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Deeksha Gaur’s first 100 days leading TDF

The new executive director of the audience-facing nonprofit offers her initial assessment of where TDF is and its next steps in expanding audiences for Broadway and beyond. 

Deeksha Gaur (Credit: Jacquelyne Pierson)

Deeksha Gaur assumed the role of TDF’s executive director on Aug. 7, 2023. Gaur officially marked 100 days with the organization on Nov. 15 and spoke to Broadway News about her progress on Nov. 20. 

Established in 1968 as the Theatre Development Fund, TDF works to expand audiences for the live performing arts in New York and around the United States. Through discount tickets (TDF membership and the TKTS booth), education programs (the Wendy Wasserstein Project and Introduction to Theatre program), community engagement (Create New York and other partnership initiatives) and accessibility services (sensory-friendly performances, open-captioning and audio description), TDF works to eliminate barriers to engaging with the arts, including Broadway. 

TDF supports more than 1,000 plays and musicals and has returned more than $2 billion in revenue to Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions.

The good news for Gaur is that she has walked into a strong organization where she has, as she called it, the “luxury” of dreaming about its future. “The invitation [to the staff] was: Where could we go now? Where could we go in the future?” Gaur said.

She embarked on a listening tour, in which she met with every member of TDF’s 65-person staff. “What I learned is there’s a great deal of love for the organization,” she said. “A nonprofit’s mission really works when every single stakeholder starts their conversation with them telling you how much they believe in the mission.”

After individual meetings, Gaur convened group work sessions in which every person that touched a particular program met to break down the current operation of an initiative. What resulted were brainstorms for small, immediate changes. “You get to try a few things so that when you get to the [full] ‘doing’ phase, you already have some data points,” Gaur said of the approach. “The focus is really on learning as quickly as possible so we can move into action.”

Here, Gaur shared more about how she measures TDF’s success, how the nonprofit can help expand Broadway audiences and how Broadway can collaborate with the organization.

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