The Digital Stage 

The performing arts sector is standing on the cusp of monumental change.

As the arts and culture landscape swiftly evolves, leaps in technical innovation are opening exciting new doors of possibility - from being able to drastically alter the way a production might look, to exploring new ways of sharing art beyond a set venue, to the many ways an organization can tap into digital resources to enhance the guest experience.

In spring 2019, the Canadian Opera Company announced an exciting new collaborative project meant to tackle and embrace these changes head-on: the Digital Stage. Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and in partnership with The National Ballet of Canada (NBoC) and Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT) at Sheridan College, the Digital Stage aims to set a path forward in developing “next practices” for our sector in the digital age.

The Canadian Opera Company is proud to lead these explorations but there is one element that is crucial to this project’s ultimate success: you. Comprehensive research in this area relies on an open, free exchange of information, through interviews, industry symposiums, and real-time digital testing.

Over 70 participants attended the kick-off symposium, held on October 2 at the COC’s administrative and rehearsal space in Toronto’s Esplanade neighbourhood. There, KerrSmith Design shared the results of a comprehensive environmental scan that gathered the latest research and analysis on the impact of digital technology currently being used within the performing arts.

View our Environmental Scan

On February 20, the COC, with our partner the National Ballet of Canada, hosted our second Digital Stage symposium. Our research partner, KerrSmith Design, presented the Horizon Scan –– an in-depth analysis of the arts and culture landscape, and the potential impacts emerging technologies may have on the production and audience experience well into the future.

Watch a recording of our livestream from the February 20 symposium

View the Horizon Scan

Performing Arts Digital Lab (PADL)

The Performing Arts Digital Lab (PADL) is the evolution of several years of effort led by the COC and the National Ballet of Canada, through ongoing engagement with sectoral partners. Throughout our work, we have identified a need to build Performing Arts sector capabilities in the areas of:

  • Motion Capture
  • Virtual Reality
  • Projection Mapping
  • Game Design and Integration

To support the acquisition of knowledge in these and other areas, we have launched the PADL Academy. The PADL Academy is intended to support the sector in the acquisition of applicable knowledge which sector resources can then apply to their day-to-day creative and production work. Delivered through our partnership with Sheridan College, the PADL Academy ensures access and availability to education across the sector and will ensure that Diversity, Equity and Inclusionary practices will be applied in its creation and execution.

We are currently working on continued execution of what we call our 100 level courses (Mo-cap, VR, etc.) and are excitedly working on a series of 200 level courses that build off the 100 level foundational courses. We are also planning to run our Expanding the Canvas program in the winter of 2023. Details to come!

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.


Phone: 416-363-8231

Toll Free: 1-800-250-4653

Contact Page

Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube