Announcing our 21.22 Digital Transformation Project

Theatre Passe Muraille Presents the Digital Creators Lab and the Backspace Renovation

A neon green horizontal banner with two vertical red lines on the side. There is a digital tracing of the theatre building on the left hand side, and two hands holding a silhouette of a phone emerging out of the red line on the right side.

Toronto, ON— Theatre Passe Muraille (TPM) announces the Digital Transformation Project with the new Digital Creators Lab and a bold Backspace Renovation as part of the 21.22 season.

With the challenges brought about by the pandemic, we have had to reimagine what theatre can be when we cannot gather in person. The 20.21 season led to new and vital ways of engaging with artists and audiences in digital spaces. With our 21.22 Digital Transformation Project, TPM continues to strengthen our commitment to the exploration and innovation in this exciting new world. 

“We gained so much from our experience in working in new processes, that we began to understand that Digital was not only for pandemic times. Indeed, we saw that there was a unique evolution of work that was innovative, fresh and reached different audiences in a different way. Once upon a time, theatre did not have electric lights, or used projection, but it evolved. Digital components will continue to be a part of our future theatrical vocabulary, and we want to ensure that our artists and our building are ready for this evolution.”
~ Marjorie Chan, Artistic Director

The Digital Creators Lab (DCL) will build artist capacity in digital creation through partnering with RAUCOUS (Bristol, UK) and Chimerik 似不像 Collective (Vancouver, BC) as Digital Advisors to our Lab participants: Luke Reece, Katie Ready-Walters, Theatre du Poulet (Carmen Lee & Roland Au) and Nautanki Bazaar (Himanshu Sitlani & Neha Poduval). These extraordinary artists will learn, explore and imagine new visions for their works from conception to a 2022 workshop in our newly equipped and accessible Backspace. At the end of their residencies,  Lab artists will share their work and their learnings with the community-at-large.

Lab Dramaturges, TPM Artistic Director Marjorie Chan, and Associate Artistic Director Indrit Kasapi are thrilled to be joined by Jess Watkin, renowned Blind and Disabled artist and scholar, who will guide the participants in their process, as well as help inspire the inclusion of accessibility components from the early stages of development. TPM is thrilled to welcome back former Metcalf Foundation Intern, Rinchen Dolma, who will be supporting the project as the Digital Creators Lab Producer.

To assist in making the Digital Transformation possible, we are pleased to have Charissa Wilcox, a production manager well known to the theatre and circus community, co-ordinating the Backspace Renovation at TPM.

“Our iconic Backspace theatre is a venue with huge sentimental value for our theatre community, especially as many independent artists have started their career in this very space. But as a heritage building which was not originally built to welcome performing arts — we are constantly upgrading. This project is an important step in TPM’s vision to become a more accessible theatre on all fronts and meet the needs of the many communities we want to serve. Major projects like these are only possible when partners and people who share our dreams and aspirations come together. We are so grateful and cannot wait to invite you into our new re-imagined Backspace!”
~Régine Cadet, Managing Director

In addition to supporting the Digital Creators Lab, the Backspace Renovation will better support digital project creation by building a more accessible, and welcoming environment for theatre and dance. The stage is being removed and a sprung floor will be installed throughout. Flexible and comfortable seating will replace our infamous benches, and will be completely retractable in order to provide an open working space.

With new film and streaming equipment, our digital creation hub will better serve both our independent theatre community and remote artists alike. This past year we explored innovative virtual performances and saw its potential and importance, so we are inspired to also equip the Backspace with the latest in immersive techniques. Even as live theatre begins to return, we wish to help artists augment their work with digital resources and equipment — while continuing to reach audiences who may not be able to attend in person. A space that historically only housed up to 50 people, will now have the opportunity to stream worldwide beyond the boundaries of our walls.

It all begins with a series of FREE virtual public workshops this fall!

October 1, 1-3pm: Sharon Clark, RAUCOUS — “Introduction to Immersive storytelling”

October 16, 3-5pm:  Sammy Chien, Chimerik — “The work of Chimerik”

October 21, 2-4pm:  Jess Watkin, Marjorie Chan, Indrit Kasapi — “Accessibility in Digital Projects”

These digital workshops will take place virtually, and registration will be FREE. See below for more info, For a full list of participating artists and complete bios, please visit the TPM website here.  As we prepare to announce our 21.22 productions (in-person and digital) this coming winter, stay tuned for updates on the renovation and the grand re-opening of the Backspace in 2022!

The Digital Transformation Project is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Registration Information

Upcoming workshops are FREE to attend. They will be held virtually and registration is required. See our website for details and to register.


This virtual workshops will be recorded and shared afterwards with captions.

COVID-19 Protocols

All upcoming workshops will take place virtually. Theatre Passe Muraille is operating with the utmost caution with the best health and safety knowledge we currently have. As of September 22 2021, we have implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for all persons entering the building. For our full mandatory covid vaccination policy please visit our website here.

About Theatre Passe Muraille

Founded in 1968, TPM is Canada’s original alternative theatre company, currently developing and producing new Canadian plays. TPM is striving to articulate a distinct Canadian voice that reflects the complexity of our intercultural society. TPM believes there should be a more diverse representation of artists, audience members, and stories in our theatre. TPM aspires to be a leader locally, nationally and internationally in establishing, promoting, and embracing collaborative and inclusive theatre practices. We do this so that we can support and ignite the voices of unique artists, communities and audiences.

Media Contact

For all Media inquiries please contact Emily Jung | Marketing Manager, Creative Producer Intern | e: emilyj@passemuraille.on.ca | p: 416-504-8988 ext. 2172

Social Media

www.passemuraille.ca|Instagram & Twitter: @beyondwallsTPM | Facebook

Season Sponsor 

TD Bank Group