This document was created by the Founding/Artistic Directors and Board of Directors of 4th Wall Theatre Company, in order to communicate our vision to candidates for the position of Managing Director. No implementation strategy or specific action items are included. The crafting of a new, complete strategic plan, with board and staff participation, will be one of the pressing duties of the new Managing Director.
Who We Are
4th Wall's Mission:
To develop and support theatrical artists by aiming to pay a living wage, in order to grow and sustain the community of professional theatrical artists in Houston, TX; and to develop and promote the highest aesthetic of acting that is truthful, by producing exciting, cutting-edge, live theatre.
4th Wall's Vision:
In the future, our dream is that 4th Wall's attention to excellence in performance will attract not only the best theatrical artists in Houston, but also the best theatrical artists in the country. Believing that our ethical monetary treatment of these artists will inspire other theatres to mimic our mission, we dream of a day when these artists will not only call Houston home, but will be able to ply their trades without needing to work any other job. We aim toward a day when sustained theatrical excellence inspires our audience and community to hold our art and the artists who make it to be an indispensible and valued part of life in Houston. To attain this vision:
4th Wall's History:
4th Wall Theatre Company is a professional Equity theatre in Houston, TX, founded in 2011 by married couple, Philip Lehl and Kim Tobin-Lehl. Its original name was Stark Naked Theatre Company, which was changed in 2016. 4th Wall has maintained an eclectic range of programming, producing classics by Shakespeare and Strindberg, American classics like WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, and several world premieres.
4th Wall produces four main stage shows per season in a 99-seat black box theatre. The space, Studio 101, is a rented, converted studio in the 1st Ward arts complex called Spring Street Studios.
The company has garnered many accolades for its twenty-three full productions, including the Houston Press's "Mastermind Award"; as well as 2 Best Production citations in the annual Houston Press Awards (for GOD OF CARNAGE in 2013, and LOBBY HERO in 2017.) The Co-Artistic Directors have been nominated several times for the Best Artistic Director award at that same ceremony, winning once.
Since the company's inception, artistic growth has been the constant focus, resulting in the initial 3-show seasons with 3-week rehearsal periods and 3-week runs, to grow to the current 4-show seasons with 4-week rehearsal periods and 4-week runs.
The company was incorporated in the State of Texas on February 22nd, 2011, and was granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS (retroactive to the date of incorporation) on September 15th, 2011.
Where We Are and Where This Plan Will Take Us
4-week rehearsal period
4-week run, 4 performances per week
Exclusively straight plays
Average 5 actors per production
Average 3 union actors per production
5 to 6-show season
4-week rehearsal period (same)
5 to 6-week run, 6 performances per week
Average 7 actors per production
Average 5 union actors per production
4-show season for a loyal subscriber base of 165 and single ticket
audience of over 2,000
5 to 6-show season for a subscriber base of over 1000 and a single ticket audience of over 10,000
$250,000 annual operating budget
$700,000 annual operating budget
(full budgets are available for review)
Governance and Administration
2 full time staff
9 to 13-member rotating board
5 to 7 full time staff
99-seat rented space – rented to other arts organizations to help offset rent costs
99-seat rented space - not rented – which will allow for an expanded season
Regular, free Shakespeare classes for Veterans, based on Stephan Wolfert's model for Bedlam Theatre (NYC)
Supported by a core group of individual donors who make an annual contribution, as well as state and city government funding
Supported by contributions from an increased pool of donors that includes individuals, corporations, foundations, and government