SAN DIEGO OPERA hosted a hackathon in July 2019 to discover new ways for technology to be used in theater.

40 multi-disciplinary experts submitted

16 proposals to a panel of advisors.

$40,000 were disbursed to 3 winning ideas.

All proposals are hosted on this site.

Click here to view the final presentations for the winning ideas, hosted by OPERA America on August 26th, 2020

Details for Opera Hack 2.0 in 2021
will be announced soon.

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Goal and Vision for Opera Hack

Browse all 2019 Proposals

Leadership and Participants

Opera Hack Recap!



To be a platform that embraces diversity and solves problems by combining expertise 

from all backgrounds of theater and technology.


To discover new methods for technology to be used in the production and  presentation of music theater.


To promote new ways to make all forms of theater more exciting, affordable, and environmentally sustainable.



A collaborative, interactive, visual “show bible” made for and by creative and production teams that is easy-to-use and saves money during rehearsals, productions and production re-mounts.


Winning Proposal - $13,500

Professional database using 360 photogrammetry capture for design, planning, and production rental.

Created by: Anne Hiatt, Emily Wells, Muntaser Syed, Fabian Kim, and Victoria Robertson


Winning Proposal - $16,500

A collaborative, interactive, visual “show bible” made for and by creative and production teams that is easy-to-use and saves money during rehearsals, productions and production re-mounts.

Created by: Miller Puckette, h0t club (Kate Bergstrom, Todd Anderson, Martim Galvão), and Bryan Jacobs


Winning Proposal - $10,000

A musical experience combining Virtual Reality, Haptic feedback, and Space3D at the Qualcomm Institute.

Created by: Shahrokh Yadegari, Beth Kates, John Burnett, Jeremy Cooperstock, Louis Pisha, and Francesca Talenti




An open source, off-the-shelf automation system that gives high school, college, and professional technical directors the resources to build an automated low-load winch system from the ground up.

Created by: Jon Shimon and Luke Tarnow-Bulatowicz


A cross-referencing database of performer information, costume and hair pieces, and scene breakdowns, which allows for the creation of Wardrobe paperwork that will auto-update as changes are made.

Created by: CosPrac (Sarah Mosher, Jen Dasher, and Summer Lee Jack)


A headset that will allow any audience member the ability to control the intensity of their own experience, enabling anyone on the autism spectrum or hearing impaired to mediate their own experience according to their needs.

Created by: Megan M. Reilly, Collin Huse, Sarah Mosher, and Jacob Sandstorm



An open source platform where designs, tools, and knowledge within our industry can be shared for free.

Created by: Colin Huse


A conductor’s baton using motion from a 3-axis  accelerometer and 3-axis
gyroscope, coupled with machine learning to accurately determine the occurrence of a musical downbeat, or “ictus”. This allows the conductor to be integrated into the cueing system so media elements (video, lighting, etc) can be cued from their baton, instead of a manual cue from another human.

Created by: Maxwell Bowman, Ellen Fishman, Kamyi Lee, Elaine J. McCarthy, Camilla Tassi, Ashley Tata, and Hanoi Hantrakul


A Budgeting App that works across areas of all production as a communication and costing tool easily utilized by producers, production managers, designers, and production shops.

Created by: Jon Shimon and Jen Dasher



A site-specific audio drama featuring artists from San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico.

Created by: Sadah Espii Proctor and Megan M. Reilly



An interacive exhibit employing AR technology to transform a
theatre lobby into an exhibit-like space, where costumes, props, and various items from the
opera are on display.

Created by: Andrea Lauer, Cameryn Seymour, and Rogue Fong


An immersive experience inviting users to interact with an opera’s content in non-traditional public spaces to create buzz and incentivize ticket-buyers leading up to a performance.

Created by Bryce Cutler, Summer Lee Jack, Sadah Espii Proctor, Ashley Tata, and Ellen Fishman



An immersive experience for promoting upcoming productions that combines music with haptic feedback.

