Flying Fruit Fly Circus. Image: Photographer: OGA Creative Agency

    The Victorian Independent Producers Initiative (VIPI) is a multifaceted program designed to upskill, increase the capacity of, and build the pool of independent producers in Victoria’s performing arts sector. Developed in response to industry feedback, the initiative also provides networking and professional development to independent artists and companies to better understand, and make the most of, the artist/producer relationship.

    VIPI is an initiative of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, delivered in partnership with Theatre Network Australia.

    VIPI is made up of three components:

    The Producers Mentorship Program

    The Producers Mentorship Program suits people who already have some producing experience in the performing arts and want to be part of a group learning environment to explore new models of independent producing. The program includes bespoke relationships in pairs or small groups, along with monthly group sessions with all participants.

    The Unlocking Capacity Grant

    A multi-year grant of up to $35,000 per annum for a maximum of three years for established independent producers of performing arts who have a minimum of three years’ experience and who dedicate at least 50% of their time to their independent producing practice. Recipients need to demonstrate how the grant will support their independent producing practice and provide professional support of Victorian-based independent artists and independent companies.

    The Salon Series

    The Salon Series brings together groups of people already involved in VIPI and provides an access point to VIPI for those outside of the program. The Salon Series includes professional development sessions, networking and peer learning for the independent performing arts sector. The series responds to the most urgent skill requirements and provides a forum for conversations that the sector needs to be engaging in.

    For all VIPI program related enquiries please contact Theatre Network Australia on 03 9947 1015 or via email at

    For more information about VIPI, please read the VIPI Program Information or go to the TNA website.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an independent producer?

    In the performing arts sector, the role and scope of the producer can vary from project to project. Producers support creatives to develop their work and to grow their career, profile, business or practice over the long term.

    Producers also work with creatives to coordinate tours, undertake community and stakeholder engagement and market or sell work. Independent producers work with a number of artists and creatives, as opposed to a producer who works within a company or organisation.

    When will the program start?

    The Salon Series and Mentorships began in late 2019, and the first Unlocking Capacity grant round was underway by early 2020.

    How was the initiative developed?

    The initiative has been designed in consultation with a range of representatives from the independent performing arts sector - producers, artists, small companies - and other key stakeholders including Theatre Network Australia and the Australian Performing Arts Market.

    How will the Mentorship program work?

    This program calls for joint applications from an emerging or early career producer and the established producer/s they plan to work with and learn from. The emerging or early career producer is paid a salary, and the ‘host’ producer is paid a fee. The mentorships are part-time and flexibility is built in. The program also covers access costs such as Auslan interpreters and access requirements.

    The first Mentorships commenced in late 2019.

    What is the Unlocking Capacity for Established Independent Producers program?

    This stream provides multi-year funding to support targeted skills and capacity development for established independent producers. The program is open to applicants who demonstrate a track record of sustaining an independent practice for a minimum of three years.

    To apply, they must present a work plan that outlines how funding will ‘unlock’ their capacity over a two to three-year period, the expected outcomes for the producer’s practice and also the outcomes for the creatives they work with, and the broader performing arts sector.

    Theatre Network Australia will be the point of contact for enquiries about the Unlocking Capacity Program and the application process and grant administration will be managed by Creative Victoria. Guidelines for the Unlocking Capacity program, including the application process, the closing date, the number and funding level of grants on offer, are available on the Creative Victoria Unlocking Capacity webpage.

    What is the Salon Series?

    The Salon Series is a free events program, run by Theatre Network Australia, that brings together groups of people involved in the placements and Unlocking Capacity programs as well as other independent producers, aspiring producers, and artists and companies. These events and activities provide peer learning, support and networking.

    The program also includes coaching sessions – free one-on-one support where creatives will be matched with an experienced producer to discuss career planning, business planning, work-life balance support or networking advice. Salon Series events commenced in late 2019.

    Who is eligible?

    The initiative primarily supports emerging and established Victorian independent producers from the performing arts sector, and - through them - performing arts creatives and companies who practice independently in Victoria.

    While it is open to all, the initiative has a focus on developing the skills of producers who identify as First Peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse, and/or with disability as well as those living in regional Victoria.

    How can I find out more?

    If you sign up to the Creative Victoria eNews and the Theatre Network Australia eNews, you will get all the information as it comes to hand.