2019-2020 RESULTS

In July 2019, (40) Forty multidisciplinary artists, designers, and engineers in theater and technology gathered for a 48-hour hackathon in San Diego, California and submitted 16 proposals for new ways to implement technology in music theater. Our Advisory Panel selected (3) three winning ideas and we awarded a total of $40,000 to the following teams:


(now rebranded to Forestage Labs)

Emily Wells, Victoria Robertson, Anne Hiatt, Muntaser Syed, and Fabian Kim.


Kate Bergstrom, Miller Puckette, Todd Anderson, Martim Galvão, and Bryan Jacobs.




Shahrokh Yadegari, John Burnett, Jeremy Cooperstock, Louis Pisha, and Francesca Talenti.

To learn about what the winning teams came up with during their first year of project development, view the video below and click here to read more about their continued goals. All remaining proposals are listed on this page. If you would like to fund the development of a remaining proposal from 2019, please contact us. We would love to connect you to their teams.


Engineering Class



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

Fashion Design Models


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)

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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

Orchestra Conductor on Stage


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

Dollar Notes


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

Mobile Phone



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

Silhouette in Subway Tunnel


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

Music Festival



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

Created by: Andrea Lauer and Camryn Seymour

Theater Group




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

Home Theater Family


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.

Red Chairs


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


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

ANNE HIATT // https://annehiatt.com/
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 //  http://www.ashleytata.com/
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 // http://www.playgroundstudios.ca/?page_id=134
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. // http://www.brandonrpowers.com/

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

BRYAN JACOBS // http://bryanjacobsmusic.com/music.html
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 // https://www.brycecutler.com/
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 // https://www.camerynseymour.com/home
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.

CAMILLA TASSI // https://www.camillatassi.com/
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. 

COLIN HUSE // http://collinhuse.com/
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 J. McCARTHEY //  http://ejmdesign.net/
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 FISHMAN // https://www.efjcomposer.com/music

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 // www.linkedin.com/in/emilywells
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.

FABIAN KIM // https://fabiankim.com/
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 // http://francescatalenti.com/
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 // http://notthatintomusic.com/
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.

JEN DASHER // https://www.jdashercreative.com/
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.

JEREMY COOPERSTOCK // http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/~jer/
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 // https://www.mulvaneystudios.com/about.html
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.

JONATHAN SHIMON // http://theatredance.buffalo.edu/meet/people/jonathan-shimon/
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 BURNETTE // https://johncburnett.com/
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 // https://www.katebergstrom.com/about
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.

KAMYI LEE //  http://cocorico.mo/projects/
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.

LAMTHAN (HANOI) HANTRAKUL // https://lh-hantrakul.com/
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 // http://sonicarts.calit2.net/louis.html

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 // https://www.ltarnowb.com/
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 // https://www.maddibaird.com/
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 GALVAO // http://www.martim.xyz/
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 // http://www.maxwellbowman.com/
Maxwell Bowman is a Lighting and Multimedia designer with side projects in visual art and interactive design.

MEGAN REILLY // https://www.meganreillydesign.com/
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 // https://www.mitchellost.com/
Mitchell Ost is an MFA graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington studying lighting and projection design pedagogy. He teaches theatre design and technology at The College Preparatory School in Oakland, CA and was 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 // https://www.linkedin.com/in/muntasersyed/
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 TARSOLY // https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-tarsoly/
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 // https://www.roguef.com/
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 // https://www.sadahespiiproctor.com/bio.html

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 // http://www.sarahmosher.com/
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 //  http://yadegari.org/
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 LEE JACK // http://www.summerleejack.com
Summer is a Brooklyn-based freelance costume designer with a great love of history and who works in opera, theatre and film.

TODD ANDERSON // https://toddwords.com/
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.