Created by: Andrea Lauer and Camryn Seymour




A community engagement tool and software that allows users to augment or create an opera in real-time using an algorithm based on data gathered from interactive sensors and devices.

Created by: Andrea Lauer, Cameryn Seymour, and Rogue Fong


A multi-camera interactive live stream that allows audience members to experience and direct a live-broadcast performance from their desired vantage point whether in-theater or at home.

Created By: Mitchell Ost, Jeremy Cooperstock, Fabian Kim, Mitchell Ost, Muntaser Syed, and Peter Tarsoly.


An Extended Reality experience designed to familiarize an audience member with the opera house setting before they ever step foot in the door.

Created by: Emily Wells






David Bennett is the General Director of San Diego Opera. Under his leadership since 2015, the Company has embarked on a series of community based initiatives including a citywide Listening Tour series, free public performances, and family friendly operas to better serve the diverse San Diego region. In 2016, the Company debuted its wildly popular dētour Series, which explores the expressive nature of opera with the potency of intimate theater.



Angel Mannion is a professional conductor, arts administrator, and adventure camp instructor who has created and managed a variety of collaborative projects including soundtrack sessions for TV and video games, traditional concert series, and electronic music festivals. He is the founder of Folklore Guild, a choir that combined high school, college, and professional musicians to bridge the gap between classical music and video game music. Angel sang with San Diego Opera from 2011-2015, was the social media manager for the Company from 2015-2019, and worked with David Bennett to obtain an Innovation Grant from Opera America to create Opera Hack in 2018.


Anne E. McMills is the Head of Lighting Design at San Diego State University. Her far-reaching career extends across the many facets of the lighting world—from theatre, including Broadway and the West End, to television and theme parks to architecture, industrials, concerts, award shows, dance, and opera. In addition to designing her own work, Anne has assisted many award-winning Broadway lighting designers, including Ken Billington, Brian MacDevitt, Howell Binkley, Peter Kaczorowski, Jason Lyons, David Lander, Brian Monahan, and others, as well as projections designer Elaine J. McCarthy. Anne has mounted productions in the United States, Japan, Australia, England, Scotland, France, and Germany. Anne is a proud member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. In addition, Anne is the author of The Assistant Lighting Designer's Toolkit and 3D Printing Basics for Entertainment Design.

Dr. Chris Warren is a sound artist, signal processing researcher, and musical instrument inventor. Warren earned a Ph.D. in Computer Music from UC San Diego studying with Dr. Miller Puckette, author of the Max and Pure Data programming languages, and an M.A. in Music, Science, and Technology from Stanford University. He is the Assistant Professor of Digital Composition and Sound Design at San Diego State University. His sonic installations have been featured at the Museum of Making Music, the Fleet Science Center, NAMM, and the Havana Biennial.

With over 60 principal roles to his credit, David Adam Moore is a highly sought-after leading baritone by major opera houses and orchestras worldwide. A celebrated interpreter of contemporary music, he has created roles for some of today’s most important living composers. Also known for his work as a stage director, composer, and video designer, Moore co-founded two NYC-based arts collectives - GLMMR and Choreo Teatro. With GLMMR and his artistic partner, Vita Tzykun, Moore directed and designed the world largest-scale production of Nyman's The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat for Indianapolis Opera, and designed sets, costumes, and projections for a new production of David T. Little's Soldier Songs at Atlanta Opera and San Diego Opera.


Matt Witkamp, founder and CEO of Kampfire Studios LLC, has been advancing digital experiences for more than 20 years through UX and UI design for companies such as AT&T, T- Mobile, Siemens Medical, Intel, HTC, Comcast, and Stanford Medical. He is passionate about experience in all forms, both digital and non-digital, but his love of technology has lead him to design experiences and UI for everything from the days of DOS, to desktop, to mobile, to TV, to today’s emerging XR. Matt takes a multi-lens approach to leveraging design to realize business opportunities that takes into account not just the design and experience aspect, but also business drivers and market opportunities. Matt was involved early on with the HoloLens and was part of the team that brought x-ray vision to surgeons with Stanford Medical. Since then he has been striving to establish best practices around experience design for immersive technologies.

