Search process for new DCPA Artistic Director unveiled

Book of Will. AdamsViscom
‘The Book of Will,’ which debuted in January, is poised to become one of the most successful new plays in the nearly 40-year history of the DCPA Theatre Company. Photo by Adams VisCom.

Denver Center President and CEO Janice Sinden has announced the process by which a replacement will be chosen for Kent Thompson, whose 12-year tenure as Artistic Director of the DCPA Theatre Company ended in March. 

A 16-member team of DCPA Trustees, Theatre Company employees and DCPA staff has been created to lead the search for Thompson’s successor. “This group participated in several listening sessions with Theatre Company staff to assess the characteristics and qualities that are necessary in its next leader. Their input helped establish the organization’s priorities in filling this key position,” Sinden said.

John Haynes Quote Today, Sinden announced that John Haynes, President of Bard Arts Consulting, will lead the search for the new Artistic Director. Haynes is something of a rarity in the field of performing-arts search consultants: He has actually run performing-arts organizations himself. He has been the CEO of Performing Arts Center Eastside (PACE) in Bellevue, Wash., and the California Center for the Arts in San Diego. He was also the Executive Director of the University of Notre Dame Performing Arts, and the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis. And he was President of the Western Arts Alliance for eight years.

Haynes is a native of nearby Santa Fe, N.M. That is relevant to this assignment, he said, “because I think there is much to be said for having an organic understanding of the cultures and traditions of the region. … I am attuned to the land and the people and the rich cultural tapestry of our cultural life.”

Haynes said he fully understands the significance of the DCPA opening. “This is a humbling process,” said Haynes, whose previous careers have included a stint as an executive for CBS Television. “I am personally and fully invested in the process, and wholly accountable for the outcome.”   

Sinden said she was announcing the search process and the Haynes appointment in the interest of inclusiveness and transparency.

“With a 25-year background as head of prominent performing-arts organizations, including a producing theatre company, John brings a keen insight into the requirements of this position,” Sinden said. “He will combine the input of the search committee with additional on-site interviews to develop a position description that clearly identifies the skills, experience, education and leadership style needed to continue the Theatre Company’s success and identify exciting opportunities for its future.” 

Once Haynes completes the position description, he will disseminate it widely; recruit and interview the most highly qualified candidates, and propose a short list of finalists, Sinden said. 

Sinden said she expects Haynes’ search process to take several months, but she said there is no target date for having a new Artistic Director in place because of the likelihood that the final selection may have contractual obligations to honor.

“We are committed to finding the right person to fulfill the qualities that our team has determined are crucial to the role,” Sinden said. “Therefore, we will not rush to select a candidate if he or she does not meet our criteria.

“We are excited to take the next step in our search and are eagerly awaiting the next act in our company’s future.”

Applications are now being accepted for the DCPA Artistic Director. Interested applicants should review the full job description and submit their materials to

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