Hack Lab — For Artists

Theatre Direct’s popular inquiry-based program for artist exploration: Hack Lab, opens a cohort specifically for artist caregivers! A unique opportunity for those engaged in care work to reconnect with their practice and other artists within a time-flexible container.

Hack Lab is an entirely process-driven creative space that disrupts what we know about performance by investigating 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. Hack Lab is a multigenerational group that is open to all artists, at any stage of their practice.



Open to artist-caregivers developing new performance projects.

Facilitated by Shira Leuchter, the program took place over 4 months, with online sessions curated to support each artist’s interests, as well as studio residency time for artists to test out new ideas alongside a community of collaborators. Six artist caregivers were supported in this iteration of the lab.


Tuesdays. February 21st, March 7th & 21st, April 4th &18th, May 2.  6 x one-hour biweekly online sessions

May 15th – May 28th: In Studio Residency @Theatre Direct’s Studio H 

In this incarnation of Hack Lab, participants applied with a specific performance project or with an idea for a project they had been developing. Formal experimentation and exploration was welcome and encouraged. In advance of each of the six online sessions, Shira emailed materials and artistic references that responded to each participant’s project in some way, with the intention of supporting each artist’s research, broadening references, and sparking different ways to express ideas. The community of Hack Lab artists was witness to each other; asking questions together, engaging in conversation and exploring creative prompts. Artists arranged in-studio time as it worked with their schedule, and even shared the space together, serving as test-audience and readers for each other.

Hack Lab F.A.Q (Frequently Asked Questions)

If you require any assistance with accessibility including access to the internet or a device, or if you have any questions, please contact us at balancingact@theatredirect.ca.

Andrea and Byron with Mayari, Tkaronto/Toronto

There’s not a lot of opportunities for us to engage with art as artists when we’re also looking after our little one. Having a child demands flexibility and Hack Lab provides an open and welcoming environment that enables us to have conversations about art with other artists while still being able to parent simultaneously. It’s really helped us to keep our creative flames going during the pandemic.

Andrea Mapili & Byron Abalos