Talk Is Free Theatre is an artist-driven, award winning theatre company based in Barrie. The company was founded in 2003 by Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak and has produced fifty productions concentrating largely on new and neglected work.
Some of the productions include The Inspector General (at Barrie City Hall), The Marriage, The Tale of Ivan vs. Ivan all by Nikolai Gogol; Accidental Death of An Anarchist by Dario Fo, Canadian musicals Harvest Moon Rising, Colette: The Colours of Love, Emily (two productions), Variations on a Nervous Breakdown (World Premiere), Playground (World Premiere), Napoleon (In Concert) among others; productions of Canadian plays This Is a Play, Tales of an Urban Indian (held on a moving city bus for a total of 70 performances). Other notable productions include the highly acclaimed Canadian premiere of Anyone Can Whistle (In Concert) by Arthur Laurents & Stephen Sondheim; the North American Premiere of Trees Die Standing Tall written by Argentinian playwright Alejandro Casona in 1949; first Canadian regional production of the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman; and productions by local writers of world premieres - Chaplin: About Face, Laughton Common and Redemption.
In 2010, TIFT and Birdland Theatre co-produced Assassins in Toronto. This critically acclaimed production sold out its entire run and won the Dora Award for Best Musical. It was remounted this past January with five new cast members and once again, it sold out for 6 weeks, including two extensions.
TIFT also toured its productions: last fall we toured to Serbia, England and Russia with our recent production of The Tale of Ivan vs. Ivan and in 2008 we were part of the annual International Bulgakov Festival of Creativity in Kiev, Ukraine with excerpts from our 2005 production of Moliere or League of Hypocrites. Canadian musical Emily, twice produced by TIFT, was a selection finalist at the prestigious Festival of New Musicals of the National Alliance of Musical Theater (NAMT) in New York in 2010. Previous to that we showcased Emily as part of the Songwriters Showcase at the same festival in 2007.
Talk Is Free Theatre recently produced a fundraising benefit of The Producers (In Concert) in support of the Actors Fund of Canada. The performance starred major theatre critics, personalities and members of various arts service and funding organizations, raising $36,000.
Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak was the recipient of the inaugural Barrie Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts. Our long-time supporter, North American Centre Corp, won the prestigious 2008 Globe and Mail Award (First Dance) through Business for the Arts.
Some of the artists who have worked with TIFT are Graham Abbey, Maja Ardal, Leslie Arden, Jim Betts, Adam Brazier, Evan Buliung, Juan Chioran, Darrell Dennis, Wayne Gwillim, Kate Hennig, Jeffrey Huard, Aleksandar Lukac, Joey Miller, Jonathan Monro, Mike Nadajewski, Richard Ouzounian, Jennifer Phipps, Glynis Ranney, Jennifer Stewart, Sam Strasfeld, Blythe Wilson and many others.
The Press on Talk Is Free Theatre’s previous productions
"There are certainly larger organizations than Barrie’s Talk Is Free Theatre and ones with bigger budgets, but I doubt that any of them deliver the bang for the buck that this enterprising gang and its visionary artistic director, Arkady Spivak, consistently does." Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star.
“Watching friends fight has never been this much fun.” Leigh Blenkhorn, The Barrie Advance on The Tale of Ivan Vs Ivan
“Brazier's production for Birdland Theatre and Talk Is Free Theatre may be dishevelled here and there, but it is an absolutely delirious theatrical experience.” **** Four Stars (out of 4), J. Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail on Assassins
“This production of Assassins is a sharp-edged treat from start to finish. Miss it at your peril.” **** Four Stars (out of 4), John Terauds, The Toronto Star on Assassins
“If you love musical theatre and somehow manage to miss this show, you just might feel like shooting
yourself.” ***** Five Stars (out of 5), John Coulbourne, The Toronto Sun on Assassins
“A killer musical show.” Robert Cushman, The National Post on Assassins
“Listeners, I am on my knees begging you to see this show. It’s theatre at its best – controversial, provocative, disturbing, and yes, entertaining.” Paula Citron, Classical 96.3 FM on Assassins
“Arkady Spivak believes in Canadian musicals the way the late theatrical producer and director Joe Papp used to believe in U.S. ones.” Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star
“Talk Is Free Theater is a tiny, low budget operation but Artistic Director Arkady Spivak is committed to producing Canadian musicals and…finds first-rate casts willing to do them.” Variety
"Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak promised an unforgettable evening of theatre and, for everyone who managed to get a ticket, it was". The Sondheim Review on Anyone Can Whistle in Concert.
"This production is one for the books. Years from now people will separate themselves as haves and have nots. That would be those who have seen this Toronto Assassins — and those who just wish they had."
Gary Smith, The Hamilton Spectator