VIPI – Frequently Asked Questions

You are welcomed to contact the VIPI Program Producer, Rani Pramesti, on or call 03 9947 1015 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.


You may have already been a producer without realising it! Here are some skills that producers may provide for artists/ artist collectives/ companies.

You don’t need to have done all of the following, they are just suggestions to jog your thinking about what ‘producing’ can include:

  • Have you done project or event management?
  • Have you written and prepared funding applications and acquittal reports?
  • Have you built and maintained relationships with diverse stakeholders (such as independent artists, presenting partners, production teams, funding bodies, government representatives)?
  • Have you done basic budgets and processing of payments?
  • Have you helped with the marketing and promotion of artistic events / programs?
  • Have you brokered creative relationships and partnerships? (meaning, you’re the person that connects people)
  • Have you designed and led evaluation processes?
  • Have you collaborated in a culturally sensitive and informed way, in diverse cultural contexts?
  • Have you advocated for independent artists / artist collectives / companies as part of steering committees or advisory groups?
  • Have you provided professional / career advice to independent artists / artist collectives / companies?
  • Have you built relationships with new audiences?
  • Have you coordinated touring logistics (scheduling, accommodation, travel, visa applications)?

The initiative has been designed in consultation with a range of representatives from the independent performing arts sector – independent producers, artists, independent companies – and other key stakeholders including Theatre Network Australia (TNA).

TNA and others advocated for a program like VIPI after observing that many independent artists are being pushed to become their own producers and/or to form incorporated companies, neither of which they want to be doing. The independent producing model, offering very close relationships between independent artists and independent producers, is an efficient and effective model to support independent artists.


This inaugural program will run from 2019 to 2024 and will include an evaluation period to assess the impact that VIPI has made on the Victorian independent performing arts sector.

For the Producers Mentorship Program, there will be two rounds of applications in 2020 and one round of applications in the first half of 2021 (with mentoring running until mid 2023).

For the Unlocking Capacity grant, there will be two rounds of applications in 2020 and one round of applications in 2021 (offering support through to mid 2024).

The Salon Series will run throughout 2019-2022.


Independent producing involves providing producing support for independent artists, unfunded artist collectives and /or independent companies who do not receive multi-year government funding.

In general, independent producers do not receive ongoing government funding for their work and do not work inside funded companies. However, some of your work may include doing short-term producing contracts for small to medium, or major funded performing arts organisations, which is only part of a suite of artists / collectives / companies that you are supporting.

We recognise that independent producing is not necessarily a financially stable way of making a living, which may be a barrier for some people. If your producing experience has included a mix of both producing inside an organisation as well as independent producing, please contact the VIPI Program Producer to see if you and VIPI could be the right fit for one another.

These interviews with independent producers may also give you a bit more of an idea about the role of the independent producer –


Generally, ‘independent’ refers to practicing or operating outside of an organisation.

An independent artist is an individual whose artistic practice is done outside of an organisation. They may be commissioned for one-off or short-term projects in collaboration with an organisation, but this is only one part of a suite of projects they are doing independently.

An independent arts collective is a group of people whose artistic practice is generally done outside of an organisation. Again, they may engage in one-off or short-term projects in collaboration with an organisation, but this is only one part of a suite of projects that they are doing independently.

An independent company may be a legally constituted organisation that does not receive multi-year organisational funding, an un-constituted group or just a company name.

An unfunded company does not receive multiyear organisational funding. However, you could receive minor multiyear local council funding and still be counted as an unfunded company.


We are deliberately defining ‘performing arts’ very openly to include artforms that have some ‘live performance element’.  ‘Performing arts’ may include: theatre, dance, circus and physical theatre, magic, theatre for/by/with young people, hybrid and interdisciplinary live art, spoken word and live comedy.

If you are not sure if you have worked as a producer in the ‘performing arts’, please contact the VIPI Program Producer.


Yes. However, please bear in mind that this program is intended to support people who act as the producer of spoken word events. If your practice is mainly as a writer/poet, without having produced spoken word events, this may not be the right opportunity for you. If you are not sure if you are eligible, please contact the VIPI Program Producer.


