Head of Theatre & Circus

Decision date for applications: 05 October 2007

The Arts Council is currently undertaking a major re-organisation in an effort to better equip itself for delivery of its strategy for the period 2006 - 2010, Partnership for the Arts. This re-organisation aims to achieve more effective and efficient business processes in order to provide excellent customer service to the public, the arts community and other key stakeholders within the public and voluntary sector.

Head of Theatre & Circus

This role offers an exciting opportunity to establish a new team which will lead on delivering the Arts Council’s strategic objectives for Theatre and Circus. The team forms part of the new re-organised structure at the Arts Council and the post-holder will have the opportunity to develop and shape the work of this team from the outset.

Role overview

Manage all elements of the Arts Council’s policy formulation, development initiatives, grant and relationship management in the area of Theatre & Circus; manage and motivate the Theatre & Circus team; collaborate with the Arts Director, the departmental management team and other staff in the implementation of specific cross-organisational projects to deliver the objectives of Partnership for the Arts.

Principal responsibilities


  • Develop relevant policy and appropriate strategies for the development of theatre & circus in line with Partnership for the Arts
  • Customise the Arts Council’s support programmes to meet the development needs of theatre & circus


  • Design and develop a work programme which implements the Arts Council’s overall strategic goals for theatre & circus.
  • Gather and maintain key intelligence on theatre & circus and maintain sensitive two-way communications with relevant key individuals and organisations.
  • Advise the Arts Council on the best use of funds and the optimum deployment of resources for grant and non-grant supports.
  • Lead and manage the on-going development of relationships with relevant funded organisations and the wider arts community.
  • Develop in collaboration with Arts Director an annual budget and manage performance against this budget with assistance from Finance as required.
  • Collaborate with other managers for the effective utilisation of all resources so that peaks and troughs are managed as effectively as possible.
  • Collaborate with the Information and Research manager to ensure that all relevant research projects are well designed and brought to fruition to the required quality.
  • Manage, through the relevant advisers and support staff, the achievement of all of the objectives of the team, as set out in the team responsibilities section below.
  • Ensure that policy and development issues fully inform the grant-making and other activities.

General management

  • Lead, motivate and manage a team of Advisers and Support Staff to the delivery of excellent customer service and the delivery of Partnership for the Arts within a focused team environment.
  • Agree with all advisers and support staff key work priorities on an annual (and on-going) basis.
  • Manage the team’s input into the various decision-making processes (SMT, Committees, Panels, Council) in liaison with the Operations team.
  • Manage the records and information needs of the team
  • Manage the inputting of Arts Council grant decisions onto the MIS system.
  • Manage one’s own Health and Safety at work and ensure that one does not personally put at risk the Health and Safety of others.
  • Provide, as directed from time to time, appropriate assistance to other sections/departments where urgent and important work peaks occur
  • Undertake other responsibilities and duties as may be agreed from time to time  with management

Person spcification

The post holder will have a third level qualification (or equivalent); a minimum of five years relevant experience, and:

  • a proven track record in and demonstrable commitment to the development of theatre & circus;
  • a keen understanding of the policy environment for arts development, in particular for theatre & circus and its related areas;
  • an ability to think analytically and communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively;
  • good interpersonal skills, including an ability to listen and negotiate;
  • evidence of experience in strategy development and implementation;
  • an detailed knowledge and understanding of the key strategic issues relevant to arts development in the current environment;
  • excellent standards of written and oral communication;
  • a commitment to high standards of public service;
  • experience in management and administration.

Responsibilities of Theatre & Circus Team

Focus aea rsponsibilities


  • The Council’s policies and practices as they relate to the training and professional development needs of theatre & circus artists; improvements in the living and working conditions of freelance theatre & circus professionals.


  • The Council’s funding programmes in theatre & circus - at present this includes grants to individuals, project, annual, programme and regular funding.
  • The proposal of improvements and refinements to the Council’s funding programmes as they affect theatre & circus, to ensure an appropriate balance of support to organisations across the spectrum of genres, styles, scales and settings.
  • The maintenance of good quality relationships and being familiar with the work of theatre & circus organisations and the monitoring and evaluation of the work of these organisations.


  • The maintenance of strategic partnerships appropriate to the development of theatre & circus in Ireland.

In context

  • The proposal of policy and action plans for (a) theatre & circus in the Irish language;  (b) participatory theatre & circus;  (c) other areas identified in policy reviews.
  • To support organisations fostering amateur and voluntary theatre & circus practice, in particular through offering opportunities for increased interaction between professional practitioners and the youth and amateur sector.

Advocacy and iitiatives 

  • The proposal of development projects and interventions and other work that the Council will carry out directly to support theatre & circus, for example the social welfare status of freelance theatre & circus practitioners.


  • Contribute to a new theatre & circus touring system that has the confidence of audiences, companies and venues.
  • The support of companies serving diverse audiences.

Policy mking and rsearch 

  • The regular updating of the Council’s policies for theatre & circus
  • The undertaking of initiatives in theatre & circus on a phased basis, working closely with individuals and organisations including: improving information and communication systems among the theatre & circus community; creating a programme to assist with mentor relationships.

Corporate services 

  • The regular liaison with Press Relations in respect of opportunities for press coverage of issues related to theatre & circus
  • The on-going contribution that will be necessary in support of the roles of Information and Research, ICT and Human Resources as their work and initiatives interact with theatre & circus and the management team with Arts Department 1.


  • The theatre & circus team will provide advice on theatre & circus issues to relevant other teams, to the Council, to Government and other relevant parties as appropriate.

Cross organisational projects 

  • The team will participate in projects with other teams, and will have responsibility to lead one of the major cross-artform or cross-departmental projects as set out in the business plan.

To apply for this position

Please outline why you are interested in the role, enclosing your CV to hr@artscouncil.ie or post to Human Resources, The Arts Council, 70 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 no later than 5pm, Friday 5 October 2007.

To download a copy of this job specification please click on the link below

  •  (0.12 MB, MS Word)
Tulips in Calary Studio, (oil on paper) - Camille Souter, 1983.
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Tulips in Calary Studio, (oil on paper) - Camille Souter, 1983, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

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