Charles Murdock Lucas, member USA 829, is an international scene and media designer based in San Diego, California. Awards and honors include: scene design work exhibited in the Professional/Transformation Exhibit from the USA at the 2019 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, the Robert L.B. Tobin Director- Designer Showcase sponsored by OPERA America for production concepts for The Cradle Will Rock, the A. J. Fletcher Opera Fellowship in Scene Design at UNCSA, a nomination for the 2017 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Craig Noel Awards for Theatrical Excellence for Outstanding Scene Design, and the USITT Scene Design Award sponsored by Rose Brand.


Ryan Hunt is a Lead Software Engineer with The Walt Disney Company. He has over 20 years of experience working with multimedia technologies including graphics engines, novel user interfaces, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Much of his career has been in advertising and entertainment where he has focused on creating unique interactive experiences and solving problems in challenging domains like sound and gesture-based interfaces. Ryan has earned numerous awards for interactive design and programming, including a Clio Award for the 2004 Acura Interactive Showroom, and a Keyart Award for the online film site for Michael Mann‘s The Insider.


Victroria Robertson is an opera singer, television producer, and virtual reality entrepreneur. She sang with the San Diego Opera for 12 seasons, produced a travel television series for AWE TV, and founded the virtual reality production company World Travel VR. In music, tech, and media, Victoria is known for putting together great teams and executing a variety of creative concepts digitally and live.



Victoria “Vita” Tzykun [tsee-‘koon] has designed sets, costumes, and projections for companies such as The Bolshoi Theater (Russia), Norwegian Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, LA Opera, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and Wexford Opera Festival (Ireland) among others.

Her numerous film and tv credits include art direction for  "Lady Gaga’s ABC Thanksgiving Special", production design for several award winning films, and commercials for leading entities such as PBS, DirectTV, Axe, Bulova, and Qualcomm.
Tzykun is a founding member of GLMMR - an NYC-based interdisciplinary art collective that fuses the worlds of fine art, audiovisual technology, and live performance. 

Her work was showcased in a solo exhibition at the National Opera America Center in New York, and has been featured in exhibitions at the Entertainment Industry Expo in NYC, Habima National Theater in Tel-Aviv, the World Stage Design Exhibition in Toronto, in Entertainment Design and Lighting and Sound America magazines. Tzykun has also served as a panelist on the Opera Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2016, the International Opera Awards nominated Victoria Tzykun for Best Design.


Andrea Lauer is a set/costume designer and wearable technologist working in theatre, film, opera, dance and fashion.

Anne Hiatt is the co-founder and general director of the national organization Opera on Tap. She currently
oversees the programs, and operations of 25 Chapters of Opera on Tap across the nation and the development of The Immersive Opera Project which marries opera and tech industry partners in the creation of new immersive works of opera utilizing immersive technologies.

Ashley Tata is a director and designer of multimedia works of theater, contemporary opera, performance, live music and immersive experiences. Her work frequently sits at the intersection of music, installation and performance and has been presented in venues and festivals throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Beth Kates is an award-winning Projection, Lighting and Set designer, digital dramaturg and mom based in Canada. She started in rock and roll at the age of 13, moved on to dance, theatre, and now is exploring VR, AR, AI and how it all intersects with live performance and performance creation.


Brandon Powers is a director + choreographer creating experiences in virtual and physical space using his
experience in contemporary dance, immersive theatre, and musical theatre.

Composer, performer, and sound artist, Bryan Jacobs’ work focuses on interactions between live performers, robotic musical instruments, and computers. His pieces are often theatrical in nature, pitting blabber-mouthed fanciful showoffs against timid reluctents.