Unfortunately, even though music obviously has a ‘live performance element’, events/projects that only have a live music component are outside of the scope of VIPI.


This still counts as producing inside an organisational context, which requires different skill sets to independent producing. However, we recognise that independent producing is not necessarily a financially stable way of making a living, which may lead the majority of aspiring producers to work inside organisational contexts, at some stages.

If you have only worked inside an organisation as a producer, but would like to grow your independent producing practice, you may be better suited for the Producers Mentorship Program and Salon Series, rather than the Unlocking Capacity grant, at this stage.


We acknowledge that for independent performing arts, people often fulfil multiple roles, for example: as a producer and a performer for the same project. VIPI is intended to support the professional pathway of people who are committed to making independent producing one of or their sole source of income. Self-producing artists are welcomed to apply for the one-on-one coaching sessions with an independent producer as part of the VIPI Salon Series.


TNA will be facilitating a meet and greet session between potential producer mentors and mentees in January 2020. Please register your interest with the VIPI Program Producer.

TNA is also compiling a list of people who have self-identified as Independent Producers– please contact us if you would like to be added to the list.


No, you do not need to choose from the pool of mentors that TNA are in touch with. However, both the producer mentor and mentee will need to be based in Victoria. You will need to put in a joint application as mentor/mentee, which outlines why you think the two of you are a good match and/or why you think the working model you are proposing will best progress your career.

Additional specialist mentoring support may be sourced from outside of Victoria.


Yes, you can apply for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 24 months of mentorship.


If a full-time working week is 38 working hours, then 50% of this would be 19 working hours per week. You need to be dedicating at least 19 hours per week on your independent producing practice to apply for the Unlocking Capacity grant.

Alternatively, completion of the VIPI Producers Mentorship Program makes you eligible to apply for the Unlocking Capacity grant.


Yes. The purpose of the Unlocking Capacity grant is develop your capacity as an independent producer. The strongest applications will demonstrate how receiving this wage will “unlock” your capacity over a two to three-year period and the expected outcomes for your practice and the independent performing arts sector. You will need to demonstrate how receiving this grant will achieve the VIPI Program Objectives.


Yes. TNA recognises that there are additional barriers to participation across many demographics, including for people living in regional areas. Therefore, TNA will work with VIPI participants who are regionally based to support their ability to travel to Melbourne and other locations.

TNA will support the regional participant to maximise opportunities during their visits, for example by having access to TNA’s networks and other opportunities (such as attending performing arts events). TNA will also facilitate meetings with producer mentors and other support as required.


We understand that sometimes things don’t go according to plan. TNA will schedule regular check-ins with both producer mentors and mentees to ensure that everyone involved is having a professionally productive, culturally safe and otherwise satisfying experience.

However, should a conflict arise between a mentor and mentee, TNA will attempt to resolve this internally first through mediation, conducted in good faith. If the conflict remains unresolved, then TNA will consider other solutions, such as organising alternative mentor/mentee relationships and/or remodelling the mentorship completely.

Our priority will be to find a solution that will continue to support the development of the mentee, both financially and professionally.


The Salon Series will offer professional development sessions for the independent performing arts sector, facilitated by Theatre Network Australia and guest speakers, coaches and facilitators. The Salon Series will focus on responding to the most urgent skills and conversations that we need to be having in the independent producing sector as well as the independent performing arts sector more broadly.

The Salon Series will bring together groups of people involved in the Producers Mentorship Program and the Unlocking Capacity program, as well as other independent producers, aspiring producers, artists and companies. These events and activities will provide peer learning, support and networking.

The program also includes coaching sessions: free one-on-one support for artists with an experienced producer to discuss career planning, business planning, work-life balance support or networking advice.

Salon Series events will commence in November 2019 and run regularly until 2022.


Yes, absolutely. Given the limited number of places available for both the Mentorship and Unlocking Capacity grant, another way to be involved with VIPI is through the Salon Series.

Please register your interest with the VIPI Program Producer.


You are more than welcomed to contact the VIPI Program Producer, Rani Pramesti on or call 03 9947 1015.

Rani’s general days are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.