Press Releases

August 10, 2011

San Francisco Ballet Hires New Marketing & Communications Director

SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday, August 10, 2011—San Francisco Ballet has announced the hire of Mary Beth Smith to the position of director of marketing & communications, effective August 8. Smith will oversee all activities related to marketing, sales, and communication strategies for San Francisco Ballet. As a seasoned arts executive with almost 20 years of experience in arts marketing and communications, Smith most recently served as acting director of marketing at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“We are so pleased to have Mary Beth joining the Ballet in the capacity of director of marketing and communications,” said San Francisco Ballet Executive Director Glenn McCoy. “Mary Beth has an impressive track record, with over a decade in leadership experience at a wide range of prestigious performing and visual arts institutions. This strong background in the arts, combined with an extensive and diverse education, makes her a natural fit for this position.”

A graduate of the University of the South with a B.A. in English and Theater, Smith began her career as associate director of marketing for American Conservatory Theater, a position she held from 1993-1997. From 1997-2000, she served as director of marketing and sales for TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, before joining Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) as director of marketing and communications, a position which she held from 2000-2008. As a consultant, Smith has worked with a wide range of Bay Area institutions including the Peninsula Community Foundation, Sonoma Repertory Theater, and the Midsummer Mozart Festival. In her most recent work at SFMOMA, as acting director of marketing and prior to that, as marketing special projects director, Smith oversaw the planning and execution of all marketing activities including market research, exhibition and program advertising and promotions, digital marketing, visitor services, and group sales. Smith’s achievements while at SFMOMA include participating in crafting the 75th Anniversary campaign strategy that resulted in record attendance for the anniversary weekend, securing more than $1 million of in-kind advertising support for the anniversary, and overseeing the institution’s highly successful new media efforts.

At YBCA, Smith built audiences for a new contemporary performance series to 85% of capacity in two seasons and led efforts to secure and implement two large, multi-year Wallace Funds grants to increase cultural participation.

In addition to her B.A. degree, Smith earned an M.B.A. from the University of San Francisco and an M.F.A. in acting from American Conservatory Theater.

Smith’s extensive community involvement includes serving on the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau Cultural Tourism Committee from 1998-2002. In addition, she has conducted workshops and participated in panels for organizations including the National Arts Marketing Project Conference, the American Express Arts Marketing Initiative, the California Arts Council, and the Commonwealth Club. Smith has also served as a visiting professor in Drama/Economics at Colorado College since 1998.

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at San Francisco Ballet and returning to my roots in the performing arts,” said Smith. “San Francisco Ballet is one of the Bay Area’s most respected arts institutions, one of the world’s leading professional dance companies—and one of its most innovative. It is an honor to be able to build on the fantastic work already in place to connect audiences with this glorious art form.”

San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for more than two decades, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. Recent highlights include a tour to the People’s Republic of China, the celebration of Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s 25th anniversary with the Company, and the United States premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which will be broadcast internationally, as well as nationally on PBS’s Great Performances “Dance in America” in December 2011.

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