Talk Is Free Theatre’s mandate is to produce and to develop a wide range of ensemble-based programming, with an emphasis on new work, drastic re-examinations of existing repertoire and rediscoveries of neglected classics. Our special commitment is the development and production of new, off-centre, story-driven works of musical theatre. The company was founded in 2003 by Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak and has since produced 80 works.

Some of our work includes three separate runs of Tales of an Urban Indian (held on a moving city transit bus), The Inspector General (held at the Barrie City Hall), a conceptual adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (set in a retirement home), Possible Worlds and Accidental Death of an Anarchist, among others. Some of the productions of Canadian musicals include: Scenes from the Bathhouse (World Premiere), Variations on a Nervous Breakdown (World Premiere) and One Step Forward (Word Premiere). Other notable productions of musicals include the Canadian premiere of absurdist musical Anyone Can Whistle, a cross-gendered production of Guys and Dolls, site-specific roving production of The Music Man, the world premiere of the American musical Dani Girl, the rarely seen Floyd Collins (in co-production with Vancouver’s Patrick Street Productions) and two sold out runs of Assassins in Barrie and Toronto (in co-production with Birdland Theatre), which won a Dora Mavor Moore Award as Best Production of a Musical in 2010.

TIFT also tours its productions. Some of the most recent tours include Tales of an Urban Indian to Iqaluit, Nunavut and to the United States, Possible Worlds to Munich, Assassins to The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre to anchor the citywide SondheimFest and The Tale of Ivan vs. Ivan to Serbia, England and Russia. Our work is also seen in Toronto approximately every two years through a variety of associative arrangements. Every September TIFT produces Barrie International Comedy Festival.

Some of the artists who have worked with TIFT include Andrea Martin, Leslie Arden, Herbie Barnes, Mitchell Cushman, Arlene Duncan, Cathy Elliott, Darrell Dennis, Daren Herbert, Chilina Kennedy, Diana Leblanc, Craig Lauzon, Marti Maraden, Jonathan Monro, Lucy Peacock, Jennifer Phipps, Sandi Ross and Jean Yoon, among many others.

Arkady Spivak is the recipient of the inaugural Barrie Arts Award in 2008. TIFT’s long-time supporter, North American Centre Corp, won a Globe and Mail award (through Business of the Arts) for corporate support of TIFT.


For a list of our past productions click here.