Ty Sutton is the President and CEO of the Victoria Theatre Association, a nonprofit based in Dayton, OH that owns and operates multiple performing arts venues, ranging from a 199-seat black box theater to a 2500-seat performing arts center. Prism’s first performing arts client employs 100 people across different venues and buys talent for about 150-200 shows per year. Sutton recently sat down for a conversation with Prism President & Co-Founder Steve Sternschein for a candid and informative discussion about his background and the best goals for the business side of running a nonprofit organization that’s trying to expand from selling 400,000-500,000 tickets a year to 700,000.
“I think the cool thing about us is we get to be mission-driven, we get to make a real difference, and we still get to do pretty big shows when we want,” Sutton tells Sternschein. “We’re always making sure that we’re solvent and healthy financially but we’re always doing art.”
Sutton’s career began at the University of Utah when he was on the student committee and one of his first-ever bookings was Dave Matthews. Soon enough, a friend noticed his talent and Sutton was involved in running “pretty big part of men’s hockey” when the Olympics came to Salt Lake City.
He goes deep on the importance of having a “real booking policy, especially when you have lots of properties…so you don’t have to make those decisions on the fly.” Sutton is pleased to report that the partnership with Prism has helped VTA better understand and expand their business. “We use Prism to manage our expenses,” he explains, “Before, we never tracked in the level of detail it offers. Prism helps us manage that process; it saves time and organization by keeping the management all in one place.”
Going forward with the Victoria Theatre Association, “we’re changing how we think about what we present, and that’s something I really enjoy,” Sutton tells Prism. “That challenge of figuring out what is a community’s personality, what do they want to see, what’s missing from that equation.”
Watch their insightful conversation below for more and find Prism at this week’s APAP conference on January 10-14 in New York City.
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