IFWA Story

In 1999, Darren Sussman founded TheaterMania to support the mission of theaters, producers, and arts organizations by expanding audiences with accessible coverage and dynamic content and by offering targeted marketing and ticketing solutions. By 2017, TheaterMania had become a leading media and technology company with a portfolio that included the OvationTix ticketing platform, WhatsOnStage in London, and producing the The Drama Desk and WhatsOnStage Awards. In July 2017, TheaterMania, Inc. was acquired by AudienceView.

In October 2017, Darren’s brother Erik was visiting Manhattan to attend the La Mama Gala where  Darren was honored for his work in the theater and arts community. The next day on a morning stroll, Erik nonchalantly asked Darren if theater and arts organizations offered financial education or wellness programs to their employees. Darren hesitated only a moment before the proverbial light-bulb sparked.

After countless phone calls to colleagues, trusted arts leaders, and friends, followed by some traditional due diligence, it was clear to Darren that no comprehensive program existed. Yet the need for such services was great, extending beyond arts organizations to individual arts professionals such as actors, musicians, artists, dancers, writers, and stage, sound and lighting crews. It was clear the entire arts and entertainment industry could use help in this area. Erik’s financial experience and resources from 25 years in the financial services industry, together with Darren’s life in the arts and entertainment world, seemed like the perfect combination to help answer this need.

So Darren and Erik began brainstorming to figure out the best way to tackle the problem. Their answer:  financial education, empowerment, and action!

Thus IFWA was born, with the mission to provide financial education and access to planning solutions to every artist, arts professional, and arts organization employee nationwide.

Today the Sussman brothers are working together with their executive team of financial experts, coaches, content contributors, and support staff to improve the financial lives of those in the arts community, with Darren serving as IFWA’s President and Erik as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.