Joel Ferrell has extensive experience providing expertise on administrative teams at some of the nation’s top theaters.
Associate Artistic Director, Dallas Theater Center
Joel served from 2011-2019 as Associate Artistic Director for the Dallas Theater Center, a LORT B regional theater with an annual operating budget of approximately $10 million, located in Dallas, Texas. This Tony Award winning theater company operates a 7 to 9 play season in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas, as well as continuing to produce in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Kalita Humphreys Theater, also in Dallas.
The organization includes as part of its mission: developing major new works; commissioning playwrights; creating award-winning education and community engagement programs; and seeking collaborative producing partners both regionally and nationally. Dallas Theater Center focuses on being a “town hall” for Dallas and North Texas by producing work that reflects the experiences of its audiences, embracing new voices and re-investigating the classics.
Primary responsibilities and accomplishments included:
- Collaborating with the Artistic Director in all aspects of Artistic decision making, including; season selection, hiring directors and creative teams, guiding the local casting director, and strategic planning.
- Producing up to 4 of each season’s productions by overseeing all aspects from inception through closing.
- Directing 2 of each season’s main stage productions. A partial list includes: Clybourne Park, Red, God of Carnage, Dividing the Estate, Cabaret, The Rocky Horror Show, and Romeo and Juliet.
- Working with General Management to create all production-related budgets.
- Collaborating with Development on major fundraising events including producing the annual Centerstage gala and the annual Circle Dinner for high level donors.
- Assisting the Education and Community Engagement arm of the theater in reaching new communities and launching new programs.
- Functioning as a teaching artist and liaison for DTC’s relationship with Southern Methodist University and Booker T. Washington HSPVA.
Artistic Director, Casa Mañana Theater
From 1996-2001, Joel served as the Artistic Director of Casa Mañana Theatre located in the heart of the Arts District of Fort Worth, Texas. His primary responsibilities and accomplishments include:
- Collaborated with the theater’s Executive Producer on selecting summer and winter mainstage seasons as well as a seven-show Theater for Young Audiences season.
- Coordinated the transfer of the mainstage season to the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall, a 2,000 seat, state-of-the-art performance venue housing touring companies, symphony and ballet companies, and the International Van Cliburn Competition.
- Also coordinated ongoing production at Casa Mañana’s 60-year-old theater-in-the-round.
- Continued to oversee productions in the theater’s 150-seat cabaret theater, which featured small plays and musicals with extensive runs of up to three years.
During Joel’s tenure as artistic director, employment of artists and support personnel increased by 50% and included nationally recognized actors, designers and directors. The combined annual production schedule required the hiring of up to 600 performing artists, musicians and support personnel. This hiring was facilitated in part through annual New York audition trips, and coordination with New York casting directors, individual agents, and managers.
Joel directed the majority of mainstage productions, moving between
Casa Mañana’s 1,800-seat theater-in-the-round and the 2,000 seat Bass Performance Hall. Each season saw innovation in programming, production values, artist collaboration and artistic quality.
From 1996 to 2000, the budget increased to $8 million annually from $3 million annually. Due to residence in the Bass Performance Hall, average production budgets increased to approximately $800,000 per production from approximately $300,000 per production.
Other Areas of Administration
In addition to the areas of responsibility mentioned above, Joel executed duties in the following areas:
- Marketing and Audience Development, in collaboration with the Director of Development and the Board President
- Education and Engagement Programs, including the development of new programming with area public and private schools and universities, resulting in underwriting and grants
- Grants, in collaboration with the Development Department to secure long-standing grants and explore new avenues for financial aid and underwriting
- The Betty Lynn Buckley Awards, an awards program designed to recognize excellence in high school musical theatre, which Joel co-produced