This is one of the first opportunities I’ve experienced in an institution where there is a tangible thing they are doing to support the marginalized artists they are wanting to work with.

Participating Artist

Stratford Festival

Stratford Festival

Developing a Compassion Program

Level UP! Strategy Area: Compassion Fund

Pilot Project: Piloting a Compassion Fund for Langham Directors’ Workshop, followed by the development of a company-wide Compassion Program

Project Duration: 2022 – 2023 Season

Continuing to Implement: Yes. Used a small-scale test pilot to develop a larger program.

Resources Shared: Compassion Fund PIlot Report, Compassion Program Overview (in an internal online resource for staff and current artists), Compassion Fund Application Form, Program Pamphlet, Compassion Fund Outreach Email to Artists Template


About the Stratford Festival

Location: Ontario
Artistic Discipline: Theatre
Operating Budget: More than $1,000,000

Located in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, on the lands of the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat, and the Attiwonderonk, the Stratford Festival is North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company. Each season, we present a dozen or more productions in four distinctive venues. Producing classics, contemporary dramas and musicals, with special emphasis on the plays of Shakespeare to share with visiting audiences from all over the world. We are committed to continuously evolving our understanding of equity, inclusion and anti-racism, while full-heartedly acknowledging that the work of reconciliation is an ongoing journey. The Stratford Festival boasts many programs for developing artistic talent including, but not limited to, The Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program for playwrights, The Birmingham Conservatory for artists and The Langham Directors’ Workshop.

Stratford Festival’s Level UP! Project

The Stratford Festival, led by project leads Hilary Nichol (Company Manager) and Meineka Kulasinghe (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Manager) created and piloted a Compassion Fund that was offered to artists/arts workers during the 2022 Langham Directors’ Workshop – Directors’ Workshop Presentation. Following this pilot, they were able to develop a comprehensive Compassion Program for artists and arts workers.

Project Highlights:

    • Focusing on support for equity-deserving groups within the Festival community
    • Developing other supports alongside the Compassion Fund, for example, a lending cupboard of childcare items and caregiving resources (listed online in an internal online database with photos of the items)


Stratford Festival | Compassion Fund Pilot Report

About This Resource Stratford Festival shared this Compassion Fund Pilot Report in 2022 as part of their Balancing Act Level UP! Pilot Project. The document was developed to clearly articulate the operating procedures and results of the Compassion Fund Program.

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Stratford Festival | Compassion Program Overview

About This Resource Stratford Theatre created this Compassion Program Overview in 2023 as part of their Balancing Act Level UP! Pilot Project. This Overview is included in Stratford’s internal online resource for staff and artists.

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Stratford Festival | Compassion Fund Application Form

About This Resource  Stratford Festival created this Compassion Fund Application Form in 2022 as part of their Balancing Act Level UP! Pilot Project. The content in this resource is drawn from a Google Form that was used to receive Compassion Fund requests from...

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Related Resources

More Information

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