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The B-Side: Building Empathy in Online Spaces

Curated by Sue Balint as part of The B-Side Series

It may have been the filmmaker Satyajit Ray who said filmmaking technology will get better, but no matter how great the innovation, its only real worth is measured in its ability to convey a story compellingly & move an audience. This conversation will not focus on the tech, but on the engagement that this new technology supports, exploring how to best increase accessibility, connection, and empathy.

Experience notes: The artist has been thoughtful & intentional about the experience for audiences both in the theatre and at home.  The artist will be present in the theatre with the live audience, while his four guests will join the conversation via an online feed projected to the big screen. The four conversationalists, as well as an ASL interpreter, will be joining Anand online from different locations. We recommend the following for this at-home experience

  • Have your favourite snack or beverage nearby 
  • Stay tuned to @thetheatrecentre on Instagram for updates on the nightly signature cocktail by Aislinn Rose that you can make at home!

ASL Interpretation provided.
Location: Livestream + Franco Boni



Panellists include: Debi Wong, Beth Kates, Laura Levin, Sngmoo Lee, and Residency artist Anand Rajaram

Beth Kates is an award-winning lighting, set, projection, and mixed-reality designer whose work has been seen on stages around the world for over 30 years. A leader in new forms of performance, she co-created and directed ‘Bury The Wren’, a Virtual Reality / Live performance, and recently led a VR Performance residency at Canadian Stage, and is currently co-directing Blyth Festival’s Young Company in VR, and cocurating the ‘Multiple Realities’ section of World Stage Design 2022 to be held in Calgary. Founder of Playground Studios, she has presented at the Prague Quadrennial, Laval VR, and many others. Her return to the live carbon-real stage was marked by the March 2022 opening of “Steel Magnolias” at Theatre Calgary. Beth is a proud charter member of ADC IATSE 659, on the board of Tara Beagan & Andy Moro’s Article 11, and on the steering committee of the PXR symposium (Performance and XR). The recipient of two large Digital Strategy Fund Grants, in 2022 Beth will begin work on a massive scale VR Theatre project that will begin the formation of an international VR Theatre Company. Her favourite production is her son, Aaron.

Laura Levin is an Associate Professor of Theatre & Performance Studies and Associate Dean, Research in York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design. She is author of Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In (Ann Saddlemyer Prize) and Co-Editor of Performance Studies in Canada, with Marlis Schweitzer (Patrick O’Neill Award). Laura has led and collaborated on several research-creation projects that explore political performance, immersive and site-specific artmaking, and digital technologies. Most recently she has served as dramaturg on Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective (2021) and SpiderWebShow’s VR production, You Should Have Stayed Home (2022). Laura is the director of the Hemispheric Encounters project.  

Sngmoo Lee is a writer, director, and producer working in the traditional film and XR Industry. His 360 films “Eyes in The Red Wind,” “Rain Fruits,” and “Red Eyes” got invited to numerous film festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca, and Cannes, and received several awards. His immersive VR immersive theatre project “Scarecrow” premiered at Sundance New Frontier 2020 and the metaverse spin-off version “Scarecrow VRC,” received “The Spirit of the Raindance Award” and Sandbox Immersive Festival’s “Best Technology Innovation Award.” His passion for combining storytelling and technology led him to found the “Art and Technology Lab” at K’ARTS (Korea National University of Arts) where he has been a professor since 1995.


ASL will be available for most performances. The Theatre Centre is a physically accessible venue with barrier-free washrooms on each floor and a lift for public use.
Need help planning your visit? Email us!
From May 11, 2022
to May 11, 2022

Tickets are FREE — donations happily accepted.


Franco Boni Theatre, online

Performance Dates

May 10 @ 9:30 pm – ONLINE
May 10 @ 9:30 pm – IRL

This performance is 60 minutes



Hybrid by Design is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now Fund, and the Department of Heritage Canada Arts Presentation Fund.