La Boite Theatre, mibo and TFFF launch pilot initiative to support the mental wellbeing of arts and entertainment workers

mibo is a new workplace wellbeing digital platform with potential to build a healthier and safer Arts and Entertainment industry in Australia.

With the support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation (TFFF), La Boite Theatre will pilot a mibo trial across its entire company in response to a growing national mental health crisis among Arts and Entertainment industry workers.

In 2016, Entertainment Assist released the Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry: Final Report, after surveying 2,904 workers across a full cross section of the industry from performers to administrators and technical and production crew.

The report produced several key findings of critical concern, including that Arts and Entertainment workers are:

  • twice as likely to attempt suicide,
  • five times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than the general population, and,
  • ten times more likely to experience moderate to severe anxiety symptoms.

A primary contributor to these alarming mental wellbeing statistics was irregular work conditions that put individuals at high risk of work-related injuries and motor vehicle accidents, sleep disorders, social isolation, and being less likely and able to access support systems.

This pilot will see members of La Boite administration staff, venue staff, technical and backstage crew and Artist Company co-design and participate in an eight-week program tailored to improve its workforce’s health and wellbeing.

Delivered through an individual’s smart phone, participants complete confidential self-assessment wellbeing surveys as part of their workday. This data is analysed through mibo’s advanced algorithms and smart systems, which then prompts participants to access resources and assistance personalised to their mental health needs. These resources range from movement and mindfulness exercises and seeking peer support, through to being connected with a medical professional.

A full house at La Boite during its season of Away (2021) Photo courtesy La Boite Theatre

La Boite is Australia’s longest continuously running theatre company (96 years) and is home to the country’s only purpose-built theatre in-the-round.

mibo was co-founded by Sean Fyfe (Physiotherapist) and Dr Anthony Ross (Psychologist), combining their elite sport mind and body expertise with wellbeing practices to create a new workplace health methodology adaptable to various industries.

CEO and Executive Director of La Boite Zohar Spatz said: “The arts sector’s challenges are unique and supporting artists and art workers’ health and wellbeing is critical. Thank you to the TFFF for supporting such an innovative pilot.”

Chairman of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation Tim Fairfax AC said the health and wellbeing of the arts community should be one of the highest of priorities right now.

“Our arts sector has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and this has only compounded the poor state of the sector’s general health,” Mr Fairfax said.

“I hope this pilot delivers a successful intervention that could then be rolled out more broadly across the sector.”

This partnership is one of the cornerstones of TFFF’s recently announced Strategy for the next three years, which will see the Foundation support organisations and endeavours which build connected, resilient, and futureproof communities across Queensland and the Northern Territory. Learn more about the Strategy here.