The Level UP! Initiative

Balancing Act’s new three-year program, Level UP! supports performing arts organizations, collectives, and project-based initiatives as they pilot strategies that forefront more inclusive, care-led workplace policies and practices. The Level UP! program offers financial support, consultation, and evaluation as partners explore the implementation of supportive measures for parents and caregivers.

We have just announced our ’22-23 Level UP! Strategy Partners! Read more HERE.

Through the Level UP! initiative, organizations and collectives create resources and templates to be shared with the performing arts sector at large, toward a culture shift that will increase access for artists/arts workers with caring responsibilities.

Consultant: Jeanne LeSage, LeSage Arts Management

Evaluation: Meredith Davis and Rebecca Thomas Kahn, Good Roots Consulting

Lead Partner and Advisory Team: Nightwood Theatre

Balancing Act is a TAPA Community Partner.

Level UP! Strategies and Cohort 1 (2021-22) Partners and Pilots

Pathways to Agreement

Supporting the caregiving needs of artists/arts workers through policy and the contracting process.

Neworld TheatreDevelopment of a caregiver policy; supporting employee care needs.
Why Not TheatreChildcare policy pilot for the cast and crew of the Prince Hamlet US tour.
Toronto Dance TheatreSupporting the care needs of seasonal and continuous employees.

Childcare Solutions

Initiatives to directly support childcare needs, including on-site care, infrastructure for touring and childcare subsidies.

Harbourfront CentreSupporting a touring artist; development of a resource handbook.
Lunchbox TheatreChildcare support (subsidy, schedule adjustment, travel) offered to all season artists.
Development workshop participants all offered child/family care subsidy and other support.

Flexible Working Models

Alternative models for production schedules and administrative positions.

4 day work week for administrative staff.
Flex model considerations for a house season, eg. 5-day rehearsal week; development of caregiver needs assessment survey.
Remote working pilot; turning ad hoc accommodations for caregivers and turning into policies for artists and arts workers that reflect company culture.
Toronto FringeCreating an HR resource document for onboarding staff that clarifies the structure and processes of the organization’s flexible working models.

Compassion Fund

Including a fund in production/operating budgets to support a range of care needs; for example: personal support, travel, and childcare.

Fund to support spring season projects.
Obsidian TheatrePilot ongoing during rehearsal/production of Is God Is.
Pilot ongoing during rehearsal/production of White Girls in Moccasins with Manidoons Collective.
Tapestry OperaA fund for contracted artists and arts workers for R.U.R. A Torrent of Light.

Special Projects

Childcare and travel support.
Caregiver subsidy pilot project; reimbursements for caregiving support for rehearsals, training, performance.

Level UP! National Roundtable Series, in partnership with PACT

Co-presented with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), these roundtables are a series of public ‘working conversations’ between invited guests and our partner companies who are piloting workplace strategies to support parents and caregivers. We look forward to continuing our partnership for the ’22-23 season; events to be announced October 3rd! Here’s a look back at our 2022 panels:

January 13, 2022: Flexible Working Models (Roseneath Theatre, Neptune Theatre, Outside the March, Fringe Toronto)

February 24, 2022: Childcare Solutions (Quote Unquote Collective, Harbourfront Centre, Lunchbox Theatre, Open Pit Theatre, CADA-East)

May 19, 2022: Compassion Fund (Nightwood Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, Tapestry Opera)

June 16, 2022: Pathways to Agreement (Why Not Theatre, Neworld Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre)

The Level UP! Program is guided by Balancing Act’s Steering Committee.

Learn more: Balancing Act’s Steering Committee.