Us

We offer a comprehensive range of benefits to all full-time employees including: 

  • Enhanced safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including onsite vaccination/booster clinics for staff. We have implemented a mask mandate for all staff, artists, visitors, and volunteers. 
  • Staff offers for discount tickets
  • Retirement plan with organization matching (after 1 year of employment)
  • Qualifying employer for the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
  • Commuter programs including pre-tax options for discounted parking and SmartBenefits (WMATA)
  • Annual Leave, Sick Leave, and Personal Days available immediately upon hire
  • 11 paid holidays per year 
  • Medical, Dental, and Vision benefits with FSA and HSA options, and paid FMLA
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • We like to have fun! Check us out -  Kennedy Center National Dance Day 2019

Job Description

Reporting to the SVP Artistic Planning, The Director of Comedy and Institutional Programming will curate, present, and produce an annual season of Comedy programs, with an emphasis on revenue-generating performances, complimented by residencies and festivals. These season will make use of venues across the Kennedy Center, ranging from the 2400-seat Concert Hall to the more intimate Club at Studio K.

Additionally, they will oversee the Sound Health program. Launched in 2016 under the leadership of Renée Fleming and Dr. Francis Collins, Sound Health is a partnership between the Kennedy Center and National Institutes of Health, in association with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Kennedy Center seeks to provide a platform for artists, researchers, neuroscientists, and music therapists to bring this fascinating work to a broader public. The Director, Comedy and Sound Health will work with the program leaders to create mission-aligned programs and events.

Duties & Responsibilities

65%   Produce Comedy at the Kennedy Center series and annual comedy festivals and residencies. Duties include:

  • Curate and oversee annual comedy program, including booking/procurement of approx. 30 headline comedy performers in venues across Center at all capacity levels and associated messaging and logistics;  balance revenue-generating performances with mission-based programs and collaborations, reflective of Kennedy Center mission, audience and programming goals.
  • Management of Center’s relationship with The Second City including production and financial management of annual Summer residency in Theater Lab, and development and presentation of new works;
  • Work with external producers to book 3-5 weeks of touring companies, including winter residency in the Theater Lab;
  • Support Social Impact team for comedy programming on Millennium Stage;
  • Ongoing ideation and creation of festival and commissioning opportunities;
  • Ongoing management of Center’s relationship with relevant Comedy sponsors including talent procurement, sponsor engagement and development activities surrounding Comedy at the Kennedy Center activities.
  • Establish community partnerships to enhance program goals and connection to Kennedy Center Mission and Strategic Plan
  • Responsible for meeting revenue goals associated with all programs and overseeing onsite managements for all events.

15%   Oversee Kennedy Center Sound Health initiative with partners the National Institutes of Health, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Sound Health Network; create and produce events and series; oversee ongoing Sound Health ancillary activities, previous examples of which include The Second Saturday Series; Dance for PD; Weekly Yoga; and regular Millennium Stage events.

10%   Produce or oversee additional institutional programming as assigned.

10%   Budget management and entry for all managed programming and events, as approved by SVP Artistic Planning. Contract and deal oversight for all Comedy and Sound Health programming and events.                       

N/A   Other duties as assigned.

Key Qualifications

  • 8+ years’ experience in live event planning, booking, or producing
  • Proven ability to manage teams and thoughtfully oversee staff
  • Proven ability to develop and execute staff training sessions
  • Must be motivated with an “Everything is possible” attitude
  • Must be an active problem solver with excellent team building and interpersonal skills