Putting a little STEAM in the Performing Arts

The STEAMakers Guild is a collective of creative apprentices and masters who co-create at the intersection of art, science and technology. The world of performing arts is entering a golden period of creativity as new technologies such as wearables and tech couture, innovative materials, sensor networks, virtual reality, holographic computing and software are ushering in a new age of transmedia production and augmented performance arts as evidenced by the video below of Cirque du Soleil’s SPARKED.

The story behind the short film SPARKED: a collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich, and Verity Studios.

The STEAMakers Guild

The STEAMakers Guild is a novel initiative originally conceived by Luc Lalande Executive Director of the University of Ottawa Entrepreneurship Hub to create a 21st century “collective” enterprise based on the model of historical craft guilds. With access to low-cost digital fabrication tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers at the Richard L’Abbé Makerspace (pictured below), students from across disciplines can come together to design and prototype creative set designs, interactive props, wearable technologies, among many other applications for the performing arts.

Students from across faculties (Arts, Engineering, Science, Social Sciences, etc.) would be selected for apprenticeships in the STEAMakers Guild to gain knowledge of these modern tools and technologies and acquire proficiency in their application for creative works. Guild members will be trained by professionals who have “mastered” a specific domain such as theatre history and production, physical computing, transformable architecture and innovative materials. The STEAMakers Guild is currently in discussion with Ottawa’s exciting DIY theatre community to explore collaborative projects.

UofO Black Box Theatre: Linking Makerspace Projects to an Experimental Performance Space

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Arts Court Redevelopment project includes 120-seat black-box theatre for the University of Ottawa

While on a much smaller scale than the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the new black box theatre to be built at the redeveloped Ottawa Arts Court (pictured above) could serve as an ideal experimental space for creative projects developed by the STEAMakers Guild.

The Opportunity

We believe that there is a tremendous future for students to become the future masters of innovation in the performing arts. Apprenticeships in the STEAMakers Guild could serve as a launch platform for a new generation of entrepreneurial creatives .

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Hakanaï par Adrien M / Claire B

We are excited to present to the Cirque du Soleil opportunities to support the STEAMakers Guild through:

  • commissioned experimental projects “skunk works” to explore the application of new technologies that could feed the Cirque’s creative process
  • financially support apprenticeships in our guild.
  • a trained apprentice be offered a residency at the Cirque’s Creative Labs under the supervision of Welby Altidor, Executive Creative Director or a member of his team.

Written by

Aletheia Guild

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