Progress Lab – Who are we?

Progress Lab is an ad hoc arts service organization that has a very active imagination and an energetic core of movers and shakers. Our goal is to establish Vancouver as an international centre for theatrical innovation. It is made up of non-profit, professional organizations with a median age of about 10 years, and a history of producing works of extreme theatrical daring. Progress Lab exists to meet the emerging challenges of our artists and companies and acts to build a stronger community and practice through communication, mutual support and staging theatrical events. Progress Lab organizes events that highlight and playfully challenge the community as a whole.

We serve the local community of creation-based theatre artists in the following ways:

  1. Being an ad hoc arts-service organization, that is to say, we believe that innovation and excellence must be artist-driven. By serving the artists, we are serving the art. We do this by deliberately seeking out new forms, events and initiatives that challenge and expand arts practice. Sometimes this is about infrastructure (like PL 1422), sometimes this is about creative initiatives (HIVE), and always it is about pushing forward;
  2. Promoting cooperative community practices that forward all creation-based companies through information-sharing, resource-sharing and capacity building;
  3. Encouraging and developing the next generation of creation-based artists by inviting them to participate in Progress Lab initiatives and events and deliberately creating new forms that can be adapted/adopted/bastardized by emerging artists.


Progress Lab was founded in May 2003 in response to the isolation experienced by small, independent creation-based theatre. Progress Lab began as an open exploration of challenges facing participating companies, including: administrative resources; balancing the demands of creation, management and governance; envisioning and supporting growth. The other area of significant interest and exchange concerned the creative process: participants had seen each othera��s work over the course of several years and were eager for a conversation about creation methods. We found genuine excitement together. We came away with a sense of power, as well as momentum towards building a stronger community and practice. This spirit persists in Progress Lab.

The current 11 companies involved in OBSTRUCTIONS include BCa��s most adventurous theatre makers.