Project Management in Full Drag – HK’s Story
Discover how artist and producer HK Vermeulen utilises project management techniques to manage their drag performance business and life.
When you think of project management, you typically don’t think of drag shows.
However, for artist and producer HK Vermeulen, project management certification has helped them kick their heels even higher.
“I run my own performance collective that involves drag, music, and dance and bringing queer stories to the general public,” HK said, “And I recently finished my Cert IV and Diploma of Project Management.”
“Project management is one of those things that I wish I had learned a long, long time ago.”
“In the arts, people just think that because it’s fun and interesting and bright and colourful, it just comes together, and everyone loves every moment of it, and it’s super fun and easy.”
“But at the end of the day, you still want to bring a really high-quality show to people, and I think that happens a lot through the more mundane side of things.”
“The organising and the budgeting and a lot of the project management style stuff where you are looking after people, organising people.”
The project management of performance
HK’s role as a producer, choreographer, vocalist and a mentor to LBGTQIA+ young people means they have to “switch gears a lot”. Having strong project management practices off stage makes what HK does onstage so much better.
Applying project management methodology has made a lot of sense.
“You’re dealing with artists speaking one language and then you’re dealing with producers speaking another,” HK said.
“While you are not creating a building or something from the corporate world, you still need to be really organized.”
“That’s where I fell down for a long time because I was just not organized in myself. And then from that I couldn’t organize other people.”
“Organization is a big lesson that I’ve learned through project management.”
“Knowing where things are and how to find them. You don’t have to know everything. You just gotta know where to find things.”
More than just professional development
Project management has not only improved HK’s competence professionally, but life beyond work as well.
They have found that the skills picked up from certification are applicable in just about everything.
“Life is project management. It doesn’t just start when you go to work or go to school or finish at 5:00pm,” HK said.
“Not in a way that’s onerous or like an extra thing. It’s just, hey, here’s an easier way to organize and manage life.”
“Thinking outside the box and knowing when to step back and when to step forward. And then admitting if you make a mistake, like, oh I stepped forward at the wrong time then.”