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Director of Community Engagement

Expanding the tradition of opera as a living art form includes authentically connecting and engaging with our community at-large. Chicago Opera Theater (“COT”) seeks a creative, collaborative, community-minded leader to guide the company’s Community Engagement department, which oversees COT’s partnerships with Chicago-area organizations and institutions. This position will lead a department that includes our community and education programs, and serve as a thought leader with regard to COT’s comprehensive community engagement strategies, messaging, and program evaluation. This position serves on COT’s senior team, oversees full-time education staff, and reports directly to the General Director.

Primary responsibilities:

Community Engagement (70%)

  • Create annual and long-term engagement strategy encompassing community engagement, patron and audience development events, in partnership with marketing and development activities
  • Work with advancement and artistic teams to develop engagement events aimed at building audiences’ trust, ownership, and enjoyment of opera in communities historically and presently excluded by our art form
  • Identify and create meaningful, mutually beneficial partnerships with community organizations
  • Develop systems to evaluate effectiveness of community programs

Education and Learning (10%)

  • Oversee staff who manage and execute COT’s educational programming in CPS schools
  • Strategically assess, evaluate, and give assistance and feedback to learning & training programs utilizing company logic models, EDI goals, and learning frameworks

Administrative (20%)

  • Serve on COT’s leadership team, collaborating on overall strategy and direction of the company
  • Work closely with leadership and outside consultants for continued staff and board EDI training and policies
  • Work with senior leadership to ensure COT is an inclusive and nurturing environment for all staff, artists, and stakeholders, and complies with generally accepted best practices
  • Oversee department budget
  • Oversee Community Engagement Board Committee


COT is seeking someone who:

  • Sees programming possibilities outside what’s been historically done
  • Is a strategic and critical thinker in collaborative community programming
  • Has excellent relationship building skills and follow-through
  • Committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion and supporting an institution striving to be anti-racist
  • Can demonstrate strong leadership and personnel management skills
  • Has strong organizational, written and verbal communication skills
  • Experienced team leader and facilitator
  • A strong understanding of Chicago communities is a plus
  • Is passionate about music, theater, and performing arts; opera knowledge is a plus
  • Is innovative, creative, and flexible

College degree preferred; commensurate experience will be considered. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), immigrants, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Salary range is $35,000 - $40,000 annually plus a 403(b) plan, paid time off, flexible & remote work options, complimentary tickets, and other benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience. Position is part-time, 28 hours per week, with potential to become full-time in the future.

Please let us know how you heard about this opportunity along with submitting a resume and cover letter to

Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago, IL