Programs   /   Level UP!

Level UP!

Balancing Act’s Level UP! Initiative supports arts organizations, companies, collectives, festivals, residency programs and project-based initiatives as they explore the creation of policies and practices that support parents, caregivers and others with specialized care needs. 

Level UP! offers financial support, consultation, and evaluation to these Strategy Partners as they explore the implementation of supportive measures for parents and caregivers.

Through these pilot projects, Strategy Partners create resources and templates, shared here on this website, supporting a culture shift toward care.

Level UP! was funded by the federal Feminist Response and Recovery Fund, Women and Gender Equality Canada from 2021-2024.

76 performing arts Strategy Partners from across the country participated in the project over three cohorts, creating transformative change in theatre, dance, opera, circus and comedy.

In 2024, Balancing Act expands Level UP! into the disciplines of Music, Screen-based Media Industries (Film & TV), and Visual Arts.

We are welcoming Women in Music: Canada, Women in Film & Television, and Mothra: Artist-Parent Project as our lead partners on this sector expansion.

Thanks to a Cultivate grant from the Canada Council for the Arts Strategic Innovation Fund, Level UP! will continue to support development of care strategies in the performing arts.

We invite you to explore the work of past partners in the strategic areas of Flexible Working Models, Pathways to Agreement, Care Solutions, and Compassion Fund.

Flexible Working Models

Alternative models for rehearsal and production schedules and administrative positions.

Care Solutions

Initiatives that directly support caregiver needs. For example: on-site care, infrastructure for touring, care rooms, caregiver funds, childcare for auditions, and integrated programming.

Pathways to Agreement

Responding to caregiving needs through policy development, frameworks of care and onboarding and contracting processes.

Compassion Fund

Including a fund in production/operating budgets to support a range of care needs. For example: personal support, travel, and childcare and other needs as requested.

Level UP! Consultants

Human Resource Consultants:

Jeanne LeSage, LeSage Arts Management, and Amy Balatoni, Amita HR support the Strategy Partners in their policy development.

Jeanne LeSage, CHRL, MBA

Jeanne LeSage, CHRL, MBA

Principal, LeSage Arts Management

 

Jeanne is a senior arts management professional with more than 33 years of national and international experience in festivals and performing arts and now acting as a trusted advisor, consultant, and teacher under LeSage Arts Management. Jeanne is the 2023 recipient of Work in Culture’s Bob Johnston award for significant contributions to the sector.

Jeanne founded LeSage Arts Management to provide counsel and solutions to arts organizations in areas such as strategic HR, leadership succession, governance, and more.

Photo by Dahlia Katz
Amy Balatoni

Amy Balatoni

Senior HR Consultant and Founder, Amita HR

 

Hello, I’m Amy, Senior HR Consultant and founder of AMITA HR. My work is fueled by HR expertise, creative thinking, genuine empathy, and a deep passion for helping employees and organizations thrive. Through my work with the Balancing Act Project, I am incredibly proud to support organizations dedicated to increasing equality, accessibility, and inclusion for parents and caregivers in the performing arts. I am committed to developing tools that foster meaningful change at individual, organizational, and systemic levels and I am immensely grateful for the chance to help build a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.

Project Evaluation:

Good Roots Consulting, led by Meredith Davis, with Rebecca Thomas Kahn. Good Roots facilitates a comprehensive evaluation process for Level UP!

Meredith Davis

Meredith Davis

Principal and Founder, Good Roots Consulting

 

Meredith is the founder of the evaluation and strategy firm Good Roots Consulting. She has a graduate degree in planning and community development and is a Credentialed Evaluator with the Canadian Evaluation Society. Meredith has been supporting evaluation activities on the Balancing Act project from the beginning. She is the proud/ frazzled mama to three growing kids.

Rebecca Thomas Kahn

Rebecca Thomas Kahn

Evaluation and Project Management Consultant, Good Roots Consulting

 

Since 2008, Rebecca has worked with a wide range of social purpose organizations across Canada, championing community-led decision-making and strengthening impact. She has managed programs and evaluations for national and community initiatives and loves finding creative and engaging ways to measure and communicate impact.

Rebecca has worked with the Balancing Act team on a multi-year evaluation of the Level UP! Program, and supported the development of Balancing Act’s new website and resource library. She is inspired and humbled by the collective work that Balancing Act and their strategy partners are doing to create a more care-centred arts sector.

Community Partners

Balancing Act is grateful for our Community Partners for supporting our outreach and community engagement: The Toronto Alliance for the Perfoming Arts (TAPA) and The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT).

PACT Roundtable Series:

From 2021-2024, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres supported Balancing Act in a series of national public engagements. These roundtables were both online and in-person, and they enabled Balancing Act to build relationships across the country and engage in knowledge exchange. Thank you PACT!!

Here’s a look back at these events:

 

January 13, 2021 Flexible Working Models
February 24, 2021 Childcare Solutions
May 19, 2021 Compassion Fund
June 16, 2021 Pathways to Agreement
February 23, 2023 Season Planning with Production Leadership
March 6, 2023 Creating a Framework of Care: Vancouver
May 3, 2023 Cultivating Care in our Community: Halifax
October 13, 2023 Wrap & Unpack: Saskatoon
December 1, 2023 Wrap & Unpack: Montreal
January 17, 2024 Wrap & Unpack: Whitehorse
February 14, 2024 Wrap & Unpack: Halifax
March 22, 2024 Wrap & Unpack: Toronto