Bryce Cutler is a scenic and media designer based out of NYC and co-founder of Third Space, a political theater
collective. Previous designs include Samsung’s virtual reality TV series Interpretation of Dreams, a virtual reality
arcade for Muse’s 2019 Simulation Theory World Tour as well as world premieres by Matt Aucoin, Steven Mackey, John Patrick Shanley and Dael Orlandersmith.

Cameryn Seymour is an electrical engineering student at the University of San Diego and she is studying for a minor in film studies. She has a passion for creative coding and filmmaking technologies, and enjoys watching horror films in her free time.

Projection Designer & Soprano, formally trained as a computer scientist and musician. Italy-born, dual citizen with the US. Special Research Fellow at the Yale School of Drama in Design. 

Collin Huse is the Technical Director at Florida State Opera. His research in the performing arts focuses on virtual
and mixed reality technologies, developing open design and production tools, and building a collaborative community of innovators. 

Elaine’s background in photography, film and architecture has led to a 24-year, world-wide career as an award-
winning projection designer. Career highlights include: Wicked, Spamalot, and Thurgood (Broadway); and Gloria: A Life, Notes From the Field, and Frequency Hopping (Off-Broadway.) Her extensive opera work includes world
premieres of Everest, Moby Dick, and Cold Mountain.


Ellen is a composer and experience designer originally from California and now living in Philadelphia. Her interactive opera, MARiE BEGiNS, will be premiered by Tri-Cities Opera next season. 

Emily Wells has championed the development of new works for over 20 years as director, producer, and educator. She is passionate about merging the performing arts and technology for civic practice to meet audiences where they spend their time: apps, digital platforms, on demand consumption, and those yet to be discovered.

Hello world, I’m a UI/UX designer and developer at Asterisk. I mainly tackle front-end. I also sold six of my life playing League of Legends.

Francesca Talenti, director and designer, has exhibited her work from The Folger and The Guthrie to Sundance and PBS National, by way of Mumbai, Göteborg, Casablanca and many others. She has won audience and “best of” awards, and has received grants from the Independent Television Service, Latino Public Broadcasting, and the Kauffman Foundation. Francesca is a professor emerita at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she taught media production.

Jacob Sundstrom’s creative work is primarily interested in the pathology of media; that is, friction generated when exploiting a medium, pushing it beyond what is considered "normal usage." He often engages with technology in his work and has received grants from the Qualcomm Institute for collaborative projects utilizing technology in a meaningful way. He is currently a PhD candidate at UCSD in the music department.

Jennifer Dasher is a Costume Designer and a leader in the fusion of technology, fabric, and storytelling; she has
worked with teams to design and integrate automation and LED technology into soft components for live performances. Jennifer is a member of the faculty at The University of Florida.

Professor of electrical and computer engineering at McGill University in Montreal and a part of the World Opera Project, participating in experiments in networked distributed operatic performance. Research involves sensing of activity, use of graphical, auditory, and haptic feedback to improve interaction, and application of technology to overcome limitations of human capability.

Jonathan Mulvaney is a veteran of the theatre industry and currently works as the Technical Supervisor for the
Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach. Jonathan has a strong passion for
technology and spends much of his spare time dabbling in the world of video game/app development.

Jon Shimon is an Assistant Professor of Theatre Technology at University at Buffalo, a technical director by training and trade, specialties include rigging, automation, theatre safety, and microcontroller integration. He is the Technical Director for the US entries in the 2019 Prague Quadrennial.

John Burnett (b. 1993) is a media artist based in San Diego, California. Drawing from a background in sound design and technology, he creates technologically-augmented multimedia installation works as well as sound and projection design for theatrical productions. John is currently pursuing a PhD in music at UC San Diego and is a member of the Sonic Arts research group, which develops sound spatialization technology.

Kate Bergstrom is a bi-coastal director working in theatre, music, opera and intermedia performance. Her work
centers on questions of intimacy and identity in capitalism + rupturing the status quo. She holds an MFA in Directing from Brown/Trinity Rep and teaches intermedia directing at RISD, the New School & NYU.

