Throughout this month, we’ll be highlighting interviews with some of our fantastic “solopreneur” clients. For Benvenuti Arts, solopreneurs are solo artists and solo artist organizations that have carved their place in their respective artistry fields while also running their businesses. In this post, we’ll be talking with the awesome folks at Hit the Lights! Theater Company. In their own words, “Hit the Lights! is an artistic agreement based in NYC who tell simple stories in unconventional ways.”
If you want to be an arts organization, get the art going, and the business side will follow.Hit the Lights! Theater Company
When you decided to start your venture, what were the first steps you took to make your dream a reality?
We started by working on the shows that would become our Signature Cycle pieces and applying them to theater festivals. In 2013, we knew that we wanted to make a show inspired by video games and Neil Gaiman, and that show became DUNGEON. Then we realized that we wanted to make a show about Moby Dick and the whaling industry, which became our second show WHALES. It was after this process of meeting and collaborating and figuring out the kind of work we wanted to make, what our aesthetic was/is, how we operated as a creative unit, that we realized that we were a theater company.
How do you manage running your small arts organization?
Through a lot of communication! We meet two to three times weekly regardless of the projects we work on, to do everything from build shows, cut puppets, create marketing campaigns or balance budgets. Each member is the ‘head’ of one aspect of the business, but all members are invited and expected to participate in creative and business decisions.
What tips do you have for solo artists interested in starting their own orgs?
Get to work making your work! What was essential for our business was to have made the shows we did, and build a business around those shows and the company that we created through the show’s creations. If you want to be an arts organization, get the art going, and the business side will follow.
What is something you wish you would have known when you first started out?
That being a successful business is, at its core, making sure everyone involved feels valued, fulfilled, and hungry for more. If you have that, then everything else falls into place. However, having ‘that’ takes a lot of work, communication, retreats, workshops, challenging conversations, and vulnerability. But all that is good and accomplished in the world takes work, so it’s work we shall continue doing.