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Director of Community Engagement | Chicago Opera Theater

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, and implements COT’s internal and external EDI efforts. 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.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Community Engagement (40%)

  • 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

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (30%)

  • Work closely with leadership and outside consultants to facilitate continued staff and board EDI training and policies
  • Work with senior leadership to develop policies that ensure COT is an inclusive and nurturing environment for all staff, artists, and stakeholders, and complies with generally accepted best practices
  • Provide thought leadership for staff, artists, and audiences in exploration and celebration of culture, identity, and diversity through artistic expression
  • Stay informed on best practices in this sector to help COT evolve and change

Education and Learning (20%)

  • 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 (10%)

  • Serve on COT’s leadership team, collaborating on overall strategy and direction of the company
  • Oversee department budget
  • Oversee Education & Community Engagement Board Committee


COT is seeking someone who:

  • Has deep understanding of EDI issues and best practices
  • Sees programming possibilities outside what has historically been done
  • Is a strategic and critical thinker in collaborative community programming
  • Has excellent relationship-building skills and follow-through
  • Can demonstrate strong leadership and personnel management skills
  • Has strong organizational, written and verbal communication skills
  • Is an Experienced team leader and facilitator
  • Is passionate about music, theater, and performing arts; opera knowledge is a plus
  • Is innovative, creative, and flexible
  • A strong understanding of Chicago communities is a plus

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 $55,000 - $60,000 annually plus health, dental, and vision insurance; paid vacation, holidays, and sick days; life insurance; 403(b) plan, and other benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience. Position is full-time salaried, exempt.

Please submit resume and cover letter to

Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago