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Hack Lab

After a full season of rich discussions and sessions exploring artistic practice, Hack Lab will be on hiatus. We are grateful for the participation from our four cohorts of artists last season. This process-driven lab facilitated by Associate Artist Shira Leuchter has been so important during these challenging times. We look forward to diving deeper into the complexities of creation again with you. Stay tuned for details about the next iteration of Hack Lab coming soon… 

About Hack Lab:

Hack Lab is an entirely process-driven creative space that disrupts what we know about performance by investigating with non-traditional forms, sparking discussions and engaging with works of art. Artists can interact with the lab in the way that best suits them, and many past participants have expressed that Hack Lab has pushed the limits of their own artistic processes through shared experiences and discoveries with the group. Hack Lab is a multigenerational group that is open to all artists, at any stage of their practice.

Before each session, facilitator Shira Leuchter sends the cohort of artists a curated selection of artistic references before each session based around themes like Home and Borders, Land and Site, Autobiography, Provocation/Joy as Forms of Resistance, along with art making prompts that challenge what performance means and looks like. Bi-weekly, Hack Lab artists meet to discuss the materials, and reflect on their own processes, stumbling blocks and victories in art making. It’s kind of like a book club but instead, the group takes in a lot of weird art around a theme instead of reading a particular book and then debriefs.

What I’ve cherished about Hack Lab is the invitation for participants to bring their whole selves to the group; this isn’t a playwriting lab or a director’s lab, rather it’s a space that acknowledges that our work comes from the fullness of our lived experiences. The way we learn from each other in Hack Lab is horizontal; we take turns sharing new ideas and making offers.

I value our intersubjectivity, and how we can go beyond the usual categories we use to describe our work and our practices. It is beautiful and freeing to share a space with other artists where we can honour our individual rhythms and values without the expectation of producing anything for anyone else.

Shira Leuchter

What participants are saying about Hack Lab…

“I am finding this whole experience surprisingly engaging and thought-provoking. Surprising only in that the actual time we are all chatting together is fairly brief, and not knowing each other, I thought we might be limited in how the conversations developed – but no! The links you have assembled are so interesting and the group of people so thoughtful and interesting and ready.”

“I’ve really been so brightened and bolstered by all of you and our conversations, thank you so much. What a great group.”

“Theatre Direct’s “Hack Lab” brought art and community back into my life… The curated list of links Shira so thoughtfully and carefully put together was like a Christmas morning gift. I loved unwrapping each one and diving into the various offerings they had in store. Getting the chance to look a little deeper brought a lot of beauty and joy back into my days. Thank you for this incredible chance to be a part of such a generous community.”

Some pieces from Hack Lab participants:

“Where I’ve Landed” by Andrea Mapili 
“Identity Tie” by Lilia Leon Tovar
“The Curiosities of a 14-month old in 20 minutes at the Ryerson University Quad” by Byron Abalos