Call for applications – Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators


Talk Is Free Theatre is again part of the OAC’s Recommender Grants for Theatre Creators Program. Individual artists and ad hoc groups are invited to apply for funding, through the Ontario Arts Council online portal at Please note that all applicants must have an active online profile with the OAC, or register for one well in advance of the deadline. Submissions to be considered under Talk Is Free Theatre allotment are due by October 12, 2021 at 1pm. 

Under their program allocation, TIFT is interested in supporting emerging book writers of musicals. Applicants are responsible to review application requirements on the OAC website under the appropriate section. For OAC’s definition of a professional artist, please visit their website at

Talk Is Free Theatre has established the following priorities for funding allocations. They are as follows:

Regional Artists
Artists from culturally diverse backgrounds
Artists and works that would likely experience difficulty in attracting support elsewhere

Minimum grant request is set at $1,000 and maximum at $5,000. However, due to budgetary constraints, awarded amounts may be smaller than requested.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Arkady Spivak, Artistic Producer before submission for any help with the application, at or (705) 792-1949 ext. 122.



Artist Basic Income Guarantee (“BIG”) Pilot Project

TIFT BIG Project Outline

The TIFT Artist BIG Project is a pilot project designed to offer a number of Artists a minimum annual income guarantee each year, for a three-year period. The income is earned through the Artist being engaged on various and separate projects with TIFT throughout the year, as determined by TIFT’s Artistic Producer (“AP”) and the individual Artist together. The BIG Project is NOT full-time and is NOT employment. Rather, TIFT guarantees that the Artist is able to earn enough in fees from the separate independent contracts with TIFT each year to at least equal the minimum annual income guarantee. One of the goals of the BIG Project is the exploration of a new operating system, through action research, that would offer artists and theatre companies a more sustainable and effective paradigm in which to create theatre.

Tentative Process

Each year of the BIG Project will correspond with TIFT’s producing season, being Oct 1 – Sept 30. Therefore Pilot Year 1 would be Oct 1, 2020 – Sept 30, 2021; Pilot Year 2 would be Oct 1, 2021 – Sept 30, 2022; Pilot Year 3 would be Oct 1, 2022 – Sept 30, 2023.

Selection to the TIFT BIG Project for Pilot Year 1 has now closed. 

Generally speaking, AP and each BIG Artist would initiate conversations no later than four months before each TIFT season’s programming deadline, to determine the types of work, artistic functions, positions, and periods of renewal and professional development, which are of interest to the Artist. These conversations would factor each individual Artist’s professional interests, other work commitments and life balance requirements. This timeline shall be truncated for Pilot Year 1 due to the current timing.

Based on the specifics of TIFT’s season and the results of the AP and Artist conversations, AP will present each Artist with a “season offer” which must be mutually agreed to by the Artist. Each season offer would consist of a series of contracts specifying the Artist’s roles in various TIFT projects throughout the season, and the schedule for such season. For example, Artist Pilot Year 1 Season Offer might be: (i) directing [NAME OF SHOW] in [THEATRE] on [DATES], under CAEA ITA Director contract; (ii) workshop [NEW PLAY] as an actor on [DATES], under CAEA Workshop contract; (iii) assistant designer on [NAME OF ANOTHER SHOW] on [DATES] under ADC Designer Contract; and (iv) paid participation in monthly workshops and discussions. Further example, another Artist Season Offer might consist of two stage management contracts and a designer contract, plus workshops and discussion. Or another Artist Season Offer might be two actor contracts and a new play commission contract.

The BIG Project is not intended to be full-time, year-round. The minimum annual income guarantee is earned through separate contracts for different work throughout the season according to the schedule agreed to by AP and Artist, but that schedule may only be 12 weeks of work one season, then may be 20 weeks in another season, and so on. Artist is absolutely free to pursue other contracts as they normally would, even if they are part of the BIG Project, so long as there is no breach to the terms of their individual project contracts.

