Stage Door News

Barrie: Talk Is Free Theatre has begun a Basic Income Guarantee for artists

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Artist BIG is the first Basic Income Guarantee program for independent artists in Canada.

‍In 2020, forty artists were selected through an application process to receive an annual financial guarantee from TIFT for three years, which they earn through separate individual contracts. Guided by the TIFT Artistic leadership, participants co-curate their artistic assignments based on their personal creative needs and beliefs, rather than having to serve a more conventional institutionalized mandate.

‍In essence, Artist BIG seeks to flatten the traditional power structure of a theatre company--to experiment with governance and with a new producing paradigm. It is an endeavour which ventures to liberate and empower the artist to choose work that they believe in, work from which they may derive personal growth and validity, rather than having to choose work simply for work's sake.

‍Participants have been writing new plays and undergoing professional development. The program has brought in experts in mental health, real estate and financial planning for basic master classes, and has allowed for participants with their own special skills to offer classes to others in areas like digital sound recording and writing for the solo performer.

‍Artist BIG also remunerates its members for attending monthly meetings where they debate issues impacting the theatre ecology as a whole and offer transformative ideas to build a better support system based on lived experience. As such, members have been researching and piloting independent arts service projects, such as our Two-Way Mentorship program, the ARKS initiative for safe rehearsal hall practice, and other arts-specific mental health endeavours. Many of these initiatives are now available for participation by members of the broader theatre community.

‍The next intake of Artist BIG participants will be in the fall of 2023.

For more information, contact Arkady Spivack, CEO and Producer of Talk Is Free Theatre.