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Tessitura's Innovator Series

Arts Administration as Transformative Creativity

Watch Torrie's Talk
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Torrie AllenDirector of Development, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

TitleArts Administration as Transformative Creativity


Read/View Time14 min

If you considered yourself a creative, how differently would you approach your work life? 

Torrie Allen began his 30-year career in the arts as an opera singer. Twenty years ago, he grew more passionate about arts administration, and his career turned in that direction. Drawing on an experience from early in his career as an arts administrator, Torrie asks: what if we see ourselves as creatives, just as artistic directors do?   

“I believe creativity is a powerful spirit all of us can access, and no one person or group has a monopoly on it.”

In his enlightening call to action, Torrie proposes that by adopting a creative mindset, development officers and other administrative professionals can find fresh approaches to their work. This creative approach, in turn, may lead to better results for both staff and audiences. Click the play button above to watch the talk.

A promotional image for a premiere weekend after OSF began taking a more creative approach to donor cultivation events

This talk was delivered and recorded live at the Tessitura Learning & Community Conference in Orlando in July 2018.

Headshot of Torrie Allen

Torrie Allen

Director of Development

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Torrie Allen has more than 30 years wide-ranging experience in the performing arts including executive and artistic leadership, fundraising, marketing, policy, adjudication and performance.

He currently serves as the director of development and interim director of marketing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was chief officer of development and marketing at Alaska Public Media from 2012 to 2016 and executive and artistic director of Anchorage Opera from 2006 to 2012. Prior to joining Anchorage Opera, he served as the director of the National Patrons Council at Americans for the Arts.

Allen has served as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wallace Foundation. Also, he has provided volunteer leadership support for numerous organizations including the World Affairs Council (Alaska), University of Alaska Advisory Board, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Community Commander Program, Arts & Business Council of New York, American Repertory Ballet, Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Anchorage Museum, Anchorage Symphony and Alaska State Council on the Arts.

His professional performance credits include Opéra National de Paris; Teatro Real Madrid; Bregenz Festpiel. Austria; Rudolfinum, Prague; Carnegie Hall; St. Petersburg State Symphony, Russia; Metropolitan Opera and the Aspen Music Festival.

Allen holds degrees from UCLA and the Boston Conservatory. He is a Fellow of the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program through Harvard Business School, University of Michigan and University of Texas at Austin. 

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