Kam Ying (Kamyi) Lee is a Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist and video designer who is interested in contemporary and experimental uses of digital media. She hopes to forge new relationships between humans and their surroundings by integrating different use of technologies.

Lamtharn "Hanoi" Hantrakul is currently an AI Resident at Google Brain hailing from Bangkok, Thailand. At Google, he works with a team called Magenta; an open-source research project exploring the role of machine learning in the creative process. He holds degrees in Physics and Music (Yale University) and Signal Processing/Machine Learning (Georgia Tech). After dark, he produces indie electronic music under the moniker yaboi hanoi.


Louis Pisha is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering at UC San Diego, focusing on audio signal processing for parallel and embedded systems, and also a professional arranger of music from video games on the side. He has been working with SonicArts for more than two years, leading the technical development of Space3D, a GPU-based audio spatializer and acoustic modeler.

Luke Tarnow – Bulatowicz is a University at Buffalo rising senior studying Theater Technology with a minor in Computer Science. He recently completed responsibilities as part of the US student build team for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial. Currently working his second summer for Texas Scenic Company's NE office (aka PDO) as an Automation Technician, he is commissioning automation systems for Klarman Hall @ Harvard Business School, NYC's SOHO Towers, The Choate School, and Colorado State University. Luke aspires to blend his technical theater and computer science skills to disrupt the status quo.

Maddi Baird is an undergraduate Music Composition student at San Diego State University. Her work emphasizes on creating ambient soundscapes using max/msp and analog/digital synthesizers.

Martim S. Galvão is a Brazilian-American composer, percussionist and multimedia artist. Much of his work revolves around how we interact with technological interfaces.

Maxwell Bowman is a Lighting and Multimedia designer with side projects in visual art and interactive design.

Megan Reilly is a lighting and projections designer currently based in Minneapolis, MN. Although she designs professionally for many types of theatre, her main research interest is immersive and mixed reality performance, and she is a published writer on the ethics of immersive theatre.

Mitchell Ost is an MFA student at Indiana University-Bloomington studying lighting and projection design pedagogy. He is the recipient of the 2019 USITT International Travel Award.

Miller Puckette is a mathematician best known as the creator of Max and Pure Data. He has worked at the MIT Media lab and IRCAM and now teaches at UCSD.

Muntaser Syed is a PhD student studying computer engineering at Florida Tech, with research interests in AI, Machine Learning, and sensor networks. Syed has won multiple hackathons in the last two years and plays the guitar, bass, and some rhythm programming in his spare time.

Peter is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Computer Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology. His achievements range from playing at Carnegie Hall, to winning over 40 awards across 25 hackathons within two years.

Rogue Fong is an XR Developer and Immersive Installation Artist whose background in computer science, game
design, narrative, and fine art inspired her to build experiences at the intersection of art and tech that embrace physicality, human communication, and human interaction. In addition to working in art tech, she spends her days as a Business Analyst doing consulting work at Insight Digital Innovation.


Sadah Espii Proctor is a VR director and sound/media designer for theatre and immersive experiences. Her design work can be seen off-Broadway and in regional theatre, and her VR work has been featured at SXSW, Tribeca, Beijing International Film Festival, Women Deliver, and at Sheffield Doc/Fest (Best Digital Narrative nomination).

Sarah Mosher is a visual storyteller and educator specializing in costumes for live design and serves as an Assistant Professor of Costume Design and Technology at Baylor University.

Shahrokh Yadegari is on the faculty of the department of Music at UC San Diego, and the director of the Sonic Arts Research and Development group and the Initiative for Digital Exploration of Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) at the
Qualcomm Institute (UCSD’s branch of California Institute for Telecommunication and Information Technology).

Summer is a Brooklyn-based freelance costume designer with a great love of history and who works in opera, theatre and film.

Todd Anderson is a digital poet and web artist primarily focused on building websites and chrome extensions for use in live performance. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Code + Liberal Arts at The New School.


2019 hackathon

Made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant

Supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation

Sponsored by Microsoft Corporation