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The Dallas Theater Center's New Managing Director

by Jerome Weeks 11 Feb 2011 4:20 PM

Replacing the departing Mark Hadley is Heather Kitchen from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. Her big credential (other than a willingness to leave the Bay Area)? Over 14 years, she grew the ACT’s budget from $11 million to $19 million. The DTC’s budget? $8 million.


The Dallas Theater Center has appointed a new managing director. Her name is Heather M. Kitchen, and KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports she has significant credentials when it comes to fundraising — as well as managing.

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Last July, Mark Hadley announced he was leaving after six years as the Dallas Theater Center’s managing director — to work for a Lutheran church in Arlington. Since then, the Theater Center has been looking  someone to run the business side — from customer service and office management to raising money.  Heather Kitchen has worked mostly in Canada, where she worked as stage manager or general manager for such companies as the renowned Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario.

But her big achievement was running San Francisco’s  highly regarded American Conservatory Theater the past 14 seasons. As executive director, Kitchen helped grow the company’s budget by more than $8 million – that’s equal to the Dallas Theater Center’s entire current budget. In addition, Kitchen created a $31 million endowment – the goal had been only $25 million. She also expanded ACT’s graduate theater program, doubling the number of scholarship dollars.

Kitchen says she was impressed by the passion of the people she’s met at the Theater Center and their eagerness for improvement. In fact, before she came for any interview, Kitchen spent four days scouting out Dallas.

Kitchen: “I really liked the Arts District very much, and most importantly I really liked the art that I saw.”

Kitchen says her primary goal is simply to get full houses for the Theater Center’s shows. But she sees that as just one part of a larger goal – the need to make the entire Arts District full of life with people going from the concert hall to a restaurant to the theater.

Kitchen: “This is an amazing street, and I would like to see it as a bustling arts complex where everybody feels comfortable walking in the doors. We are all going to rise or fall together, and we need to rise.”

Kitchen officially begins as the Theater Center’s managing director on March 14.

The full press release follows:

Dallas Theater Center Announces Appointment of Heather M. Kitchen as Managing Director

DALLAS (Feb. 10, 2011) – The Dallas Theater Center Board of Trustees announced today the appointment of Heather M. Kitchen as managing director of the 52-year-old organization.  The appointment follows the departure of previous Managing Director Mark Hadley in December 2010. Kitchen will formally assume her post on March 14, 2011.

“We are thrilled to welcome Heather to Dallas,” says DTC Chairman of the Board Frank Risch. “We feel very fortunate to be able to attract to DTC someone with the long experience and record of great accomplishment that she brings with her. In partnership with Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty, we will have a leadership team that will bring DTC to new levels of attainment as a theater and as one of the most important arts institutions in Dallas and all of North Texas.”

A native of Toronto, Kitchen has held key leadership positions at several high-profile performing arts organizations including her most recent position as executive director at the acclaimed American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco. At A.C.T., Kitchen led the expansion of the company’s operating budget of $11 million to more than $19 million, helped to successfully complete fundraising for a $31 million endowment fund (exceeding the campaign’s $25 million goal), eliminated an accumulated operating deficit of over $2 million, increased fundraising from $2.4 million to more than $10 million per annum, and grew audiences to more than 200,000 patrons per year, among other considerable accomplishments over 14 seasons.

Kitchen holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo and a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business.  She has been an active community leader serving on the board of directors of, Big Brothers and Sisters of San Francisco and the Peninsula, the esteemed Commonwealth Club of California and on the San Francisco leadership board of the American Red Cross.  Kitchen ranked among the San Francisco Business Times’ top 100 “Most Important Women in Business in the Bay Area” five times.

“I am delighted to be joining the Dallas Theater Center family and the Dallas community at-large.  With the artistic leadership of Kevin Moriarty, the inspiring and steadfast support of an active board of trustees, outstanding artists and a tirelessly dedicated team of administrators, Dallas Theater Center is poised for great success as it enters a new chapter in the company’s illustrious history,” says Kitchen. “I could not imagine a better time, place or opportunity to engage myself with a theater and community as culturally rich and vibrant as is evident in the growing arts district and throughout all of Dallas and North Texas.”

“Heather brings to DTC an expansive portfolio of leadership experience from some of North America’s most respected cultural institutions,” said Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty. “I have long-admired the tremendous successes Heather fostered while at the helm of A.C.T., one of the nation’s most highly respected regional theaters. I am incredibly excited to welcome her to Dallas and partner with her to grow, deepen and expand DTC’s commitment to artistic excellence, educational outreach, and community engagement. I’m certain she will quickly grow to love DTC and Dallas as much as I do.”

Kitchen will join Moriarty as the co-leader of DTC, and will have primary responsibility over the theater’s operating, revenue, marketing, development and administrative functions.  Together with Moriarty, the two will be jointly responsible for the development and implementation of strategies designed to help the theater achieve its artistic and financial goals.