The Theatre Centre recently announced COMEDY IS ART, a new Festival in support of comedy and comedians. Celebrating comedy as a recognized art form, COMEDY IS ART takes place from October 1–5, 2019 at The Theatre Centre. 

Canada is responsible for exporting some of the world’s greatest comedic talents but Canadian comedians face limited opportunities to earn a living, and have almost no access to funding to create their work. Sandra Battaglini, co-founder of the Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians, has spoken widely about the ongoing struggles comedians face in Canada and the fact that Comedy is not a recognized art form by most public arts funders. While comedians are invited to apply for funding as theatre artists, they are at a disadvantage when they need to shoe-horn themselves into definitions that do not fit their craft.

COMEDY IS ART is a declaration as much as a festival. The Theatre Centre will work to continue its commitment to comedians in consultation with the comedy community. 

“I saw the incredible work that my friend and comic Sandra Battaglini was doing in terms of advocacy for comedians and the issue struck us as obvious – of course comedy should be eligible for funding,” said Aislinn Rose, The Theatre Centre’s Artistic Director. “And while the tendency in the not-for-profit world might be to suggest there’s not enough to go around as it is, we’re more interested in sharing our resources to see them go further.”

As The Theatre Centre could see members of the community without access to space, funding, career development opportunities – the essentials for building strong artistic communities – they reached out to Battaglini to ask how they could help, and COMEDY IS ART is just the beginning. Curated by Liza Paul, The Theatre Centre’s Café/Bar Curator & Manager, COMEDY IS ART launches on Tuesday, October 1 at 7pm with a special announcement from The Theatre Centre followed by a performance by TallBoyz.

The Canadian Association of Stand Up Comedians applauds this effort by The Theatre Centre to support Canadian comedy. The Theatre Centre has become a new hub for comedy in recent years with ongoing stand up performances in their cafe, on both their stages, in addition to hosting the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival since 2015. This swift, pointed and tangible effort from an established arts organization is exactly the kind of support the Canadian comedy community needs.

The Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians was formed in 2017 to represent the first-ever unified voice for stand-up comics in Canada. CASC now works for professional stand-up, sketch and improv comedians and producers in Canada. In addition to getting comedy officially recognized as an art form , CASC’s mission is to build a thriving and dynamic comedy industry through advocacy, career opportunity, and support for programming; as well as professional development, improved labour mobility across international borders, and workplace rights.

For the full COMEDY IS ART lineup and to purchase tickets click here.