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Executive Producer vacancy

VACANCY: Executive Producer (National Arts Festival)

The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown is an 11-day arts event, during the course of which work spanning all genres is presented in over 60 venues across the City. With a four-decade track record of artistic excellence, and a renewed commitment to socio-cultural relevance, the Festival has an established audience but is constantly looking to grow, to innovate, to raise the bar of excellence, and to push artistic boundaries.

Most importantly, the Festival sees itself as an organisation that creates opportunities – for artists to present their work; for audiences to expand their horizons and experience new work; for creative entrepreneurs and those working in peripheral industries to derive economic benefit from the event; and for a broad range of stakeholders to engage with the arts.

We work as a small but effective team of passionate creative professionals. We are now seeking to appoint an Executive Producer to take the lead in the planning and implementation of the Festival’s Main programme. This is a new role to which we have been led as a result of an internal strategic review following the resignation of our Artistic Director, and as a way of responding to and evolving in line with best artistic practice in the industry in general and festivals in particular.

We’re looking for someone who is passionate about live performance and the visual arts – who is an avid consumer of the arts across all forms and expressions, who has strong opinions about what they see, and who loves engaging about the rich diversity and complexity of the South African arts and cultural landscape.

At the same time, we want someone who is super-organised and meticulous, administratively strong, and who has experience in working as a Producer in the arts… meaning they can see and create opportunity, can join the dots between sector role players and funders, and can plan and bring productions to our stages and exhibitions to our galleries.

We need an arch networker who leaves nothing to chance and who can inspire and manage a team of professionals to help them deliver on a shared vision.

Sound familiar? Sound like you? Then read on…


To clarify the role, an understanding of both the structure of the Festival programme and the structure of the Festival team is necessary.

The National Arts Festival comprises an open-access Fringe Programme, and a Main programme devised from responses to a call for proposals and through a series of strategic partnerships.

The Main programme comprises a number of elements. For the purposes of this application, two of these are particularly important:

Firstly, there is the Curated programme. Members of the Festival’s Artistic Committee will act as guest curators in each genre (theatre, dance, music, visual art and performance art). These curators will co-create, with the broader Committee and Executive Producer, a set of curatorial themes or threads each year to which the artistic community will be invited to respond with proposals. They will review the proposals and develop a programme within their genre and collaboratively with their peers. The Executive Producer will work with the Committee and Guest Curators in delivering the programme through administrative and management support.

The second component is the ‘Festival Choice’ programme, and this is where the Executive Producer’s own artistic sense and instinct will play a pivotal role. This component comprises a set of productions selected and negotiated by the Executive Producer on the basis of long-term institutional partnerships, and audience development and retention imperatives. There will be an element of brokering partnership arrangements and sponsorship deals necessary to see these productions onto the Festival’s stages.

Collectively, these two strands, together with various other elements that often have invited curators and co-ordinators (Arena Programme, Jazz, ThinkFest and Film Festivals and so on) make up the Festival’s Main programme.

Festival roles

Reporting directly to the CEO, the Executive Producer will:

  • Work with the Festival’s Artistic Committee which will, on a rotating basis, take the lead around selecting work for the Festival’s ‘Curated’ programme each year.
  • Design and negotiate with partner institutions to co-commission, co-present and stage work as part of a ‘Festival Choice’ programme.
  • Negotiate and manage all contracting and budgeting related to all aspects of the Main programme, and then take responsibility for expenditure tracking in line with agreed budgets.
  • Work as part of an ‘Artistic Cluster’ which includes the successful candidate, the Fringe Manager, and the Festival’s in house technical, operational, venue and production teams. This cluster will have oversight over the scheduling and planning required for the staging of the 700+ productions and events that make up the Festival’s Main and Fringe programmes.
  • Work with the Artistic Committee to identify artists for the Standard Bank Young Artist Award programme and to administer all artistic, award or development programmes that may be established.
  • Inform and advise the National Arts Festival around other artistic-related events and programmes on its calendar.


We’re looking for someone remarkable to take on this challenging role. If you:

  • Are based in Grahamstown, Johannesburg or Cape Town but, regardless of where your home base is, are prepared and available to spend a significant amount of time in Grahamstown throughout the year.
  • Have a recognised qualification and/or substantial relevant experience in the arts, artistic practice, arts administration or cultural leadership.
  • Are strongly networked in the arts sector with a close working knowledge of the major role players, institutions and stakeholders in the sector.
  • Have a broad knowledge of, and passion for, the arts and a keen sense of the nuances, issues and challenges of the South African arts sector.
  • Are computer literate with a good working knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint).
  • Are financially literate, and able to negotiate, devise and manage complex budgets according to standards of good governance and, where appropriate, in line with the Public Finance Management Act.
  • Have experience leading and working as part of a large team in a diverse, collaborative and consultative environment.
  • Are an excellent communicator.
  • Are able to write inspiring proposals and comprehensive reports to funders and partners.
  • Are a strong administrator.
  • Are a self starter
  • Are able to work to tight deadlines under immense pressure…

…then you are perfect for the role.

A market-related salary package – including both a basic salary (with company benefits such as medical aid and pension fund) and performance-related bonus – will be negotiated with the successful applicant.

The National Arts Festival is committed to ensuring diversity in its operations, and appointments will be made that support this principle.

Submit the following by way of application:

  • An up-to-date CV highlighting your experience, achievements and track record. Please include the names, email addresses and contact phone numbers of three professional references.
  • A covering letter of between 600 and 1000 words in which you outline the skills and experience you will bring to the job, and in which you motivate why you believe you are ideally suited to it.

Only electronic applications will be considered. These should be emailed to by no later than 1pm on Wednesday 15 June 2016. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence and no references will be contacted without the applicant’s prior approval.

  • If you have any questions related to this advertisement or the role in question, please direct them to
  • To ensure fairness, any questions of clarity around the role or process will be answered publicly on this page.