Chief Executive Officer, Historic Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts

Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
  • December 17, 2022

Historic Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts invites applications for the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The Organization:

The mission of Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts (THCPA) is to ensure the professional operation and maintenance of Historic Thalian Hall as a quality setting with the best theatrical spaces and systems for the performing arts, supporting a broad range of cultural and educational activities available to the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, Southeastern North Carolina, and its visitors.

Historic Thalian Hall is the symbol and hub of Wilmington’s cultural heritage, a venue that annually serves more than thirty regional theatre and dance groups plus various musicians, civic organizations, educational institutions, film and television production companies, and film festivals.

Owned by the City of Wilmington, Historic Thalian Hall opened in 1858 and hosted such celebrities as John Phillip Sousa, Booker T. Washington, Oscar Wilde, Maurice Barrymore, Buffalo Bill Cody, William Jennings Bryan, Sissieretta Jones, Joseph Jefferson, and Caterina Jarboro, among many others. In the 21st Century, other celebrities have included Frank Capra, Jr., Nick Nolte, Mark Ruffalo, Isabella Rossellini, and Mike Wiley. Other stars have appeared in film and television scenes shot on stage: Andy Griffith, Sandra Bullock, Jason Robards, Julia Roberts, and Jessica Chastain. Historic Thalian Hall has one of the oldest known painted Grand Drapes (1858) of its kind in the Western hemisphere and the only known and operating Thunder Roll system in the United States.

One of the most beautiful historic theatres in the United States, Thalian Hall’s Main Stage seats 640, with the 90-seat Ruth and Bucky Stein Theatre, and a ballroom. It welcomes more than 80,000 people annually and hosts performances and events almost every day of the year. In addition, Historic Thalian Hall is often rented by film and television producers.

The late Tony Rivenbark served as executive and artistic director for 42 years. His tenure fundamentally transformed Thalian Hall into the vibrant civic and cultural center the community cherishes today.

In 1983, he championed efforts to develop a Master Plan for Thalian Hall, and led successive campaigns for capital improvements. These included the expansion of the theatre, the renovation of the stage, expanded lobbies, ADA accessibility, backstage improvements, the reconfiguration of the main stage seating, the installation of a grand chandelier, the creation of a studio theatre, and more.

He was an administrator, historian, fundraiser, archivist, author, performer, producer, and visionary who mentored countless people in the arts and preservation field regionally, nationally, and internationally through his work at Historic Thalian Hall and the League of Historic American Theatres.

An active Board of Trustees of 17, an enthusiastic volunteer usher corps, and a professional staff of 13 support THCPA’s on-going operations, preservation activities, educational work, and its own presenting series: The Main Attractions and Legend Series, approximately 30 nights a year and the annual Pied Piper performances on the Main Stage for all students in 1st and 2nd grades in New Hanover County.

The Position:

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for the successful leadership and management of Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts. The CEO works in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, the City of Wilmington, and the wider community to create and implement a long-term vision and strategic plan to sustain, preserve, and enhance Historic Thalian Hall and its role as a cultural hub in Wilmington, NC with a regional, state, national, and international presence.

We seek a leader who understands the wider impact that an historic theatre can have on the life of a broader community, focused on providing a home for local arts producers and leading Historic Thalian Hall through its next stages of development. Knowledge of producing, presenting, and programming are helpful when collaborating with tenants, staff, community partners, and others involved in the performing arts at Historic Thalian Hall. The successful candidate will possess a passion for our historic theatre, the theatre in general, and the performing arts in addition to having outstanding business and managerial skills.

Thalian Hall needs an articulate, visionary leader who can help grow and sustain THCPA through the continued professionalization of its income development capability, increasing its long-term ability to raise capital funds for important physical restoration, upkeep, expansion, and growth possibilities that will allow this 164-year-old community asset to continue to thrive.

We need a collaborative and politically savvy leader who will continue THCPA’s strong relationship with the City of Wilmington’s staff and elected officials.  The buildings housing Historic Thalian Hall and City Hall are literally connected and share some areas.  The CEO and staff of THCPA work with the city on many levels on a regular basis.

On behalf of the City of Wilmington, THCPA manages Historic Thalian Hall and portions of City Hall including entrances/exits, lobbies, atriums, and the room housing City Council Chambers in City Hall. THCPA recommends maintenance and major projects annually for the entire facility to the City and negotiates and handles emergencies or other issues that come up. THCPA has oversight of scheduling/logistics for Historic Thalian Hall and City Hall (the seat of municipal government).

Areas that report to the Chief Executive Officer include operations, development, fundraising, marketing, technical direction, facilities management, human resources, and programming.

The Chief Executive Officer reports to the Board of Trustees and is charged with sustaining the operation fiscally through excellent management and business/financial accountability.

The City:

From the beautiful beaches to the downtown river district and Riverwalk that skirts the storied Cape Fear River to the new and modern facilities that are remaking the riverfront’s skyline, Wilmington, NC is a must-see southern destination. Rivaling Charleston and Savannah in its charm and history and voted America’s Best Riverfront, Wilmington serves as the portal to all this area has to offer.

You’ll love Wilmington’s riverfront, historic neighborhoods, tidal areas, our beach communities, and everything in between. Enjoy a relaxed coastal lifestyle with a dynamic arts and cultural scene including EUE Screen Gems Film and Television Studios, Cape Fear Community College, and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

The Greater Wilmington area has more artists per capita than many major cities. Historic Thalian Hall and its many collaborative community partners continue to make the Greater Wilmington area more visible as an arts destination. Be a part of a unique and beautiful community where all the arts are converging including theatre, film, visual, culinary, music, dance, and beyond.


Required Professional Skills and Abilities:

The ideal candidate will be collaborative and have proven success in a leadership position with performing arts centers, preferably with historic theatres, coupled with the ability to excite, mobilize, and unify a community, as an industry professional with existing networks in the cultural sector.

Experience in government relations and advocacy, knowledge of capital/endowment campaigns and a successful track record as a senior administrator with performing arts facilities and project management are desirable.

Essential characteristics of the new CEO include: being an articulate champion for the performing arts; fundraising experience; excellent analytical, financial, and organizational skills; a consensus-building managerial style; political savvy; and the ability to deal respectfully and wisely with a broad spectrum of personalities and constituencies.

A master’s degree in arts, arts management or not-for-profit administration is preferred (but experience can be considered in place of the educational requirement), in addition to five years senior leadership experience of increasing responsibility in a performing arts facility that demonstrates the key knowledge, abilities, and skills outlined here.

COMPENSATION: $100,000 to $135,000, plus benefits package.


Please send applications with cover letter, resume, and a list of references by Friday, February 24, 2023 to:


Margaret Genovese

Senior Partner

Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates

77 Carlton Street, Suite 1103

Toronto, Ontario

Canada M5B 2J7


Additional information:;


THCPA does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex (including sexual orientation & gender identity), pregnancy, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, military status, disability, or genetic information. THCPA is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.