We had the good fortune of connecting with Ken Arpino and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ken, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind my success/business is having a passionate team of collaborators with the same drive and heart. It takes a wild work ethic, positivity (even when it feels impossible), and a group of people you love spending time with who you can trust.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I went to college for marketing, because I didn’t think that a full-time career as an entertainer was possible!
As an artist, I have been very lucky. I have been fortunate enough to perform on Broadway and gorgeous theaters all around the world. As a writer, I have had projects produced on the small and large scale.
But nothing can compare to what this team has built. I am very proud of Wolfbane. The love and support we have received is unlike anything I could have imagined in this small rural town. We have created a tourism destination and numerous job opportunities, hopefully proving that art and entertainment can be a vital revenue stream and talent retention tool if utilized correctly.
This journey has not been easy. It is countless hours. sleepless nights, and sacrifices that I never anticipated when I agreed to join the company. However, the rewards make it all worth it. We get to create and produce our own art everyday. We get to create a unique, safe environment for many in our community that don’t feel connected anywhere else. We also get to foster the next generation of thinkers and creators from our area. It is so exciting to see them go off into the entertainment world and start building their own path and career.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We live in the “Brew Ridge” Mountains, which means we are surrounded by a whole bevy of breweries and wineries. Whenever I have someone visit, we love to go on a long hike and end up at one of these drinking spots. After that, we would head to downtown Lynchburg to walk the river-bluff and enjoy one of the restaurants overlooking the James River. Then, of course, we would catch a show at Wolfbane Productions!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to dedicate my shout out to my team at Wolfbane Productions. We are a small, but mighty band of storytellers with a passion for our art and the drive to push our own boundaries and learn something new everyday. I am the Executive Director of a professional theatre company in rural Virginia, where arts and culture are a very foreign concept for many.
When we began our business, we were told we would fail by local officials and other business owners. Dustin Williams, our Producing Artist Director, was not deterred. He found six people who could excel at their jobs with their particular skills and turn an impossible dream into a full-time, year round reality.
I am blown away by how quickly we grew without compromising our brand or the quality of the stories we want to tell. I am honored by the local community for flocking behind us and proving the cynics wrong.
Other: Patreon: www.patreon.com/wolfbaneproductions
Into the Woods Show Photo: Parker Michel-Boyce Photography Headshot: Kris Rogers Photography