Flexibility and Non-Exclusivity

TIFT acknowledges and agrees that in the event that an Artist receives an offer which conflicts with the Artist’s TIFT season offer, that TIFT shall use its best efforts to accommodate Artist’s conflicting offer. Artist can also opt out of a TIFT season and can waive their minimum annual guarantee for any season without affecting their participation in the program for the remainder of the term, for example if they get an offer for a season at Stratford or Shaw, or for an open ended Mirvish show. TIFT is also open to extending the Artist’s BIG Project seasons by a further year or two, if the Artist chooses to accept a season-long engagement elsewhere.

Nature of BIG Project Artist Services

Each Artist’s season offers will be unique and dependent on specific factors such as the Artist’s skills and desires, and TIFT’s season, planning and needs. Therefore an Artist’s BIG Project season may consist of any number of work opportunities and contracts, including but not limited to: acting, directing, choreography, designing, fight direction, intimacy direction, stage management, youth outreach and education, marketing, publicity, fundraising, development, producing, self-producing of independent work, tour management, production management, general management, playwrighting, dramaturgy, etc. The BIG Project desires to be flexible to the Artist’s needs, working with TIFT and its AP. For example, if an Artist desires to take maternity or paternity leave but is also open to continuing to write or develop new work with TIFT, that Artist could still continue with a BIG Project season while staying home with an infant.

TIFT does require that all Artist participants agree to participate in the majority of paid monthly workshops and discussions, conducted on Zoom for up two 2 hours per month, and any written reports requested, to assess the effectiveness of the BIG Pilot Project. There may also be changes from time to time or from year to year, to help initiate or test any modifications to the program, but any such changes would not be made without consultation and discussion with the Artists.

Relationship between Artist and TIFT

For clarity and certainty, there is no intention to create any kind of employer/employee relationship between TIFT and Artist through the BIG Project. TIFT will not be employing the Artist, but rather the BIG Project commits to offering each Artist a series of contracts for the Artist’s services, with each contract separate and independent from the others. The Artist’s services are not exclusive to TIFT and the Artist is free to accept other engagements throughout the term of the BIG Project. The Artist shall not be entitled to any employment related benefit of any kind from TIFT, and Artist shall be solely responsible as an independent contractor to comply with all laws and regulations relating to Artist’s services, including responsibility for all taxes and payments payable to the government with respect to the fees paid to Artist hereunder, including but not limited to provincial and federal taxes, CPP, EI, GST, HST, etc.

Both TIFT and Artist shall have the right to terminate the BIG Project agreement at the end of each Project Year, or at any other time if there is cause to do so, such as an Artist breaching TIFT’s Code of Conduct, or violating the terms of the BIG Project agreement.

Call for Proposals

Artist BIG is intended for theatre professionals who are currently deriving/seeking the majority of their work as actors, but are interested and excited about diversifying their artistic portfolios and/or professional functions within an artistic organization, with the goal of providing them a more stable, sustainable existence within the world of professional theatre.

Application requirements:

Please send a 250-word personal statement that contains:

  • A brief discussion about three artistic opportunities that would scare you the most and why. Please be bold. This could be directing your first play, or creating a piece that is unlike anything the art form has experienced, for example.
  • One way in which you would like your artistic pursuits to change the world. (You will not necessarily be asked to put this into real-life action; this is for inspiration purposes only).
  • Please submit one or more artistic samples of your work that you are most passionate about, for a combined total of no more than 5 minutes. As an example, this can be a combination of contrasting songs, monologues, or even a scene you directed. These samples do not need to be freshly prepared. Please do not forget to include your role/function for the submitted material (For artists who were engaged in three previous TIFT productions, providing support material is optional).
  • Please include your resume


The ideal applicant:

  • Wants to see positive change in how the professional theatre industry functions.
  • Is artistically adventurous, ambitious and risk-taking.
  • Has previous work history in Barrie, Ontario (this is a preference, but not a requirement).


Other details

Artist BIG will represent approximately 25% of annual contracts for the Artists. Approximately 75% will still be engaged by traditional approach

The minimum financial guarantee for each Artist pariticipating in Artist BIG is expected to be $10,000 per year ($30,000 for three years).

Please direct any questions to

Submissions are now closed for Pilot Year 1. 

Click HERE to watch an informational webinar with the Q&A segment with the attendees


Resistance and Change – A Grant for Theatre Artists

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin


2020 has been a year of unpredictability. COVID-19, the tragedy of George Floyd and the resulting protest movement, and rising levels of unemployment have sent massive ripples across the globe. 

