Public Application Cover letter

Lots and lots and lots has been and continues (great comments in those last two via Praxis) to be said about the situation at Factory.Now the official call has come.

I have been thinking about buildings and space a lot recently. Thinking about finding a home for Small Wooden Shoe and my work, as well as about community centres, curating and supporting artists to make work that matters in our world. I've been thinking about change and the space for positive engagement in creating that change.

Factory Theatre, in this moment of transformation, might be a place for such a thing.

I also think there needs to be options other than: “I will work for this Board” or “The status quo must be restored” “I will only work for Ken” and “Whoever signs the cheque is good by me.” “Any one who applies is a douche bag.” or "This is a chance of a lifetime.”

It is up to us to open those options.

So here is the beginning of my public application to Factory Theatre. I’m going to propose something different than a standard AD relationship, since I don’t want to abandon the work, relationships or investment I’ve created with Small Wooden Shoe – there’s a problem with emerging Artistic Directors abandoning the history they’re making in order to maintain the historic structures. And the models are more malleable than we admit. There will be more coming, but here is the first part.

Thoughts welcome.

A draft of a first page of A public application to the Factory Theatre position.

Dear Search Committee,

I am applying for the position of Artistic Director of Factory Theatre. We are in a period of change in Toronto, in theatre production and in the world. Cosmetic change to our organizations and ways of working is not going to be enough. Embracing the history that got us here, we must also alter the systems, structures and relationships at the core of what we do. The internet, changing economies, governments and demographics are creating problems and possibilities for all of us.  As Artistic Director, I believe I can contribute to Factory Theatre becoming a leader in the ever-emerging future.

I appreciate your promise of confidentiality, however, given Mr. Gass’ abrupt dismissal and the protests that resulted and continue, I feel it is important to apply in public.

In order to continue with the process, I have one wish: Even disregarding blame, accusation and specifics, the current position is untenable for significant artistic leadership since community, supporter and artistic faith in the organization has been deeply shaken and nothing is possible without that faith.

Given this, a refresh of the governance of the organization will be needed. Towards that end, I request a binding written commitment from all current Board members to move on by January March 1, 2013. If hired, I would form a committee of leaders and thinkers in theatre, non-profit and organizational best practices to conceptualize and recruit a new Board of Director and a new structural relationship.

The month of December will be enough to transfer institutional knowledge.

In our shared desire for the strength and vitality of the Factory Theatre, I hope you will agree that this is a required step for the organization. Agreement on this point should precede further conversation.

Sincerely, Jacob Zimmer