Community Presenters Network

The Community Presenters Network (CPN)

Formed through a series of discussions in the fall of 2016, the CPN is a network of smaller-scale performing arts venues and presenters from across Ontario. We are united by a passion to bring great art to our communities, and by a common understanding of the challenges of working with the limited staffing, resources and budgets that comes with a lower seating capacity. We also understand that the network structures that have evolved to serve the needs of larger venues so well aren’t always as well-equipped to serve us, despite the best of intentions. The CPN exists to help bridge the gap, by providing small venues and presenters with opportunities to seek out colleagues working under similar conditions to themselves, to share skills, resources and inspiration, and to provide a platform to collaborate with similar-sized venues on artist touring. 

The goals of the Community Presenters Network include:

  • Sharing resources and best practices
  • Learning from, drawing inspiration from, collaborating with and supporting our colleagues
  • Raising the cultural bar in our communities by bringing in more and better art and artists
  • Pursuing shared booking opportunities between similar-sized venues 

Membership in the network is very open and fluid at this time: venue managers, presenters, artists, arts organizations and cultural animators who feel that they are a good fit for this network are welcome to join - simply contact one of the co-chairs listed below. In the very specific cases where a number of venues wish to block-book with each other those members will engage in a closed discussion to protect the confidentiality of their negotiations, but otherwise the CPN is committed to being a network that is as open and inclusive as possible. Please note that you DO NOT need to be a member of Ontario Presents to be a member of CPN.

Small Venue Pitches                                  

The Community Presenter’s Network, supported by SPARC, Ontario Presents and Folk Music Ontario, hosted Small Venue Artist Pitches online on September 6, 7 & 8 from 7:00 pm - 9:00pm. Over 30 artists ranging over genres of music, theatre, dance, puppetry, TYA and more pitched their projects, with 10 artists pitching each evening. 

Visit the Gallery:


Advocacy Starter Guide

In response to a clearly expressed frustration by rural presenters about the nature of “support for the arts” in rural communities across Canada, this guide was developed to help small presenters and arts advocates elevate the tone of discussions with politicians, bureaucrats, and other authorizers in their communities. Drawing on examples of success from small communities where the arts are thriving, this guide provides a framework for arts advocacy that helps “rewrite the script,” turning narratives about subsidy and economics into investing in innovation and cultural value.

And this is only the beginning. The Advocacy Guide was envisioned as a living document, one that will grow and change as more stories and data are entered over time. Do you have a story about arts advocacy in your community (good or bad) that you would like to share? Let us know!

Download the guide here.

Presenter Exchange Program

The Presenters Exchange Program has been created for presenters working in smaller, rural and/or remote communities. It is an opportunity for presenters to connect with their peers and exchange knowledge, skills and best practices.

Are you looking to expand your financial skills, build your audience, or write up artist contracts? Have you always wondered what an 80/20 back-split is and how to do it? Connecting with presenters who work in communities like yours offers the opportunity to learn and share with people who know what you are going through. It also offers you the chance to share your skills. Perhaps you have knowledge working with touring shows, or in marketing to seasonal audiences, or in block booking a tour - there are presenters who want to learn from you.

The exchange is more than a mentorship program, it’s a two-way learning experience. It allows you to expand your knowledge base while helping another presenter to do the same.

Application form coming soon!

For more information about the CPN, please contact current chair Eric Goudie, or Ontario Presents Program Associate, Deborah Maitland.