In this moment, we believe artists have a crucial role to play: to move hearts and minds, envision a more just world, and spark new possibilities for resistance and change. With this in mind, this program through Talk is Free Theatre is a new initiative providing funding for artists who wish to harness the energy of this moment to change their communities. This program was designed and developed by Brendan Chandler, Alana Hibbert, Richard Lam and Tahirih Vejdani.

Program Guidelines:

TIFT invites artists to submit proposals for projects that promote social activism, community building, and the ongoing fight against inequality, discrimination, colonialism, and injustice*. Submitted projects do not necessarily need to be artistic works, but can also include other forms of activism or engagement. For example: 

  • helping to carry out processes of restorative or transformative justice;
  • using your artistic talents to amplify the reach of a specific activist campaign or community support group;
  • teaching your artistic skills to a community that would welcome it;
  • allowing people who are not often heard to speak using your platform or voice;
  • breaking the silence on something that has been buried, so a specific change can occur.


This list is not comprehensive or exhaustive. Surprise us!

TIFT strongly encourages submissions from theatre industry workers who self-identify as members from under-represented communities. If there are accessibility obstacles (language, disability, technical, or any other consideration) preventing you from applying, please let us know and we will work with you to overcome them.

The total available funding for this program is $5000 and may be awarded to a single applicant or divided among several applicants. The program is open to residents of Ontario only.

This is a new program designed to be flexible to the needs of this ever-shifting moment. The types of activities that could potentially be funded are quite broad. The committee encourages applications of any activity that fits into the criteria listed in the program guidelines. 


  • Eligibility and Qualifications:


First and Last Name and Preferred Pronouns




Are you over the age of 18? If not, please ensure this application is completed with the consent of a parent or guardian as co-signer.


The program is open to any theatre artist who wishes to submit an application. Do you identify as someone who works in the Theatre community? Yes or no?


  • Tell us about yourself:


What is your practice in the theatre industry? What are some examples of your work? Please limit your answer to 100 words.


What communities do you identify with? Please limit your answer to 50 words.

In what ways has the current political climate inspired or affected how you view your role as an artist? Please limit your answer to 150 words.


  • Tell us about your project:


What is the project that you are proposing? Please limit your answer to 200 words.

Are there any other key collaborators in the project? Please limit your answer to 30 words.


Imagine your project has succeeded exactly as you hoped.  What do you see? Please limit your answer to 200 words.


  • Impact:


What community does your project seek to serve?  What is your connection to this community? Is this community aware of your project, and has your contribution been invited or welcomed? Please limit your answer to 100 words.

What is the intended impact of your project on this community?  Please limit your answer to 300 words.

Who else does your project meaningfully impact? Please limit your answer to 100 words.


  • Budget details:


A total of $5000 is available for this program. Please be aware this total may be split among multiple projects.

How much money are you requesting?


If your project receives partial funding from this granting program, are there any other sources of revenue available to you?

  • If yes, what are these other potential sources?
  • If no, is your project still possible with partial funding?


  • Supporting Documents:


  1. Please attach a proposed budget.
  2. If there’s an artistic component to your project, please link to relevant samples of your work. 
  • For written samples: up to 10 pages.


  • For audio or video samples: up to 5 mins total between all files (For videos please include an unlisted Youtube or Vimeo link).
  1. Additionally, you may link up to 5 photos.Please attach a current resume (one page) and bio (limit 150 words.)
  2.  If there’s relevant supporting material that’s not covered above, please attach a link to it with your application, and an explanation of why it’s relevant. 

Please submit by Thursday, October 15, 2021 at 5pm EST. Please note that late applications will not be supported. Please submit by email to You may also direct your questions to this address in anticipation of your submission.

All funded projects must by completed within two years. 

*For example but not limited to and in no particular order: feminism, environmentalism, immigration/migration, colonialism and displacement, electoral reform, systemic racism, genderism, homelessness, justice and prison reform, wealth inequality, health inequality.

Click HERE to download the application form 



Talk Is Free Theatre is a member of following organizations:

Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT)