Our Story

Balancing Act Founder and Lead Advisor, Lisa Marie DiLiberto

Balancing Act was founded in 2019 by Lisa Marie DiLiberto, Artistic Director of Theatre Direct.

“…Our work with Balancing Act will give artists the courage to believe that having a career in the performing arts and having a family is an attainable dream, knowing that they will be supported and encouraged instead of shut out and looked over. But let us not fool ourselves: caregivers are not the only ones who will benefit from this revolution. The art form itself will be richer by the creativity these artists will bring, most of whom are at the height of their careers as they become parents.”

From “Balancing Act” by Lisa Marie DiLiberto, published in Theatre Research in Canada, Volume 41, Issue 2, Fall 2020.

2017
2017

International Industry Leaders

National parent-artist initiatives worldwide are making waves, including the Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) in the US and Parents & Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA) in the UK. To learn more about similar organizations outside of Canada, visit our Resources for Artists page.

Balancing Act Founder and Executive Director Lisa Marie DiLiberto and son

2018
2018

Parenting in the Arts Meeting

Theatre Direct Artistic Director Lisa Marie DiLiberto brings together a think tank of artist parents (and their babies) at the Drake in Toronto in the winter of 2018. Key issues are raised, a vision for a future takes hold, and Balancing Act is born.

Parenting in the Arts meeting at The Drake in Toronto, 2018

2019
2019

Balancing Act Research

Balancing Act commissions a study from The School of Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto: Behind the Curtain: A mixed methods study exploring barriers to and strategies for managing competing roles and work-life balance of performing arts workers and caregivers. Ong, M., Scannell, J., Namasivayam, K., Wolf, H., & Davis, J. (2019). Key finding: “71.9% of artists/arts worker respondents say they have turned down work because of caring responsibilities.”

2020
2020

Early Strategies

A powerful group of partners and stakeholders comes together in Toronto stewarded by Theatre Direct’s former Balancing Act Producer, Hanna Wolf. Together, they are set to launch a series of supportive strategy pilots such as on-site childcare during performances, the 5-day work week, creating a family room at the theatre and best practices for touring. As the pandemic takes hold, Balancing Act turns its focus on developing digital tools to support flexible, remote work and strategies to support artist caregivers at home. See Past Projects.

2021
2021

Level UP! and Affinity Groups

In early 2021, a Balancing Act steering committee composed of organizational leaders from across the country was formed to collaborate on creating a tangible framework for caregiver support to benefit both artists and organizations. The Level Up! Initiative was born. Balancing Act hosts monthly affinity groups for parents and caregivers in the arts, building a community of peer support.

2023
2023

Wrap & Unpack

Balancing Act welcomes the third cohort of the Level UP! Initiative, with more partners from theatre, dance, opera, circus and comedy, for a total of 76 strategy partners across the three years of this flagship initiative. Balancing Act travels the country with 'Wrap & Unpack', a series of regional knowledge mobilizations.

2024
2024

Looking Ahead

Balancing Act's Level UP! Sector Expansion will partner with Women in Music Canada, Women in Film and Television, and Mothra: Artist-Parent Project within the disciplines of Music, Screen-based Media Industries (Film & TV), and Visual Arts. It is our hope that the learning and resources we generate greater equity and inclusion across the entire arts sector in the years ahead.