After more than six months with a shorthanded leadership team, the Guthrie Theater will be back to full power soon.
The region’s flagship theater announced Wednesday that it had hired a new managing director and development director, both critical roles on the theater’s five-person senior management team.
James Haskins, managing director of the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, will take the same title at the Guthrie. A former actor, director and dramaturge, the Gettysburg, Pa., native has worked at several theaters across the U.S., including New York City’s Circle Repertory Company and Seattle’s Group Theatre. Praised by Guthrie artistic director Joseph Haj as a “thoughtful and compelling thinker and communicator,” Haskins will join the Guthrie on March 25.
Incoming development director Mollie Alexander Hogan will beat Haskins to the theater by a week, starting her new job March 18. Currently in the same role at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the native Kentuckian also worked in arts administrations at Chicago’s About Face Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance. The hiring committee was especially impressed by her “strategic thinking, drive and data-driven approach,” Haj said.
Both the development and managing director positions have been vacant since Danielle St. Germain-Gordon left the former job in May and Jennifer Bielstein left the latter position in June. Another member of the Guthrie leadership team, production director David Stewart, also resigned last summer. Rebecca Cribbin was hired to replace him in December.
Management Consultants for the Arts, the national firm the Guthrie used for both hires, recruited about a dozen candidates for each role. Haj met with seven candidates for both titles, with four or five finalists in each position visiting the theater to meet with board members and staff.
According to Haj, one complicating factor in recruiting senior managers was an unprecedented number of theater leaders departing their jobs in recent years. “The field has never seen this much transition in the 70-year history of the not-for-profit theater movement,” Haj said by phone while vacationing in Florida.
On the upside, he added, the theater’s search for new leaders confirmed that the Guthrie remains “among a handful of theaters people desire to work for.”