Neil Christensen, Co-Creator / designer

A BFA in Photography provides a solid base in the visual arts that Neil has applied to many different interactive applications over a 25-year career in digital media. He has successfully developed a wide range of award-winning consumer and business applications, instructional software, and interactive marketing for Fortune 500 clients and global brands most notably receiving the Grand Prix at the Cannes Cyber Lions in 2000 for his work with Nike.

Neil continuously migrates his software skills from platform to platform and leverages his learning in design, animation, and video throughout various delivery mechanisms (e.g. AR, VR, CD-ROMs, kiosks, web, desktop, mobile and the cloud).

Currently pursuing the opportunity to create experiences in virtual and augmented reality, Neil seeks to intertwine
natural user interfaces with 3D space, information visualization, animation, hi-resolution video, and spatial audio.
Bridging specializations (e.g. art, entertainment, marketing, medicine, etc.) Neil strives to transform user
experiences challenging current paradigms in digital interactive media.

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Beth Kates, Co-Creator / designer / writer / director

An award-winning lighting, set, costume and projection designer and digital dramaturg for live performance, Beth started her career in rock and roll at 14. Her work has been seen across Canada and internationally. With Ben Chaisson she developed several interactive installations, including The ToyBox. She has worked with acclaimed directors Jillian Keiley, Peter Hinton, Paul Thompson, Jonathan Christenson, Daniel Brooks, Kim Collier, Jackie Maxwell, Ravi Jain, Brian Quirt, Gil Garratt, and others.

Career highlights include Between Breaths Orchestral (Artistic Fraud Newfoundland), Silence (The Grand Theatre
– London); Vigilante (Catalyst); Bigger Than Jesus (Wyrd), Same Same But Different (Nightswimming); I, Claudia
(Crows Theatre); Love Me Forever, Billy H Tender (Jesse LaVercombe); Brimful of Asha (WhyNot / Tarragon);
SEEDS, Mr. New Years Eve, 1837: a Farmers Revolt (The Blyth Festival); Alice in Wonderland, Ragtime,
Pygmalion (Shaw).

In 2017, she was the first ever Digital Dramaturg hired at The Blyth Festival (or likely anywhere in Canadian
Theatre) for Mr. New Years Eve. She is continuing this exploration into WHAT digital dramaturgy is on Quelemia
Sparrow’s new work O’wet (Savage Productions). There are several projects in development, including a
collaboration with Charolotte Cobeil-Coleman and Gil Garratt about trailblazing pilot Lorna deBlicquy
(commissioned by the Blyth Festival), and an adaptation of Peter Brown’s My Teacher is a Monster. Beth is also an
invited participant in the San Diego Opera / Microsoft’s “Opera Hack” initiative and was recently awarded a
$250,000 Canada Council: Digital Strategy Fund Grant for her national digital literacy project called DigitalLIT.
Her work at the University of Calgary (where she is an MFA candidate) involves looking at the future of the
creation of performance, and the nature of performance itself as it intersects with technology. She was recently
awarded a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) to engage with research into the
combination of AI / Machine Learning and Digital Design.

As an early adopter of digital technology into her design practice, Beth is a trailblazing female projection designer,
and has been an invited presenter at the Mid America Theatre Conference, PACT, FoldA, Prague Quadrennial, and
the Wee Festival. She has taught at several Canadian academic institutions including York University, The Banff
Centre, The University of Calgary and the National Theatre School. She is a three-time nominee for the
Siminovitch Prize in theatre (2009, 2012, 2018), as well as over 30 other nominations for her design work. Beth is a
proud member of the Associated Designers of Canada and Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology. She is, most
importantly, a mom to Aaron – who is often in the theatre and at University with her.

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Valerie Campbell – Collaborator / Performer

Valerie Campbell is an educator, creative researcher, actor and director working in actor training and performance
creation with a specialization in movement. She currently holds a tenured faculty position as an Associate Professor
in the School of Creative and Performing Arts – Drama in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary. She is
also a certified Meisner Technique teacher. As an authorized Embodied Practice™ teacher Valerie is a highly
respected instructor of both Syntonics and Authentic Movement within the movement curriculum and
professionally outside the university setting.

Her research falls into the following streams: Movement, Acting, Performance Creation, Directing and Pedagogy.
Although each is distinctive, all four areas interconnect, meld and inform each other. Valerie’s long-time study of
Authentic Movement created the basis for her research project on the application of Authentic Movement to
Performance Creation. The outcome of this investigation resulted in two original clown/theatre creations, “under
the maids/over genet” and “under the parrot/over tennessee”.

The Cassandra Project is a five-year collective performance/social project created with colleagues from across
Canada deepened the research in this area. Papers, workshops and performances on the work have been presented at
national and international conferences and theatre festivals in Athens, Greece and Malareques, France.
Embodied Practice™ frames her research in movement, its practice and application to movement coaching and
pedagogy. Directing within the Drama’s Mainstage season integrates creative research with pedagogy, most
recently using the Meisner Technique with actors in “Comrades”. Creating performance pieces with Momo Dance
Theatre allows Val the opportunity to engage in collective work with a mixed ability population. I am passionate about teaching. For me, it is a highly creative endeavour and the ongoing and evolving expression of the synthesis of my experience and understanding. It offers the opportunity to satisfy a deep curiousity about and engage with the inquiry into: the art and craft of acting, the development of young artists and perhaps most importantly, creativity and the mystery of the human spirit. As writer Robert Bringhurst claims, “Vocation is fascination, not ambition”. My approach to the study of acting provides a process, experiential oriented model with solid practical tools and analysis techniques supported by and grounded in the development of the students’ inner resources, self- awareness and personal artistry.