Are you passionate about the Arts & Culture industry and interested in joining SA’s premier opera company?  An opportunity is available for a Managing Director.

Position: Managing Director

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

FTE (Full Time Equivalent): This position is a full-time, four-year appointment

Reports to: The Chairperson of the Board of Directors. Direct reports into this job are the Artistic Director, Financial Manager, Head of Production, Marketing & Communications Manager and Development staff. The Managing Director also has co-oversight of the Youth Development and Education Coordinator positions, shared with the Artistic Director. The position is supported by a full time Executive Assistant.

Company Overview

Established in 1999 as a non-profit performing arts company, Cape Town Opera (CTO) is based at the Artscape Theatre Centre in the Foreshore area of Cape Town and is currently South Africa’s only full-time opera company. Annual activities include an average of four fully staged opera productions in Cape Town, national music education programs for primary and secondary school learners, and international touring of operas and concerts. The company has a current staff compliment of 21 Chorus members and Young Artist soloists as well as 16 administrators and management, overseen by the Board of Directors.

Key responsibilities of the Managing Director are:


  1. Maintains the strategic plan, ensuring that it is continually communicated to all key stakeholders including but not limited to the Board of Directors, staff, artistic and educational partners, donors and sponsors;
  2. Maintains connection between artistic, marketing and educational plans related to approved budgets, financial forecasts, local and international operations;
  3. Ensures the continued development of artistic and educational plans and budgets for future seasons and financial years; and
  4. Ensures overall company compliance as a South African-based public benefit organisation and non-profit company with related SA- and UK-trusts, and as an Artscape Associated Company.


Relating to The Cape Town Opera Company Board of Directors; and, the UK Friends of Cape Town Opera Trust, the CTO Endowment Trust and the DUET Endowment Trust:

  1. Facilitates communication between the CTO Endowment Trust trustees, and the CTO Board; between the UK Friends of CTO Trust and CTO; and the DUET Endowment trustees and CTO as needed;
  2. Represents and reports on CTO activities and attends by invitation: CTO Board meetings,   CTO Endowment Trust meetings, and DUET Trust meetings. Serves on selected CTO board subcommittees by invitation.
  3. Devises communications and potential programmes related to maintaining UK/SA relations and donations, in consultation with the Artistic Director and in concert with and supported by the UK Friends of Cape Town Opera trustees.


Department staff positions: 1 FTE Financial Manager (FM) and 1 FTE Human Resource Administrator (HRM)

  1. Ensures the company’s overall operations as a going concern, non-profit business;
  2. Has the capacity to understand, interpret and communicate audited financial statements and basic accounting reports to various stakeholders;
  3. In coordination with the FM, maintains oversight of the annual budget, cash flow and actual vs budget reports; negotiates changes in income and expense plans with departmental heads, when necessary;
  4. Calculates budgets for touring and new projects;
  5. Approves key ad hoc HR hires against approved budgets; oversees the FM and HR Administrator’s processes related to the incoming Artistic Director hire; deliberates with FM and HRA on policies and communicates any changes with staff to Board subcommittee; oversees and assures compliance with any labour dispute processes; interprets general labour laws in relation to CTO HR hires as needed; conducts annual staff reviews;
  6. Ensures financial and organisational compliance is in place on a timely basis (audits, tax clearance certificates, annual reports, etc).


Department staff positions: 0, 75 FTE Grant Writer and 0, 50 FTE Fundraiser

  1. Maintains relationships and communication, both written and in-person, with designated key donors within patron, trust/foundation and government portfolios in South Africa and abroad;
  2. Oversees staff work portfolios including: maintaining donated income forecasts tied to cash flow and CTO annual budget; ensuring funders are accurately acknowledged and projects reflect grant stipulations and requirements; and occasional editing and oversight of proposal narratives, content and format;
  3. Devises and drafts proposals for selected key grant and sponsorship applications.


Department staff positions: 1 FTE Producer and 1 FTE Artistic Production Intern

Serves as key contact and oversight for active and potential touring projects, including:

  1. in consultation with the AD , developing new or expanded touring possibilities based on existing projects, and/or international artistic and/or training partnerships to benefit CTO;
  2. budget calculations in both South African and foreign currency;
  3. communications with relevant partners (touring hosts, diplomatic and press partners, etc);
  4. liaising with AD on touring parameters and requirements;
  5. awareness of country-specific requirements with visas, shipping, regulations, etc which may impact budgets, scheduling and casting.


Department staff: 4 FTE department heads, 2 FTE Producer/Artistic Production positions noted in Touring; 1 FTE Chorus master; ,50 FTE Artistic Administrator, 2 FTE Youth Development Coordinators, 4 FTE Production/Wardrobe/Transport staff, 1 FTE Graphic Designer.

In collaboration with and oversight of the financial, production, marketing and artistic department heads and the Youth Development and Education coordinators for opera productions, concerts, music training and youth education programmes:

  1. Drafts and communicate co-partnership project agreements;
  2. Negotiates orchestra musician hires and occasional venue hire agreements;
  3. Ensures donors are engaged with and aware of funded programmes;
  4. Oversees programmatic changes (cancellations, delays, major artistic replacements, etc) and manages its impact on cash flow, agreements with funders, staffing and partner commitments (ie venues, musicians, etc) and overall company operations;
  5. Continues discussions and planning with external artistic and funding partners for future projects in development;
  6. Maintains detailed, continually updated knowledge and awareness of CTO’s schedule and its impact on cash flow, creation and manufacturing of productions, touring requirements and allocation of CTO staff resources (including training and development of singers).


  1. Serves as key CTO spokesperson and representative in media, meetings and at events.
  2. Hosts weekly CTO management meetings; monthly company meetings; attends quarterly Artscape associated company meetings.
  3. Attends CTO rehearsals, performances and events as required.

Applicant requirements

The successful applicant possesses the following:

  1. South African citizenship;
  2. an appropriate tertiary qualification;
  3. ability and willingness to work nights, weekends and holidays and to travel nationally and internationally as required;
  4. proficiency in MS Office and use of databases;
  5. Proven track record in:
    1. managing people and budgets in a complex business environment, in South Africa and with international connections, over a minimum 10-year period;
    2. building long-term relationships with key stakeholders in government, public and private sectors;
    3. ensuring strong financial controls for and the ability to generate and source income for a non- or for-profit business;
    4. strong, ethical leadership with a collaborative mindset;
    5. confident, eloquent written and verbal communication skills in English, and
    6. knowledge of or experience in the performing arts and culture sector.

Compensation, application procedure and start date

Applications will be accepted from 17 June – 17 July 2020.

CVs and a list of three contactable references should be sent via email to; all information will be kept confidential.

Remuneration information will be provided to selected applicants as decided by the Managing Director Selection Committee.

References will be contacted only on prior notification to the applicant.

The Board of Cape Town Opera Company aims to have its new Managing Director in place by 1 December 2020, earlier should the successful applicant be available but in no case later than 1 January 2021.

CTO reserves the right not to make an appointment.