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Profiles

Hillary Hart

by Staff Writer    March 1, 2017

TUTS new administrative leading lady comes home to Texas

PHOTO: SCOTT TREADWAY

TUTS new administrative leading lady comes home to Texas

Filling the top administrative chair at a nonprofit arts organization is typically a long process that involves national searches, committees meetings and several interviews. So when Theatre Under The Stars found its leading lady in December, the announcement was met with curiosity.

TUTS Executive Director Hillary Hart is a North Texas native who until recently was the general manager of the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. She also held administrative positions at the Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina and Dallas Theater Center.

Q: You describe Theatre Under The Stars as being in a watershed moment in its history and progress. What are some of the elements that make it so?

Hillary Hart: TUTS has much to talk about and celebrate as we move toward our future. For the first time in the organization's history, the leadership model has been modified to reflect a bifurcated reporting structure more commonly found in nonprofit regional theater industry. This allows a higher focus on initiatives that reflect the mission, vision and values of TUTS through artistic, education and community outreach.

Q: What does this mean for the organization?

Hillary Hart: The result is the beginning of impactful change in programming both on our main stage as well as in our education and outreach programs, covering everything from broadening the lens through which we share the human experience to addressing challenges related to accessibility and expanding outreach into our community in more meaningful ways.

And all of this as we quickly approach our 50th anniversary!

Q: What are your first priorities for the organization as a whole?

Hillary Hart: The completion of an institutional audit is a top priority and has already begun. The evaluation of operations, lines of business, and identifying potential areas for creating efficiencies will allow the organization to understand where it currently exists in the ecology of the Houston community.

From there I look forward to engaging with our arts and culture partners — as well as the broader education and community service organizations in our region — and to collaborating with the immensely talented and dedicated staff, artists and board to build upon the progress we have made so far.

Q: Moving from Minneapolis to Houston is a big change. What is it about Houston and TUTS that encouraged you to uproot you life and move to Texas?

Hillary Hart: As a native Texan, moving to Houston has been more of a homecoming than a change. More than that, I am inspired by the Houston community, the opportunities for creating meaningful dialogue in a burgeoning market and the profound commitment to excellence that emanates from the TUTS staff, board and patrons. TUTS is unique in what it offers the Houston community through its programming and outreach efforts.

Q: You have experience in turning around the financial health of nonprofits. What’s your secret?

Hillary Hart: I don't sleep much! In all seriousness, turnarounds don't happen because of just one person. It takes the dedication and effort of multiple constituencies — from staff to board to civic leaders and our most important stakeholders, our community at large — to be effective.

Q: Do you have a secret talent that not many people know about?

Hillary Hart: Ha! I started to answer this question with the cliche, "Yes ... but if I told you ... it wouldn't be a secret." In truth, however, I think my talent lives in the realm of eliciting and supporting the "secret talents" of others.



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